Power Social media makes sense for companies that are active in B2B. We contacted the medium-sized company Albach Maschinenbau (district Pfaffenhofen/Ilm). The conclusion: a healthy mix of classic marketing, online marketing and social media is what is important for a company. The main problem for a company of the size of Albach Maschinenbau: the manpower in the company is not comparable to large companies or the industry, which have several employees in each of the marketing disciplines.
Please give a brief introduction to your company (industry, products/services, customers/target groups, size)
Albach Maschinenbau : As a mechanical engineering company, our customers are diverse. A large area is in the field of forestry. Our main products are the Silvator 2000 and the Diamant, two different models of a self-propelled hacker. Forestry companies, contractors as well as other companies worldwide are among our (targeted) customers. As a medium-sized company, we employ around 50 people.
How was marketing conducted in your industry and your company before the start of social media activities?
Albach Maschinenbau : Since the beginning of the company, we have also relied heavily on online marketing. Because only those who position themselves continuously and well-founded on the web will ultimately be found. Overall, however, we pursue a balanced marketing mix of trade journals, daily newspapers, online media and, of course, the social web with its possibilities. The industry itself is represented on the web – in forums, used machinery markets or in the social web you can often find honest and unmakened user opinions.
B2B and social media – this is sometimes viewed critically: why Albach is active there, what goals do you pursue, what channels do you use – and above all : has your social media activities changed customer perception? – What are do’s and dont’s in business social media for you?
Albach Maschinenbau : From the very beginning, we have also relied on online communication, as the dialogue with users, customers and potential customers is an important concern for us. Portals such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube / Google+ & Co. were important for us in order to reach our target group in their broad range. One thing is very important to us: If someone seriously contacts us in any way, then we react – I think that as a company we owe that to the interested parties. Therefore, you should consider which channels you use – specifically to approach them in a goal-oriented way and to actually support them. Because nothing is worse than a channel that is just standing, on which customers may talk, but you don’t get any reaction from the company – even in the mechanical engineering sector. Likewise, a “no-go” is for us only monologues. We are convinced of our hackers – no doubt: We are convinced of our chippers– no doubt: However, our philosophy refutes to present ourselves as the best and greatest in every sentence or to constantly over-saturate our users with advertising. The important thing is that you get a handle for what the fans are really interested in – and you get that best in honest dialogue. Whether a machine has been sold more or less by the fact that we do social marketing is certainly not 100% possible – the fact is, however, that we have become better known in the world comparison and so deliver machines from the contemplative Upper Bavaria all over the world. This, as well as the feedback from our fans and other customers, is ultimately confirmation that we are on the right track with our strategy.
How did you get the necessary know-how into the company (external consultancy, agency, freelancer, new employees or training courses)? Where is social media located in the company (PR, marketing, own department)? How many people work in the field of social media?
Albach Maschinenbau : Our employee in the marketing and PR area has been in this profession since the beginning of the social marketing developments. D. h . these things are carried out in the area and integrated into the corresponding marketing campaigns.
How do your customers react to this? Is social media e. g. accepted in your customers’ shopping?
Albach Maschinenbau : Well we don’t expect someone to order a Silvator 2000 or a Diamant 2000 like message or post on Facebook. That is not our idea at all. However, it is already the case that (potential) customers keep an eye on our information channels in the social web, sales partners use them in advance – I wouldn’t expect anything more for machines in our category. Our channels are consistently well received, the professionally experienced users participate in the activities and honestly share their user experiences .