by Ayandamantomnazane Mhlongo, Head of Social@NGAGE
Dirty boots, mud-covered overalls, fog-covered goggles, and venturing 100 m underground and 100 m high – it’s all in a day’s work at NGAGE. This is one way to describe the industry that I now find myself in and, through this description, no-one would be able to guess what I do. And no, I am not a miner, nor am I a rope-access professional. I head up the Social Media department at the agency for industry, NGAGE.
One might describe our clients as boring, and too technical. I mean, what’s fun about inspecting a 1 000-m-tall smoke stack? One could assume that, when managing social media for an industrial brand, there’s no room for fun content, or using the latest trends in social media to drive engagement.
However, with more than 20 social pages to manage, a combined following of over three-million fans, more than 100 posts per week, and a location-based page in Portuguese, Social@NGAGE has given industrial brands a voice on social media, and made platforms like Facebook an option for brands that would never have considered the platform.
I promised not to blow my own horn, but what’s a blog post about social media without knowing the person behind the blog? Ayandamantombazane is my name, and I am a trailblazing warrior in these social media streets. I’m known for creating one of the coolest blogs in SA, ICEKREAM, with a following of 1.3-million people. My CV sounds like a messy Digital Love Story that includes managing some of the biggest consumer brands on social media, running event-based campaigns that live on social, and running specific targeted adverts for brands throughout Africa.
Enough about me. Deconstructing the notion that social media for industry is boring has been my main goal since joining NGAGE nearly two years ago. As much as I am excited by the prospect, it does tend to feel like I am stuck in quicksand and drowning in the ‘industry is boring’ comments.
If this is you, firstly, nice to e-meet you. Secondly, I can help you out of that muddy situation. Social media for industry can be tricky, but the trick is to not create content about brand products or services only. Instead, use facts that the end consumer wouldn’t know – for example, one of our clients, KBAC, installed 500 000 sq ft of flooring, which could cover the Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban. Pretty cool, hey?
Social media for industry is about creating content that YOU would be interested in reading. Imagine managing a cement and concrete brand. What would you talk about? Please don’t say ‘how concrete is made’. Did you know that Johannesburg is called the Concrete Jungle because the foundation of the city is built on concrete? Have a look around on your drive home today: from the concrete slabs on the highway to the bridges we cross, concrete is everywhere. It’s not dull and ugly; it can be beautiful.
Working on social media accounts for industrial brands can be a tad intimidating, as you are basically managing the online reputation of companies that literally run the world, like Gold Fields, as an example. Taking on such a giant of an account has allowed Social@NGAGE to explore other avenues of social media that reach far beyond daily community management or content planning. We’ve developed social media policies that not only protect the mining company, but their employees, too.
We created a social media guideline that was initially ten pages long. I converted it into an infographic that is not just easy on the eye, but just as simple to understand – even for people who are semi-literate. As a result, Social@NGAGE has decreased the chance of employees going on social media and making irrelevant comments or displaying behaviour that may, in future, hinder them from having a job.
One of our pages, @BoschProfessional, has a following of 1,8-million fans on Facebook. These fans are passionate about the brand, and engage with us on a daily basis. We not only use social to educate the market, but our clients sell on social, and generate leads that result in real business results.
If you still think that social isn’t relevant for Industry, or that working on industrial brands is boring, or if you agree with me, then I would love to #NGAGE with you! Get a glass of wine, and join me in an #NGAGing Twitter chat on Wednesday 23 August at 19:00.