Oracle Social Spotlight

Social Cloud, Success Stories | February 14, 2017

Social Digital Communities: Where Industry Experts Connect Online

Jim Cahill is an expert among experts. Emerson Automation Solutions' Chief Blogger leads a team that manages a network of engineering, manufacturing and industry subject matter experts via digital channels including the Emerson Process Experts blog. 

With headlines like “Chemical Injection: Why Waste Money on Injecting Chemicals?” and “Improving Burner Control with Gas Chromatographs”, the content stream is a dream come true for Emerson’s highly technical audience.

Since manufacturing and engineering professionals are constantly in the market for new ways to overcome obstacles that impede efficiency, Jim creates and curates content that shares proven methods to counter known problems with solutions. 

In years past, engineers would meet in local, typically small-scale groups to compare notes on the latest industry innovations. Now with digital communities like those managed by Jim and team, professional engineers with niche specialties can cultivate professional relationships online with others in their niche fields of expertise.

The Business Case for Blogging

While the primary focus of Jim’s work is brand and community building, he understands the fringe benefits of increased awareness in the digital space. In his words, "We’ve always been known for our technologies and powerful systems, and less known for our people. We want to build a reputation as problem solvers. Along the way, this naturally leads to sales lead generation."

The sales process proves complex in Emerson Automation Solutions' space. One cycle to scope and sell an entire system can take 2-3 years, so social engagement does not need to be transactional in a micro sense. But well-timed, informative posts can have a subtly powerful influence on the path to purchase. 

If a blog post reaches the right person at the right time in their project, Jim posits that the message has the potential to guide them to reconsider their current approach and bring an expert in earlier, giving Emerson an opportunity to play a larger role in their project. 

A Trusted Resource in the Industry

Sites like LinkedIn offer a sense of community to a traditionally socially averse B2B landscape. Connections facilitated within the Emerson Process Experts online ecosystem leverage peer-to-peer relationships to help engineers and manufacturers solve problems with help from people who have been there.

And when the community is stumped on an issue, Emerson’s own subject matter experts step in to fill the gaps with knowledge gained from their direct access to Emerson lines of business. 

According to Jim, “We don’t do this because social is ‘new and cool’. We’re trying to build our expertise in the eyes of people in the industries we serve." 

The Art & Science of Social Media

Professionals used to have to wait for research papers to be printed and distributed, or for the next sanctioned industry meet-up. Social media has quickened the spread of information in the manufacturing space, allowing for faster adoption and knowledge sharing.

Jim understands that effective social engagement is as much art as it is science, so he keeps his eyes on the analytics running behind social posts like blog entries. "The week’s most popular post might be from four years ago," he muses. “It’s not science. It’s living in the flow and using your gut.” 

Jim lets the industry, not a set-in-stone campaign calendar, dictate the direction of his content. Inspired by an issue that is top of mind in the community, or an innovation that was recently covered in a trade publication, Jim taps the collective consciousness and delivers a unique take on solving a problem in the field. More than anything, Emerson Process Experts is designed to educate.

And it works. The Emerson Process Experts blog turns eleven years old this year, representing one of the most enduring sites of its kind.  

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