Lets look back 15-20 years ago, how was the majority of machining and engineering work sourced? Reputation? Word of mouth recommendations? Yellow pages? It all worked fine did it not? Especially for those in the UK, with small engineering firms, churning out high quality components. Maybe it was a location thing, you were the only machine shop in a 15 mile radius with capabilities like yours, so work found you no problem.
Even now, it's not to dissimilar in this industry. Reputation is everything - and a few well manufactured parts and jobs can take you a long way. However, there are now more ways than ever to show off your capabilities, using social media platforms.
This is nothing new I hear you cry, I get it, you've had a Facebook account for years and a company Facebook page, of course you have. In fact, if you've found this blog it's probably highly unlikely that you have no social media presence. But there is one major aspect to this that a lot of us vastly overlook and underestimate. In 2018, Facebook has amassed an active usership of 2.2 billion individuals. Even if 0.01% of these users are engineers, machinists or looking for machining work, that's 200,000 people. The potential is ridiculous. Instagram is proving to be another major player, with around 800 million users. Now obviously I'm well aware that most engineering firms have caught on to this and now have their own social media pages and accounts. However, I think they are going about it the wrong way.
Social media is all about interaction. Reality, people being themselves and bringing whatever they are good at into the spotlight and presenting it to the world. Whether that be a big machine tool manufacturer or an independent cake maker producing artisan cupcakes. It's important for engineering companies to be like this to attract a real audience, and inspire them! Probably one of the only big firms doing this, and doing it quite successfully is Haas - they engage with their audience and show things the user really wants to see. Just posting things that have no value are simply a dull waste of time. You don't have to be a big player to have a go at this either. Take a look at Helical_Fresh on Instagram, who takes his awesome design and machining capabilities and combines them individuality which is just inspiring! Or Kemal Alpay of Kalpay who does a great job of documenting his amazing machining work for his company, Rapid Prototype Machining Corp, no doubt helping him to grow his business tenfold over recent years - he's managed to attract a following of 30k followers.
It really is that important, and hopefully we will see some of the other engineering companies being a lot more real and a lot less corporate on social media in the future. Not only is it important for growing your business profile, it's vital for inspiring young engineers of the future - lets not forget, their future is based around using these apps on their phones and tablets, this will continue to develop and further platforms will emerge from this, meaning now is the time you have to be at the sharp end!
If you have a social media account for yourself or your engineering firm, post on it, now. If you haven't - go and create one, as soon as possible...
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