Social Media in the Hardware Industry

National Hardware Show

Next week, Pat Murphy will be bringing a very influential topic to the National Hardware Show: Social Media 2.0. Pat, FunMobility’s VP of Business Development and CEO of ISSMM, began his career in the hardware industry and is passionate about driving its development.

For over 60 years the tradeshow, held every year at the Las Vegas Convention Center, has been bringing together manufacturers and resellers in the hardware industry to discuss market trends and new developments in the industry. As technology grows and touches industries more thoroughly, market strategists must adapt. Social media and mobile are swiftly growing channels that many in the hardware industry have yet to use to full effect.

Showcasing Thought Leaders

Two and a half years ago Pat and three others saw how rapidly the digital space was evolving and posed the question of how business execs could stay up to date. A trade association was born from that thought: the Institute for Search and Social Marketing. ISSMM’s aim is to showcase thought leaders and present best practices on internet search and social media.

With Pat’s contacts and knowledge of the hardware industry, he became the perfect evangelist for the use of social media in the hardware industry. He’s been asked to present at several tradeshows, including the Hardware Marketing Council meeting at Duke University, and the NRHA All-Industry Convention, the biggest conference in the industry.

Social Media 2.0

Social media is a new subject for most professionals in the hardware industry because of the generational gap. Most companies, if they’re doing social media, do not have more than a token presence. “Often when I go out and visit companies to talk about their social media, I hear more tactics than I do strategy,” Pat said. He goes on to state that he often gets feedback that makes social media seem like an afterthought. “Oh we’ve got a guy who does that, or a girl who does that…”

Ease of use is another complicating factor. Even big brands struggle with how to use social media effectively. Pat addresses the difficulty of knowing how to best use social media in his presentation, something that for an industry which is already suffering from a generational gap, only adds to the boundaries between marketers and social media’s potential.

The Role Mobile Plays

Internet usage it gravitating from the desktop to the handheld device, so as with social, it only makes sense to leverage the power of both together. In Pat’s words, “Times are changing and more than anything else the mobile platform is turning the world upside down.”

Orchard Supply Hardware recently developed a mobile strategy that involves a great deal of social media, due for launch on FunMobility’s platform. “I don’t think Orchard is an anomaly,” Pat told us, “I think there are a lot of chains out there that may not be as big as Orchard but in regional pockets in this country are pretty significant. That if they had a good mobile strategy it’ll really improve the loyalty of their customers. They’ll be able to connect with their customers in ways that I don’t think the big competitors can.”

Appearances at the National Hardware Show

Attending the show and want to hear Pat Murphy speak? He’ll be presenting Social Media 2.0 on Tuesday, May 7th at 3pm in the Main Hall. The next day at 12pm, he’ll be speaking as part of a panel on Social Media Best Practices, with a focus on the approaches used by Lowe’s and Home Depot.


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