Ever been in a meeting where someone tries to convince you that social media won’t work for B2B? They’re wrong. And this case study from Madison Electric Products is proof.
More than just a tagline, “Innovation that Works” is the driving force behind Madison Electric Products’ approach to business. In fact, it’s this commitment to innovation that led Madison to launch the Sparks Innovation Center, the industry’s first crowdsourced, collaborative approach to product development. (Madison’s industry isn’t part of the early-adaptor set, so this was truly innovative.) Additionally, Madison was one of the first electrical industry suppliers to test social media and tie it to actual business outcomes.
Madison understood that time spent online must be time well spent. That’s why – working with Geben Communication – Madison developed a social media strategy with very specific goals: Increase awareness and enhance reputation among key audiences; drive traffic to the website to increase submissions to Sparks; position Madison Electric as a trusted resource within the industry. Madison Electric launched a company blog, Facebook page and Twitter account. The blog offers commentary on industry trends, interviews with industry leaders, marketing tips, and links to “must-read” articles. On Facebook and Twitter, Madison is establishing connections with media and other industry players by sharing relevant content and participating in online conversations. (Interestingly, while Madison’s Facebook page doesn’t get a ton of interaction, content is seen by 44% of the fan base – far higher than the average 17%.)
Not content to simply collect friends or followers, Madison Electric can trace measurable results to its social media efforts. For starters, traffic to their website has increased 70% since embracing social media. More importantly, social media has fueled an increase in submissions to the Sparks Innovation Center. We use social media to highlight inventors, call for submissions, and explain how crowdsourced product development benefits the industry as a whole. Submissions have doubled year-over-year, and the Center is the point of origin for five existing products and another four in the production phase. That’s a direct, meaningful impact on the bottom line.
In addition to driving online results, social media has strengthened Madison’s traditional PR, too. Thanks in part to social media, Madison Electric has been featured in Crain’s Cleveland Business, received a MANNY Award (recognizing the best of manufacturing in Northeast Ohio), landed on the cover of the industry’s leading trade publication in a feature story about exceptional marketing, and delivered presentations at high-profile industry events.