A Midland company has shown how embracing new media can bring benefits to the manufacturing sector thanks to a university business support programme.

Warwickshire firm Gravograph, which makes engraving and marking machines, said it had enjoyed a rise in business after using social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook through work with Dr Xiao Ma from the WMG SME team at the University of Warwick.

Through activities such as producing YouTube videos of its products in action and interacting with potential and existing customers through online social platforms the company increased enquiries by 180 per cent.

Furthermore, Gravograph managed to convert one in four of these enquiries into sales and attracted 83 per cent of these customers from direct competitors.

Gravograph demonstrated its social media success at a Warwick Business Growth Network (WBGN) social media event held at the International Digital Lab, University of Warwick. WBGN collaborated with University department WMG to showcase how social media can benefit business performance.

WBGN is a membership organisation that has evolved out of the Business Innovation and Growth Alumni Group and established in collaboration with the Enterprise Hub at Warwick Business School. It allows the group to meet, share ideas, experience and best practice.

Gravograph, which is based in Tachbrook Park, Leamington Spa, worked with Dr Xiao Ma at WMG to identify potential social media opportunities and implement them within the organisation.

Michel Tissut, general manager at Gravograph UK, shared the results of the collaboration at the WBGN social media event. He said: “We were delighted by the results of our work with WMG and were happy to share our findings with members of the WBGN network in the hope that they can learn from our experiences.

“The opportunities available and the benefits of embracing social media were not immediately obvious to us as a company – but they soon became clear once we began working with WMG.

“It has had a dramatic effect on the company and has resulted in us both increasing business and taking a large amount directly away from our competitors.”

Dr Xiao Ma, from WMG, said Gravograph was a great example of how social media can benefit organisations from all sectors, not just the service industries it is traditionally associated with.

“The aim of the WMG SME programme is for companies to innovate and grow through access to new technologies and ideas,” he said.

“It was great to collaborate with WBGN at the social media event to share information and examples of best practice and innovation which can help the WBGN members succeed.

“Both WMG and WBGN are here to offer support and Gravograph is a shining example of a company which wanted to try something different and, with our support, achieved fantastic results.”