Improve Your Supply Chain Management with Social Media

As a supply chain professional, you already know the value in establishing and maintaining relationships, but are you maximizing your communication strategy? For millennials, the use of social media is natural; it’s a part of our everyday lives. For other generations, it’s hit-or-miss. Some people are social media privy, some are experts and some avoid it like the plague. Whether or not individuals choose to use social media from a personal standpoint is their own prerogative. Whether or not companies use social media for their brands shouldn’t be a question at all. We live in a digital age where virtually (no pun intended) everything is online. So, it makes perfect sense for you to market your brand online. While having a website is absolutely essential, you also need vehicles to drive traffic to it—one major channel for that is social media. If you’ve totally been ignoring digital transformation for your brand, let’s make a U-turn, take the bull by the horns and start with the following seven steps.

Choose your Platforms

There are 1.5 billion people using social media. Exciting, right? There is a whole virtual universe out there for you to explore. Each social media platform was designed for a different (sometimes just slightly) purpose. In addition, each platform generally reaches unique (yet sometimes overlapping) audiences. Once you understand each platform, you can develop your segmentation strategy. Don’t underestimate the power of these platforms for connecting with your suppliers, vendors and customers. They are using them too and you can learn a lot by being on the platforms they are frequenting.

Create a Voice That’s Consistent Across All Platforms

Do you work for a large, corporate company or a small, more intimate company? Possibly even something in-between? A key part of branding is developing a voice, whether you message is formal, direct and concise or more informal, fun and kitschy. It’s difficult for a brand to do both, as it comes across as sporadic and inconsistent. Establish how you want to communicate with your audience.

Share Authentic/Enticing Content

What sets your brand apart from your competitors? Once you can verbalize these differentiators along with your strengths, you will better understand what you need to promote. If you’re familiar with inbound marketing strategies, then you already know you cannot simply just tell your audience about your service or product, you have to connect with them and market in a way that suits them best…from a consumer’s standpoint. It all starts with creating buyer personas, targeting them according to where they are in their buyer’s journey and of course retaining them using lifecycle marketing techniques.

Develop Your Network of Influencers

If you haven’t already, establish a team of brand ambassadors. This is mutually beneficial, as it allows each participating brand to gain access to each other’s networks through cross-promotions. Have you ever participated in an online event or webinar with one of your suppliers or partners? The thought leadership you are sharing may be important for other company suppliers to know. Share it on social media…and ask your co-participant to share as well. Queue additional organic lead generation and brand support.

Make Connections

You may not think that social media is important in supply chain…but can you imagine how much you can learn about your suppliers by researching them on LinkedIn and reading their posts on Twitter? Just by spending a few minutes every day online, you can learn about big product decisions, company moves, shifts in leadership and other things that may influence your relationship positively…or negatively.

Engage Your Audience

So your message is out there, now what? Part of developing and maintaining your brand is monitoring your social media channels.

  1. Always skim through your posts to ensure that they display properly across all platforms and devices.
  2. Look at your suppliers and customers’ social media outlets as well. You might be surprised to see what others are saying about your company. If you are working with many third party    vendors, this can be especially important. Target breach 2013…need I say more? While the breach itself had nothing to do with social media, the reputation of the company is most definitely influenced by how Target responded, and social media can play the most influential role.
  3. Check for mistakes. Every once in awhile you will catch a typo or a post you scheduled that’s out-of-date. Stay on top of it, so you can catch those mistakes before your audience does.
  4. Check for shares, retweets and comments on your posts. These are the brands/people that are interested in your content. Yay! Don’t lose them. Interact by thanking them for sharing or following and reply to their comments to keep the conversation going… and return the favor to them when they post.


Track Performance

Don’t you want to know if all your efforts are working? There are numerous ways to track your performance on social media. Generally, you want to track all your channels based on growth, but you’ll also want to track each campaign you run to see how much engagement your posts generate. The first step is to create goals and outline your projections. You can then set a strategy that will collect the data you’re seeking.

If you’re new to the game, it can sound like a lot, but there are an infinite number of resources available to you. And the best part is, many of them are free! The most important asset to your company is its brand. So what are you waiting for? There is no better time than now to generate a higher demand for your product(s) or service(s), enhance your market intelligence, share your thought leadership, mitigate risk and more—all through your social media efforts. Happy socializing!