Concrete slipforming, Facebook, and how a manufacturer has it right with social media

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Gomaco equipment

gomaco imageThe Facebook group is small, just 140 members, and you need permission to enter. Yet, the  closed Facebook GOMACO Concrete Slipforming Group (I can’t provide you a direct link here because it is a private group)  provides a wonderful example of effective social media marketing and relationship-building, and how a company understands, respects and relates to its users.

I achieved admission to this group because one of its members, Chris Hutchinson, had read my Construction Marketing Ideas book and discovered some useful ideas. In turn, I received permission to join this group, entirely focused on concrete slipforming.

The group’s power and effectiveness arises from its grassroots orientation. “This group is not Gomaco run nor do they influence in anyway, this group is run by the people who operate these machines from around the world.” Founder Chad Mozak, a concrete/machine supervisor in Alberta, Canada, said the  members can share incredible details about their specialized work. You won’t find too many of these multi-hundred-thousand dollar concrete machines in any community; but you will find them world-wide. So, if you have problems or challenges or simply want to share your experience, the group provides a wonderfully effective forum and relating environment.

GOMACO has wisely decided not to interfere in the group. The company’s technical support representatives certainly monitor and help out, but the business does not regulate the content, some of which might be a little rough and ready. (Guys who operate and maintain concrete slipforming machines on heavy civil projects generally are not ballet dancers in their off time or snobbish academic scholars . . . or writers.)

I’ve enjoyed Skype conversations and email exchanges with several group members as I prepare for a presentation on social media to the National Capital Heavy Construction Association (NCHCA).

Lessons learned:

  • Social media is powerfully effective in building/maintaining communities within specialized areas.
  • Grassroots works best; and corporations should allow/encourage users to control and manage the process.
  • The group doesn’t need to be large to have critical mass, especially if the knowledge is specialized and directly relevant;
  • The multi-media capacities including videoconferencing, direct messaging, and ability to archive relevant images and videos create an incredible real-time resource.

Undoubtedly the group is helping GOMACO’s brand. Some of its members have achieved international consulting and training opportunities from it. This is a story of how social media truly provides marketing value to the manufacturer and the product’s users.

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