Social Media 101 at ASPE

Social media isn’t a trend, but knowing how to get on board can help position your business on the top trending searches.

Social media is everywhere. For most, it’s our point of contact with loved ones and businesses alike. It’s where we get our news, social updates and fix of cute puppy photos and videos. And if you’re like me, it’s also where you get your biggest headache. So, I get it. I get why you’re hesitant to incorporate it into your business and to make the effort to learn about something that is so different from what you’ve always known to work. 

What I don’t understand is why you would walk away from a free medium for connecting with your target audiences. A medium that not only will not go away any time soon, but also is one that continues to expand. 

Most everyone is on some type of social media platform, whether daily or occasionally. And you can’t continue to ignore a platform that has such a vast reach, nor should you want to. 

When used correctly, social media can be very effective in establishing your brand and getting your product or service in front of your target audience. It can also be effective in learning from peers and sharing ideas, thoughts and concerns within the industry. 

For all of the reasons mentioned above, and many more, you should take full advantage of the ASPE Social Media Lounge at this year’s ASPE Convention & Exposition in Phoenix, Oct. 31 – Nov. 1 (Convention is Oct. 28 – Nov. 2). 

ASPE has teamed up with Empowering Pumps to present the first ever Social Media Lounge at the show to help attendees and exhibitors learn how to stay connected and share ideas using social media during and after the Exposition. 

“We felt like we needed to help move ASPE more to the forefront in getting our members and affiliates on board with social media,” explains ASPE marketing team member and Director of Affiliate Relations Brian Henry. 

“Realizing how people communicate today and looking for ways to increase awareness about the plumbing engineer profession, we felt it was an obvious move, and that it needed to be done to help our members compete within our industry,” adds Nadine Saucedo, ASPE’s graphic designer and a marketing team member. 

It’s an obvious move because research shows that the industry is slow to adopt the new technology trends. In fact, according to the Internet Usage Survey Plumbing Engineer conducted earlier this year, 48 percent of you reported not having a presence on social media at all, and 69 percent of you said you have not participated in related training or conferences within the past five years.

The ASPE team agrees that the industry as a whole lags behind. They add, “We’re not where we should be, probably because social media wasn’t thought of as a priority for plumbing engineering companies. The idea that you can grow your organization through social media is really just coming to light.” 

The motivation behind the Lounge was the need to educate its members and the plumbing industry in general about how social media is more than posting what you are doing each day — it is a valuable business tool that you need to be taking advantage of.

Social media has, and continues, to change the way we do business. According to a study done by comScore Network, seven out of ten consumers are more likely to use a local business if it has information available on a social media site. 

That’s 70 percent of your audience that goes online to do a search about your brand, product or service. Managing your own social media presence allows you to manage your story. 

The ASPE team stresses that social media is not a fad, but instead, it’s part of everyday mainstream media in terms of usage and how businesses, the media, and individuals receive, distribute, and share information. The great part is that you have so much more control over social media than with any other form of media out there because you are responsible for what you disseminate. It really is a useful tool to spread the word about your brand.

Knowing that social media can help promote your business is one thing. Knowing how to use it is another. 

There are all sorts of studies and research that point to types of content consumers prefer, broken down by type of industry and much more. Though these findings serve a purpose, it’s important to know that they, just like social media, are constantly changing and evolving. 

“Knowing exactly what to post to reach your audience is a big challenge, which is something we are going to address during the sessions at the Lounge,” notes Gretchen Pienta, ASPE’s director of publications and a marketing team member. 

The Lounge is designed to give attendees a chance, in a comfortable setting, to learn not just about social media but also how it’s being used in this industry and some of the tools they can use to better connect with other industry professionals. 

“We want attendees to be aware of how accessible organizations such as ASPE, as well as manufacturers and service providers, are on multiple platforms. Also, we want them to know how easy it is to understand what social media can do and how valuable the information put out via social media really is,” the team adds. 

The Social Media Lounge will be located at booth #903, and Charli Matthews, president of Empowering Pumps, and her team will present four free, interactive sessions scheduled for Monday, Oct. 31 and Tuesday, Nov. 1. The sessions include: 

  • Monday, Oct.  31 at 11:30 a.m. — Crash Course on Social Media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn
  • Monday, Oct. 31 at 3 p.m. — Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media Usage in Business
  • Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 10:30 a.m. — Developing Social Media Programs for Companies
  • Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 1:30 p.m. — Business Level Social Media: How to Interact B2B and B2C

The ASPE team of experts will also be on-hand during the entire Exposition to provide one-on-one instruction for any of your questions, so stop by to discover how to take your social media skills to the next level!

“We encourage attendees to bring their device to the sessions so they can practice as we go along,” Pienta says. “During the sessions, we will be presenting real-world business examples of how the industry is using social media, and you will learn specific things you can use and strategies you can immediately implement.”

The experts will have individual Q&As after each presentation for those who want more instruction. 

For those not attending the show, ASPE wanted you to know that, “less is more,” when it comes to improving your social media engagement. “But you have to use it!” 

It’s important not to think of social media as an afterthought. “You need to have a strategy that fits within your overall organizational communications strategy and make someone in your company accountable,” Matthews says.

It’s a responsibility that should not just be handed over to the youngest employee in your business because you think they’ll know more. Think of the your social media channels as an extension of your business; whoever runs it should not only be trained on the “how,” but the “when,” “who” and “why” of your business strategy. They should understand your audience and how to engage with them. 

I started off by saying that social media is the cause of headaches for me. Let me clarify by saying it’s not because of the businesses that I follow, especially not the businesses that do it right. I’ve chosen to follow them because they provide a service I need. The headache comes from the 1,001 posts about what someone ate for breakfast or what he or she plans to cook for dinner. 

Know your audience. Know your message. Know how to deliver it. 

If you’re at the ASPE Convention and Exposition, be sure to stop by the Social Media Lounge with questions and an eagerness to learn more. If you’re not, be sure to follow #ASPEFlowsWest for live updates from the show. We’ll be using the hashtag, and I’m sure many others will as well. 

You also might want to follow the official ASPE mascot, #ASPEAlex. Alex is not just a water creature, much like ASPE is not just about water. You can follow #ASPEAlex in worldwide adventures on Facebook and Twitter.  

 Moving forward, ASPE hopes to continue gaining followers to help spread the word about ASPE. “Being on social media brings more awareness and recognition of ASPE, which will help develop our reputation as a top-notch professional organization,” Saucedo says. “We also hope to work more with our affiliates and use social media to help them communicate with our plumbing engineer members,” Henry adds. 

It’s a community effort, so get involved and help make plumbing engineers part of the trending world.

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