How Mining Companies Can Use Social Media to Promote Their Businesses

In Dust Control, Mine & Quarry, Technology by Jim Silva

Social media networks can be a powerful tool to share your organization’s brand message with the masses. For mining companies, capitalizing on these opportunities is especially important.

Every company needs a smart marketing strategy — whether you’re selling a product, service, or utility, it’s important to promote a base level of awareness among current customers and the general public of your business and what it can offer. Traditionally, this has meant spreading the word through static channels: print advertisements, TV and radio commercials, and industry-specific press releases.

This is the most basic, one-sided form of engagement: a company promotes its brand message and trusts the audience to take it at face value, rather than encouraging a dynamic conversation. In the lightning-paced age of information we live in today — with online networks facilitating near-constant engagement and unlimited access to information — it’s no longer enough to just make your claims and let them stand on their own. Especially for companies in a mining industry that’s sometimes prone to extensive, unwarranted scrutiny in the media, maintaining an active social media presence is absolutely essential.

Fostering a Conversation

Social media networks aren’t just another blank space to post your company’s latest ad campaign — they’re an open forum that invites real feedback. While this two-way communication can be a huge advantage for companies, these platforms open companies up to criticism from the public and other interest groups. This can be a double-edged sword for the mining industry, whose opponents are sometimes quick to paint an unflattering picture. The beauty of social media networks, though, is that they facilitate conversation — so a company is able to respond directly to comments and create an open, productive dialogue.

Deloitte recognizes this potential in its 2015 “Tracking the Trends” report:

[Mining companies should be] considering ways to leverage mobile communications and social media in an effort to foster two-way dialogues with investors, industry analysts, community organizations, media and the public at large. It’s also worth noting that mining need to go beyond simply observing tweets and other social feeds; they must also get into the world of social media and engage with the wider stakeholder community.

Once mining companies have established an authoritative social media presence, sensible skeptics will be won over by the matter-of-fact, honest engagement that these conversations foster — and according to the Deloitte report, the ripple effect of good social media practices can extend beyond the industry itself: “Given the weight of public opinion, miners understand the imperative to engage in the public arena if they hope to influence government policy and contribute to a better political/social climate.”

Best Practices for Social Media Superstars

There’s no definite formula for social media success, but these best practices should put your mining company on the right track. First of all, your social accounts should be populated with relevant content, from blog posts to infographics about your operations and the industry as a whole. Content should be shared on a consistent basis in order to best engage in real-time conversations with your followers.

All active networks should be well-maintained and regularly updated: that means carefully curating your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Google+ accounts while simultaneously monitoring user interactions with your posts. Make sure to keep your audience updated about positive company news, projects, and work processes, such as the incorporation of efficient, green products into your operations.

If you’re in need of some inspiration to get your social efforts off the ground, refer to this list compiled by Mining Global of industry players that have fostered effective and prolific social media presences. Not only will these accounts keep you abreast of industry news; they’ll also provide standout examples of social media success for your company to aspire to.

(Image credit: Kaboompics)

Jim is Midwest’s Business Unit Manager for Global Mining. He is experienced in operations management, asset management, and business improvement.