We've asked the question dozens of times. "Why doesn't your mining company use social media?" Typically, the answers are the same. We don't know where to get started. We know its important but don't have the time. Or.... its not a priority.
In fact, many companies who are using social media cannot explicitly say how effective their social media is because a formal plan or strategy was never developed.
So, if you are wanting to create a social media strategy for your mining company, here are 5 Steps to help you get started.
1. Know Who Your Audience Is
If you are going to start sharing content online about your mine and operation, you obviously want people to view and engage with it. After all, that is the entire premise of social media, right?
What we are witnessing today is the most effective content has the user or audience in mind first, not the mine. And to produce great content means you know who your audience is and what they are most interested in.
For example, if your audience is typically mining professionals, engineers or stakeholders, you should be able to share more technical information that the general public is not versed to. But if you are reaching an extended audience, such as community members, students, or even those with genuine curiosity, your content should be tame on the technical jargon.
The best content mining can share on social media should be a balance of both. After all, we have a responsibility to provide updated information to our stakeholders while also adopting a plan to enhance the reputation of the mining industry at the same time. (Our friends at Cupric Canyon Capital do a great job of this).
This is where Clear Creek Digital comes in. As I mentioned to a colleague a few weeks ago, I have a certain curse for mining to consider. See, a mining engineer can take a look at a mine and find problems to solve or ways to optimize the operation. A mining executive can look at a mining operation and find ways to add value and strengthen the company. Clear Creek Digital looks at a mine and finds endless opportunities for content and storytelling. The curse is different but still important.
2. Share the Experience
People consuming information online are much more interested in the experience you provide rather than the product, service or operation. You can ask any successful digital marketer today. They will say the same thing.
Mining and mineral exploration are incredibly unique. And for those of us in the industry, many of us would say we are here because of the experiences the industry has provided us in our career, right?
Unfortunately, for too long that experience has been behind a foggy lens to the public. What do I mean by this? Well, we've been here and continue to operate. If the public wanted to know more, there were plenty of ways to learn about mining and exploration, but we typically were not the first ones providing that knowledge or experience forthright.
But I can tell you, through my content and experience, there is time to act! Because I share the experiences I have gained through the mining industry, I have more people asking me about them or wanting to learn more just because I'm proud to share it online. People are genuinely interested because there seems to be a more developed line of transparency through the content we create. We have given them the opportunity to experience something they knew little about.
3. Use Visual Content
Best advice we can give any mining operation and its communication teams: spend time producing visual content. It will be very beneficial in the long run.
There are many online tools out there to help you produce unique graphic images. We really like Canva because you don't have to be a graphic designer to feel happy with your graphic work.
The new Adobe Spark is also a great tool to simply produce motion graphic videos for the novice. Look into it and see how you might be able to tell your operation's story with that software.
We, as a communications agency, still believe in the investment of high-end video content. There are many tools out there to help fill those simple content gaps, but the data still shows that best engagement is developed through strategic, well-planned and professionally produced content. Remember, the hardest thing to do online is grabbing someone's attention. The second hardest thing to do is keeping that attention. This is why powerful video content is so crucial for any mine.
4. Think Long-Term Strategy
Our good friend, Dan Blondeau, once told us during a Clear Creek Digital webinar that trust cannot be build during a time of crisis. And in a previous blog, I shared the knowledge that an explicit value to an operation just through use of social media and digital content is not gained overnight.
This is why mining companies and exploration companies must commit to the long game of social media content and information sharing. We must begin to show patience in gaining followers, engaging with them, and building those lines of trust through the transparent experiences we share.
Far too often do we see companies come under fire for a certain mishap or public stand-off. This leads to reactionary communications. Perhaps even crisis communications. But with a future-driven strategy, those companies will start communicating proactively. Furthermore, mining must also be willing to adopt and test new communication technologies which may appear in the future.
You cannot create the perfect social media campaign or strategy your first time. So please don't expect to just launch a social media page for your mining operation and not tweak your tactics. This is why we believe in strategies, not solutions, at Clear Creek Digital.
Conducting regular audits and check-ins on your platforms' data will help you develop way of changing some of those tactics. Try new forms of content and see how their engagement differentiates from others.
Better yet, adopt and use 2-3 different social media platforms (for mining, I recommend LinkedIn and Twitter foremost) and see which platform outperforms the other. You should also come to find that your audiences are different for each network. And that means the context of your content must represent each network audience.
And here, my friends, is where we circle back to Step #1.