Is it the year 2000 yet?

Jarvis Cocker knew exactly when the Year 2000 was and he may have known all Technical PR, Engineering PR, Industrial PR, Manufacturing PR and Electronics PR. This is a picture of the sleeve of Pulp's seminal Disco 2000.I’ve long argued that technical brands who aren’t currently taking advantage of social media are leaving themselves in the same position as engineering businesses that chose not to set up a Web site in the mid nineties. While you aren’t losing out much in a purely sales generation context today, tomorrow you will find yourself two steps behind. Well, the question one has to ask regularly is ‘Is it the year 2000 yet? Have you now left it so long that you’ve fallen behind by not being an early adopter?’

Some new research suggests that the tide is certainly turning in that direction. People who are Facebook fans and Twitter followers of a brand are more likely to buy the brand's product or recommend it to a friend, according to a new study by Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies.

The study of 1,500 consumers found that over 60 percent of Facebook fans and 79 percent of Twitter followers are more likely to recommend those brands since becoming a fan or follower. Clearly, these people weren’t all engineers; they were a representative sample of the population overall. However, there’s a good chance that engineers would respond similarly.

If you break the research down to look at the demographic that is most likely to be an engineer with significant buying power, which I would argue is adult males, we see some interesting results. When asked the question "What does it say about a brand if they are not involved with sites like Facebook or Twitter?" men aged 35-39 said the following:

"Either they are not interested in the demographic that frequents Facebook and Twitter or they are unaware of the opportunity to get more exposure in a more interactive method."

Obviously, not all engineers are male or in that age bracket (or in the current climate have any significant buying power!) but this is an interesting statement. Clearly, we should also factor in that these people were thinking as consumers, not professionals, when they were answering the question.

Nevertheless, I think this shows that we are, at the very least, stringing out the bunting ready for our millennium parties - to outrageously overextend my opening metaphor. So, if you aren’t already taking advantage of social media as part of your technical PR campaign, I suggest begin to do so. After all, nothing could be worse than waking up with a hangover on January 1, 2000 and realising that you’ve missed the party.

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Richard Stone

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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