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How suppliers can grow their industry network online

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Posted by Sophia Rostron

The online marketplace has grown more than four-fold since 2012. If your company isn’t utilising online outlets as an extension of your sales funnel, then you’re likely missing out on new customers and failing to engage those who have already hired. This affects your customer lifetime value and in turn, you’ll see the monetary impact of that on your bottom line month after month.

Think about the way you find information about products and services – are you watching TV ads? Going through your spam email? Or are you going to a search engine or a friend? People have gotten better and better at ignoring traditional marketing and instead go to Google and social networks for answers to their questions.

For many hire companies and subcontractors, social media and other online platforms present quite a connundrum. The huge aduiences are there for all to see, yet the sheer scale of it, the endless jargon and shifting tends can soon lead you away from a sense of opportunity to one of real confusion.

The solution is to understand each platform separately, rather than seeing them as a whole. It's a great chance to tell your company's story and build relationships with your current and prospective clients. 

Below, we’ve rounded up what the top networks can offer you, your brand, and your customers. 

Facebook

Facebook is a social utility for connecting people with those around them – friends, family, coworkers, or simply others with similar interests. As the world's biggest social media platform, the chances are you already have a business page attached to your Facebook account, but how well is it being used? 

Facebook’s audience is extremely diverse and ranges across all ages and industries. Of Facebook's 1.25 billion monthly active users,  44% Like their friends' posts at least once a day -- and 29% do it multiple times a day. That's hundreds of millions of people interacting with content on the social network on a daily basis.

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For a plant, equipment or subcontractor hire company, facebook represents real opportunities to engage with industry contacts:

  • post interesting content about your company (new equipment, project highlights, specials)
  • witty micro content such as short videos and image posts
  • share industry news
  • comment on machinery/technology/project channels
  • have discussions with your customers and prospective customers

Tip: Facebook data shows that the best times to post to the platform are between 6 and 8 a.m. and 2 and 5 p.m. Schedule or simply update your branded Facebook pages during these time slots. By posting at the right times and only a few times a day, you will reach the largest possible audience. 

Twitter

Twitter is a tool for "micro-blogging" or posting very short updates, comments or thoughts. Of all the platforms Twitter is often the one that’s hardest to master, leaving you feeling like you’ve just walked into a room full of thousands of people all talking at the same time. However, find the right conversation and you begin to understand its appeal. The trick, like at any social event, is to become a good listener.

It’s great for interacting with businesses and building up a sense of camaraderie in your local area. Once you get the knack you soon find lots of cross-sharing of information and exchanging of leads.

42% of Twitter users follow brands or companies -- is your business one of them?

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In 140 characters, you can engage in a quick Q&A session and comment on

  • industry news

  • projects you’ve worked on

  • content you think others in your community would find interesting

  • company updates: fleet pictures, testimonials etc

It's the idea that your content and influence extends beyond your first degree connections. Sure, they're part of your reach, but so are their connections, and even their connections' connections!

TipA good place to start is by getting a list of special hashtags. There are certain hours each week dedicated to different industries such as a #handmade hour, #hair hour, #smallbiz hour etc. Just start listening to these conversations then get involved. You’ll soon find yourself making new contacts. It’s a great platform for sharing things like tips, advice, company updates and discount codes.

Linkedin

LinkedIn is the place for professionals. It’s Facebook with a flowchart.

LinkedIn provides the most natural transition into social media for many companies. 
That's because it's a social network made specifically for professionals,
connecting you to customers, prospects, and industry thought leaders alike.There are over 300 million professionals on LinkedIn, with an average income of over $100,000. 

Great networking features such as ‘Groups’ and ‘Pulse’ make it the perfect platform to establish a voice in your industry. Entice like-minded people to engage with you by publishing and sharing serious industry articles. 

It’s easy to keep in touch via LinkedIn. Just spend a few minutes a day commenting on discussions or adding updates about projects you are working on. There is also a wonderful facility for giving recommendations. Professionals like to give testimonials through LinkedIn to anyone who has done an outstanding job for them. It raises their credibility and hopefully brings more business too.

Did you know that LinkedIn is 277% more effective for lead generation than Facebook and Twitter?

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Join groups and discuss ideas, subscribe to newsletters and read up on blogs to keep up with what’s happening in the industry – don’t get left behind, grow your network and stay on top of the market. Find out the Top 10 Industry-related LinkedIn groups to follow. 

Tip:

  1. Start with the people you know : friends, colleagues, relatives, and business contacts will help you build the first layer of your network.

  2. Find people by searching the Companies section to find employees working in your industry.

  3. Start participating in LinkedIn Answers - this will help you interact and connect with others in your industry, and position yourself as a thought leader.

  4. Update your status often , since this appears in the LinkedIn Network Updates email to your connections and invites others to take notice of your activities.

  5. Connect your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts , further feeding your status updates and inviting connections from either site to engage with you on the other site.

PlantMiner

For plant, equipment and subcontractor companies, PlantMiner provides an unparalleled database of contacts relevant to your hire business. 

  • 12,500+ searches on PlantMiner.com.au per week.
  • 90,000+ unique page views
  • 11,000+ registered searching companies looking to hire plant, equipment and subcontractors
  • A searcher requests an item for hire every 60 seconds
  • 19,000+ fans and followers in our social media community

As Australia’s largest construction marketplace for plant, equipment and subcontractor hire, everyone from weekend DIY’ers to tier one contracting, construction and mining companies use PlantMiner to find suppliers who directly match their needs.

Their searches are industry specific and they’re directed to a unique page because they already know what items are relevant to their project. 

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In a nutshell, your profile is viewed by the people who matter most to your company.

Our algorithm tailors a hirers Quote Request to match your business capabilities and service locations, so you’ll only ever receive leads that are relevant to the machinery or services you’ve chosen to list.

Say goodbye to cold calling and only engage with serious prospects.

Free supplier demo button

Sophia Rostron

Sophia Rostron

As the Content editor at plantminer.com.au, Sophia works behind the scenes to keep our blog machine in motion. A student of Law and Business, she's very dependent on coffee and loves any excuse to travel.