Manufacturers get their Facebook on

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

If you’re still undecided about Facebook, these wheelchair manufacturers, who all have a vibrant presence on the social networking site, could help you make up your mind. They say the branding, research and development, communication and other opportunities on Facebook are bar-none.

A website isn’t enough

“These days, most purchasing decisions begin with an Internet search,” said Kelly Mize, public relations manager, Invacare (Facebook page since 2010). “Our website is a great resource for information, but it’s more targeted toward providers and investors, and not necessarily at consumers. Social media platforms like Facebook allow us to share information, videos and photos that might not have a natural place on our corporate website.”

Feed your fans regularly

“We post new information to our wall as content becomes available but we like to post an update from Quickie at least once a week,” said Alecia Macias, emarketing specialist, Sunrise Medical (2009). “It may be about an end user event, new product update or simply sharing an article or video we saw on the web that may be useful to our fans.”

The Harley Davidson effect

“Our end users seem to have almost a Harley Davidson mentality toward our products,” said Barry Steelman, marketing manager for Permobil (2009). “They’re proud to be owners of our wheelchairs. So this is our way of keeping in touch and sharing information with them more frequently.”

When bad can be good

“Having people criticize your products is always a danger,” Steelman said. “We had lengthy discussions about what to do about that. We decided not to block anyone, because it’s an opportunity to address concerns. It opens an honest discussion.”

In touch with social virility

“Each post and interaction is gauged for the overall reach it has,” said Bernie Allen, general manager, media marketing, Pride Mobility Products, which launched a Facebook page for its Quantum Rehab division earlier this year. “How many people have seen a post? How many people comment on it? Do people share or forward it? We get to see the larger picture—our social virility.”