Benefits of Being Social

Social media is becoming a more popular marketing tool for shops. It also offers another avenue for us to identify top shops to cover in our magazine.


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As in our past Top Shops benchmarking program, this year’s survey asks about shops’ use of social media as a sales and marketing tool. (The 2017 survey at survey.mmsonline.com/topshops remains open through the end of February 2017.)

Survey data show that leading shops continue to be more likely to leverage social media channels, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, in part to help get the word out about their companies’ capabilities and improvement efforts. In addition, I’m finding that these social media channels are becoming good sources for story leads for me and other Modern Machine Shop editors to potentially pursue. In fact, this is how I discovered the leads for two feature articles that appear in this month’s issue.

One is the article I recently wrote about Protomatic. I was no stranger to this Dexter, Michigan, prototype and short-run shop, because it was a 2015 Top Shops Honors Program winner in the shopfloor practices category. However, it wasn’t until seeing one of the shop’s tweets related to its risk management procedures as part of becoming registered to the medical ISO 13485 standard that I contacted it to pursue an article.

The short tweet pushed to a longer post on the shop’s blog, one of other posts that the shop has also included in an email newsletter it regularly sends to its customers. My hope was that an article describing how Protomatic handles risk management would be helpful to shops that aren’t required to include risk management as part of their ISO 9001:2008 certification but that will be required to include it per the revised ISO 9001:2015 standard.

The second example is Matt Danford’s story on South Morgan Technologies. During IMTS last September, Kevin Ames, owner of South Morgan Technologies in Girard, Pennsylvania, visited our booth and chatted with Ryan Delahanty, publisher of our sister publication, Moldmaking Technology. Seeing the machined Top Shops company logos with company profiles on display, Kevin suggested that his shop might have an interesting story to tell, and Ryan passed along his contact info to me. I then checked out his shop’s website to get a feel for what the company was all about.

Seeing that it also had a Facebook account, I looked through past posts to see what the shop has been up to recently. One of the posts included an image that closely resembles the one that appears on this month’s cover, of a blocky part that looks like it should have been machined on a mill instead of a turning center.

I handed this lead to Matt Danford, one of our associate editors, and he developed the interesting article that ended up being the cover story. It describes how the shop leverages live tooling and Y-axis capabilities on its turning centers to effectively machine parts one might not immediately think to consider on that type of machine.

So don’t be shy about being social about your shop. Your customers will notice. So might someone like me.


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