Partner & CEO
In May 2020, when our lives were thoroughly disrupted due to the pandemic, my friend and life coach asked me if I would be open to sharing my experience of leading my company in these challenging times through a short video. He told me that our response to the crisis and maintaining continuity in manufacturing cylinder valves for Medical Oxygen would inspire people on how to respond positively to the changed external circumstances. The story would be part of Project Helping Hands, a brainchild of Mr Sandeep Kaul, Leadership Coach and co-author of The Accountability Clock.
I hesitantly agreed and soon realized it is much easier to write than to speak on camera. After many edits and retakes, I submitted my story. The next day I received a LinkedIn notification when Sandeep, with a mission to inspire others to do more than they think is possible, tagged me in his post. I was never active on LinkedIn, and my profile created many years back was not updated. My impression was that LinkedIn is a good forum for job seekers, and I was never part of that group. I have not been allergic to social media and regularly use Facebook to share my views on things close to me, while Twitter has been my primary source of accumulating news and views.
We had discussed creating a social media account for Tekno Valves a couple of years back while making a new website. We were unsure whether people would follow our company and how would we manage the account. I feared that having too few followers would be embarrassing. A young team member did voice her opinion from time to time on the need to be on social media, but the proposals were discussed briefly and then dismissed quickly.
The Story of Hope energized me to update my professional profile, and I approached my daughter for help, a recent graduate based in Sydney and self-claimed 'queen' of LinkedIn. While updating my profile and noticing an auto-created and unauthorized Facebook page of "Tekno Valves", we again revisited the arguments of starting a social media account. I contacted my friend (yes, the life coach one) for suggestions, considering he is a well known professional in the field of Public Relations.
When we told him we were considering opening a Twitter account for Tekno Valves, he told us to explore where our target audience is hanging out. His exact wise words being rather than throwing a party, why don't you join the existing party. We discovered that Gas Companies were regularly using LinkedIn as a dashboard for posting their news feeds. It was an ideal hangout place for the gas industry professionals to network. We were satisfied with publishing news and events on our company website, but it did not allow our audience to react or comment on the posts. We now realize that this is like throwing a party but forgetting to invite guests. In technology terms, it was equivalent to using a Nokia handset with a small screen without a QWERTY keyboard in the age of smartphones.
We finally created the Tekno Valves LinkedIn page in June 2020. I upgraded my profile to Premium and sent connect requests to as many business acquaintances as possible. In turn, I requested them to follow TV, and we slowly but steadily started increasing our follower count and receiving more views, likes and comments on our posts.
At the time of writing, we have over 1200 followers on LinkedIn, and we have received appreciation from several contacts and customers for our account. We also opened a Facebook account (part of Social Media hygiene) and a YouTube channel this year. It was no coincidence that the Story of Hope was the first video posted on YouTube.
Creating meaningful content to inform and educate our customers on gas cylinder valves and even promote our products has taken much of our time last year, but it has been worth it. We now better understand what works in this space and social media is an integral part of our marketing strategy.
Even though we have now hired an outside agency to manage our accounts, we realize that being first hand involved is the best way to learn. Much to the disappointment of our ISO 9001 auditor, this year, we decided not to send out the repetitive customer feedback survey forms and instead benchmarked the increase in social media followers as one of our quality objectives for the period 2020-2021.
It is fair to say that the baby has grown up and started walking confidently on its feet.
Connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org