One of the first things you learn in marketing is that perception drives purchases. If prospective customers or investors hear positive stories about your brand, they are more likely to spend their money. The opposite is, of course, true as well. Over the years the oil and gas industry has taken quite a few hits, both in real bad news and in perception management.
The industry is in the midst of an uphill battle to earn “Likes”. There are a lot of people ready to bash their products and methods. Social media is a throbbing underground network that has the ability to send out positive messages to counteract the bad publicity. Consumer advocacy groups, energy consumers and investors are all online, which is where the industry needs to take their positive stories. LinkedIn attracts business people interested in the world around them and the ability of business to impact their daily lives. This is an ideal place to establish and share industry expertise and build relationships.
Consistency is Key
Anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to the oil and gas community is aware of the shifts in the industry. The volatility is obvious for some industries and staying consistent in your branding and messaging is critical to weathering the storms of bad press and being ready to ride the wave when good news hits. Don’t do social media halfway and expect it to be effective or to help maintain a brand or image. Post and connect with your audience through the ups as well as the downs.
Social Media Fosters Relationships
Many consumers see large companies and industries as impersonal and distant. Social media can change that perception by giving you a place to foster relationships. Encourage people to join your communities and tell their friends. Whether the story is positive, negative or somewhere in between, be prepared to welcome everyone’s view so that they contribute to telling your brand’s story. Leverage LinkedIn to demonstrate the benefits your company provides to the communities you serve. This will build trust and help your audience see how important your business is to the economy – both locally and nationally.
Share Your Expertise
Be seen as the expert in your business and prospective clients will seek you out. This is invaluable for investor outreach initiatives. If you have been consistent and built relationships based on knowledge and information your value is already established when it’s time for an investor or consumer to make a buying decision. Share information about trends in the industry and ongoing stories without expecting an immediate financial return.
Social media in general and LinkedIn in particular, are not a quick fix or marketing miracle. But they are the here and now of brand messaging. Embrace it and join or miss out on an opportunity to engage with the people who are trolling social media to find out where your products stand in the marketplace.
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