Social media has transformed how we communicate, shop, and do business. Rail industry customers are now savvier than ever, and they’re using social media to learn about products and services, connect with brands, and make purchase decisions.
While we think of social media as a way for family, friends, and followers to connect, stay in touch, or send hilarious memes, social media can also be a robust new sales and marketing tool for your rail business. For example:
• 60-70% of all business-to-business buyers used social media during their path toward purchase. It’s one of the first places buyers will view when researching products (just ahead of brand websites) and has become essential to the research process. We’ve made multiple sales that started with a LinkedIn connection!
There are several ways that companies in the rail industry can use social media to inform their buyers:
1. Use social media to share news and updates: Social media is a great way to share news and updates about your company or the rail industry in general. This could include presenting at a conference, launching a new product, or winning an award. Sharing this content will help you build thought leadership and authority within your industry.
2. Use social media to tell your brand story: Every company has a story, and social media is the outlet to tell your audience about your company. Why did you get started? What motivates you?
3. Use Social Media as a Customer Service Channel: Most people now expect companies to be present on social media and use it as a customer service channel. A 2014 study by Nielsen found that 67% of respondents used social media channels for customer service in the past year.
We’ve established that to remain competitive, companies in the rail industry must have a solid social media presence. But where do you start?
First, decide who your target audience is and which platform will work best for promoting your company to them. Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube can connect you with your existing customer base and attract new customers. It also allows you to use it as a marketing and PR tool – boosting visibility in your industry while growing brand loyalty among your customers.
Moreover, engaging with social media won’t set you back too much in terms of time or money – especially since most platforms are free to shore up an account (although paid ads may cost a little extra). Here’s how small railways can capitalize on everything social media has to offer:
Facebook: With 1.59 billion monthly active users, chances are good that one of your potential customers is already regularly logging onto Facebook. This makes the site a perfect place for companies who want to advertise their services and keep tabs on how well their current promotional campaigns are doing. You can use Facebook’s business insights tools to monitor how many people have viewed (and interacted) with your posts or ads – allowing you to see what works
LinkedIn: The world’s premier business network with 722 million users as of January 2022. 25% of all American adults use LinkedIn and use it daily.
Here are a couple of tips from HootSuite for using LinkedIn effectively:
- Always include an image or other asset. Posts with visuals receive 98% more comments than text-only posts. For example, have a photo, infographic, SlideShare presentation, or video. (Videos receive five times the engagement of other assets.)
- Keep your post copy short. For sharing long-form content, create a brief lead, then link over to the full article.
- Always include a clear call to action.
- Tag people and the pages mentioned.
- Lead with a question to prompt responses
- Create LinkedIn polls for feedback and engagement
- Include two to three relevant hashtags in a natural way
- Write solid headlines for articles
- Respond to comments quickly to encourage more engagement
YouTube: The most extensive railway companies in the world use YouTube to reach their customers. According to Google, more than two-thirds of consumers watch relevant videos before making a large purchase. This year, YouTube has helped businesses such as railway companies increase their awareness by 14%. Create videos with content that best displays your company’s offerings; some companies use video to highlight their newest innovations, while other companies focus on customer testimonial videos. YouTube content will help generate website traffic, and Google will better rank your railway company.
The railroad industry is changing, and social media is a part of that change. Using social media, rail companies can connect with their customers, grow their businesses, and gain invaluable insight into their customers. Connect with us on social media and tell us how you plan on bringing social media to your business.