PERFORMER’s competitors & their social media strategies
Social media channels have become an increasingly important method of communication with potential customers and stakeholders due to the increasing role of the internet in social and economic life all over the world. As a result, many companies use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and several other channels to promote innovative products and solutions. This also applies to Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) which are continuously promoted through a variety of virtual channels.
Why social media?
Each BEMS manufacturer implements its own commercialization strategy including: pricing policy, technical specificity of the selected products, support offered to the customers and different communication channels to connect with possible clients. The policies aimed at introducing new products and services to the market take into consideration opportunities offered by popular social media channels. As Laura Lake, marketing consultant of “The Balance” service puts it, social media “gives marketers a voice and a way to communicate with peers, customers, and potential consumers. It personalizes the brand and helps manufacturers to spread their message in a relaxed and conversational way”. Lake (2016) identifies several advantages of these channels, among which are the following features:
- providing an identity to who we are and the products or services that we offer,
- creating relationships with people who might not otherwise know about our product(s) or service(s) or what our companies represent,
- making products “real” to consumers (i.e. not just talking about the latest product news, but sharing manufacturers’ personality with customers),
- using social media to communicate and provide the interaction that consumers look for.
Social media and BEMS
The advantages of social media are well recognized by manufacturers of BEMS who often use these channels to communicate and disseminate information about their product and services. It is worth noting that all examined competitors of the PERFORMER instrumentation toolkit use more than one social media channel to establish direct interactions with their customers.
The most popular social media channels are; Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linkedin and Google+, but several competitors have also decided to promote their products and services through other services, such as RSS, Vimeo, Instagram and XING. PERFOMER competitors use these tools to inform current and potential customers about:
- new products and services which contribute to achievement of targets established in public policies and offer good opportunities for reducing energy consumption in buildings,
- new initiatives aimed at improving energy efficiency in the construction sector that are adopted by European and global institutions or local and national governments,
- prognosis, threats and challenges related to global energy consumption,
- reports on energy efficiency in European and non-European countries,
- research projects which examine benefits resulting from implementation of BEMS.
How to promote the PERFORMER instrumentation toolkit through social media channels?
Christopher Litster from Buildium LLC says that communication strategy based on social media should take into account several rules which are very useful for promoting business through virtual channels. In the opinion of Litster, only one of every seven posts should promote advertised business. As he emphasizes, “the remaining six should be focused on sharing valuable content, including posts from the community. This doesn’t mean you can’t promote your business in those other posts; just be sure you pair it with great content”.
Each company interested in promoting its products through social media channels should also ask conversation-starter questions so as to collect opinions of fans on topics that are relevant to company’s business and are interesting to stakeholders. In the opinion of Littster, “the questions should engage fans and inspire them to refer business while giving the business owner great insight”. Another important step to take advantage of the social media channels is by sharing ones expertise to attract the attention of potential customers. It can be done through posting little-known, fun facts strictly related to the business which is promoted by the owner of the social media account.
Litster also says that each post should include content that benefits potential customers. This goal can be achieved through “posting tips on best practices, providing access to white papers, and offering incentives on products or services”. Finally, it is really important to avoid syndicated messages. Writing the same message on a variety of social media outlets is not a good idea as it may result in losing the sincerity behind the message. Of course, a company can use similar language to promote its offer on different sites, but each owner of the social media channel should change the words while reflecting the tone of each network.
Applying these practices to social media engagement and promotion can bring many market benefits to the PERFORMER consortium and enable social media to be seen as a good way of recognizing customers’ expectations and establishing direct contact with them. The PERFORMER competitors know how to take advantage of this and intensively promote their product and services through Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and several other social media channels. It is a great challenge to PERFORMER, but with a little effort, it can be turned into a promising strategy that will allow our consortium to achieve a significant share in the BEMS market.