Overall, only a few Oil and Gas companies are actively using social media as part of their marketing plan, and using it correctly. Two main excuses are made when social media comes up in the conversation – It’s for business-to-consumer companies. It’s a fad. Both are incorrect.
The reality is that the Oil and Gas industry should not view social media the way B2C firms do. To see success in social media, Oil and Gas companies need to think about the outcome differently. Social media is designed to create relationships with people. Being open can be hard. Legal will most likely want to be hands-on when it comes to policy. In addition, there are people who disagree with what the companies do, and have used social media to share myths and misinformation. Yet, this is the main reason to be on social media – because your customers and detractors – are already talking about you online.
Social Media 101 for Oil & Gas Companies
Noteworthy gains from using social media include the following:
- Brand awareness: Social media venues give companies opportunities to put its experts in front of customers (LI and FB), link its name with what it specialized in (Twitter), and visually show what it can do (YouTube).
- Public Relations: An entire post can be written regarding PR, but for now, look beyond the press release. Industry forums and LinkedIn groups allow you to connect with people interested in a specific topic.
- Search engine optimization (SEO): People have to find you. A well-researched social media strategy provides links to your website and directs users to more information about products and services. (Algorithms are a more detailed discussion as Google changes theirs regularly.)
- Transparency: Where is your business located? In what areas are you active? Partnerships that could benefit them?
- Thought leadership: Prove your company and employees are experts in the field. Share case studies, document a success, and share knowledge through forums and blogs.
Use Social Media In Innovative Ways
Take a page out of your own book – innovation. You can use social media an innovative ways just as you do with technology, software and engineering. Below are a few ways your company can use social media in a meaningful way.
- Look past press releases. Social media can highlight the feats of a specific project or company, which is bound to start conversations that might convince your future customers or employees that your company is on top of its game.
- Need or want more talent? If you are highlighting your progress in interesting projects and technologies, you can attract talent that wants to work on projects that will advance their careers. That is a win-win.
- Collaboration. Do you remember how you collaborated before the digital age? Gathering together after the work to discuss the day, projects, and the industry? This still happens but on a digital platform. Think of sitting on a digital barstool and talking with your engineer in Europe and a rig worker in the Gulf. The conversations about technology, innovation and ideas occur on many forums just like it does at the local bar. In addition, there are niche sites where your company can host conversations between workers. Your role in this area can unlock the creativity of others throughout the industry.
- Conferences. At conferences, pay attention to what others are doing. Use Twitter, hashtags, special pages on the company website, to make sure attendees are interacting with your speakers rather than reading emails. For example, by using Twitter hashtags and having the live feed on the screen beside the speaker, you can drive a conversation instead of a one-way talk. Having a special page on your website related to your presentation allows people to instantly access copies of slides, read more detailed documentation or simply be more present while the speaker presents.
- Educate! Share updates, dispel myths, and inform.
Regardless of what kind of company uses social media, it has to move forward to fully leverage its power.
Please let me know your thoughts and questions!