– Jim Cahill and Manny Mandrusiak
Cahill, based in Austin, Texas, is the chief blogger and head of social
media for Emerson Process Management. His career includes roles
in sales, product applications, alliance management, product
management, and marketing communications. Before joining Emerson in the
late 1980s, he began his career as a Systems Engineer with Conoco North
American Production in New Orleans. Jim received an Electrical
Engineering degree from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA
from the University of New Orleans.
Industrial Automation “Social Media Master”
I recently wrote an
article, "Is Listening Online Worth Your Time?" (http://jimc.me/hmlDa5)
for Valve magazine
Mandrusiak: Jim you have a huge reputation in the industrial
automation world as the “Social Media Master”. How did you get
started with Blogging and Social Media for Emerson?
Cahill: The services side of the process automation business has grown
in significance and importance over the past decade. About 7 years ago
we were looking at ways to highlight the experts we had around Emerson
Process Management who helped process manufacturers across the
lifecycle of their operations—from upfront planning and design, to
project engineering, commissioning, optimization, and ongoing lifecycle
support. We decided a blog was a great way to share stories of our
experts and make these stories easily findable to people using the
search engines seeking help to the challenges they faced. Based on this
idea and some internal selling of the idea through the Emerson
organization, we launched the blog 5 years ago and have seen a steady
growth in visits, subscriptions, and contacts.
Mandrusiak: I know that a lot of folks in the Building Automation
Industry believe that Social Media Tools provide little value for
them. Perhaps you could elaborate on some of the value that they
have provided for Emerson?
Cahill: The value comes in making Emerson easier to connect with,
which in turn leads to business opportunities. The posts are
discovered, my contact information is there, and I help connect folks
with the experts who can help address their challenges. The blog has
also provided closer connections with members of our trade press and
analyst community. These closer relationships can result in more PR
opportunities, which help to increase thought leadership. I’ve also
found that the relationships established with customers and prospective
customers foster positive word of mouth, which is by far the most
powerful form of marketing.
Mandrusiak: Where is a good place for someone who is new to Social
Media start? I’m a huge Twitter fan myself, but I was curious
what your thoughts are?
Cahill: Listening is a great place to start. I recently wrote an
article, Is Listening Online Worth Your Time? (http://jimc.me/hmlDa5)
for Valve magazine. Whether you are a company or an individual, it’s a
good idea to listen to what’s being said about you, your brands, and
your key areas of expertise. Some ways I share to do this include
Google alerts and RSS search subscriptions, Twitter searches, and
LinkedIn groups. Once you have a good feeling for the online
conversation, your business objectives should drive your tactics. In
our case, the blog was a great next step. In other cases, it may be
very active participation in existing online communities. Or, it could
be using Twitter to provide links to interesting content you think your
audience would care about. The key in whichever path you choose is to
give it sufficient energy. It can’t be yet one more thing to do, but
something you really need to do and commit the time and energy to do it
Mandrusiak – What Social Media Tools do you favor?
Cahill: For listening, Twitter and my RSS feeds and searches are tops.
For building thought leadership, the blog is number one. For
interaction, Q&A I like LinkedIn Groups and Facebook Fan pages.
They are very different environments, but both very valuable in forming
better relationships with folks interested in our company and brands.
Mandrusiak: What effect have you seen from Emerson’s Social Media
efforts in relation to increase in brand awareness and product sales?
Cahill: In addition to the business opportunities I field on a daily
basis from people who find me through the blog, Twitter, Facebook Fan
page, and LinkedIn, our social media efforts have built thought
leadership in many important areas. Some examples include process
safety and wireless field networks. Having built this credibility
over time has been instrumental in several large project wins.
Mandrusiak: As the Industrial Automation “Social Media Master”
what parting thoughts would you like to leave those that are on the
fence about how to effectively integrate Social Media into their
Cahill: I’d sum up my thoughts by saying that listening is an
important first step and if you decide to participate in a greater way,
make sure you commit the resources to be fully successful. Half
measures are easy to identify by your audience and may end being
counterproductive. Also, have clear policies (google IBM Social
Computing policy to see a good example) to make sure those who
participate know the rules of the road to stay out of trouble. Most
importantly, let your natural personality shine through if you
Mandrusiak: Jim I appreciate your time. If readers have any questions or comments for you where can they find you?
Cahill: Manny, thanks for the opportunity to allow me to share some
thoughts. Folks can connect with me in LinkedIn
www.LinkedIn.com/in/JimCahill and send me a message or visit the
Emerson Process Experts blog and find all my contact info.
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