The Dollars and Sense of Social Media

The social networking explosion is no longer a new phenomenon. Facebook and Twitter are over a decade old, and neither is showing signs of anything but growth. Facebook is home to 1.5 billion active users. The business networking site LinkedIn boasts an impressive 300 million registered professionals.

It’s not just your kids using these sites either. Every single member of the Fortune 500 has an executive presence on LinkedIn. In fact, according to a recent survey, 73 percent of small business owners use some form of social networking in their marketing efforts. That number is impressive enough in a vacuum. However, when you consider the fact that just a few years ago that number was 10 percent, it speaks volumes about the direction in which the world is moving. Facebook currently has 16 million business pages.

Yet many in the gases and welding industry are slow to adapt to the phenomenon. Some don’t completely understand the technology, while others still question its value. Others have embraced the trend fully.

What’s important to note about these sites is that your Twitter followers or those who choose to “like” your company on Facebook are doing so because they choose to do so. Becoming a follower or “liking” a page requires a conscious decision on the part of the user. That means that when you send out a message—whether it’s to 200 or 2,000 people—each and every person who sees the message is someone who is interested in your company—talk about targeted advertising!

Getting involved with social networking is not only important for what it can do for a company today; perhaps just as critical is the promise it holds for tomorrow. It was just a few years ago that we were talking about the viability of e-commerce. The cover story on the following pages provides some examples of distributors using social media, along with some helpful tips.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association