We get many queries from manufacturers about social marketing — mostly, why and how should I use it — so here are our answers to the most-popular questions manufacturers ask about social media.
- Facilitate networking opportunities, thought leadership, and prospect/client relationships.
- Consider using popular platforms like YouTube and Instagram to engage users and drive website traffic.
- Don’t use social media to push your products.
B2B operations have increasingly embraced social media as a strategic marketing tool. In fact, 9 out of 10 companies are active on at least one platform. But manufacturers, in particular, have been reticent to jump on the social media bandwagon.
If your manufacturing operation isn’t making use of social media as a tool to engage with your audience, you’re missing out on big lead generation potential. Manufacturers like the Dow Chemical Company, ArcelorMittal, and CAT Products are among those that have figured out how to harness the power of social media.
To help you launch or refine your efforts, we’ve put together the following answers to the most-popular questions manufacturers ask about social media.
Why should manufacturing companies be on social media?
There are three major reasons that manufacturing brands should be all over social media:
- Establish thought leadership
- Network within the industry
- Develop and sustain client relationships
Notice that none of these involve selling products. As with content marketing in general, good social media marketing isn’t about pushing your products.The value of social media for manufacturers is in its potential to establish and expand thought leadership and to cultivate meaningful and fruitful relationships within your industry and among prospects and clients. Click To Tweet
To make the most of social media as a marketing tool, abandon the idea that it’s about blatant sales pitches. Instead, approach it from the perspective that it’s an inherently social tool – that is, its value for manufacturers is in its potential to establish and expand thought leadership and to cultivate meaningful and fruitful relationships within your industry and among prospects and clients.
Which social media platforms should manufacturers be using?
Not all social media platforms are created equal. Each requires its own strategy, content format, and media. We recommend that manufacturers consider these five platforms:
Facebook is an excellent place to share content with a wide segment of your audience, to promote engagement (through likes, comments, and shares), and to engage with peers and prospects. Not only that, the savviest marketers are using Facebook to understand their industry better – everything from strategies of peer brands to a fuller picture of your target buyer persona to the informational or product needs of your prospects.
Twitter’s format is about brief, pithy content, used to engage with and inform your audience. This is an ideal place to let customers know what you’re planning next, to establish your corporate personality, and to let your audience in on a slice of your day-to-day operations and values.
Video marketing for manufacturers is skyrocketing. With video being the most popular form of content online today, YouTube is an obvious choice for marketers. Whether it’s “how to” videos, footage of your operations, or interviews with subject-matter experts, your brand should be using YouTube to drive search traffic and educate prospects.
B2B marketers unequivocally rank LinkedIn as the most effective network for lead generation, follower engagement, and traffic to their websites. An ideal place to engage with industry leaders, LinkedIn is also great for distributing content to a focused audience.
The popularity of this highly visual platform has continued to skyrocket – it’s currently the second-most-used social media platform (up from fourth just two years ago). And believe it or not, this picture-based network is a powerhouse for B2B brands. We’ve written extensively about how brands can leverage Instagram and Instagram Stories. Suffice it to say, this is a perfect place to post your most engaging visual content and actively engage with followers.
How can manufacturers be effective on social media?
As with any content marketing effort, a well-thought-out social media strategy is a big part of success. As you create and begin to implement your strategy, start with these five tips.
Before you post even a single piece of content, start by listening to your audience. In the days before social media, marketers had it much harder when it came to determining audience needs and preferences. Use these platforms to research your target prospects, as well as how competitors are engaging followers. Make note of the questions your target audience has, frustrations or challenges they express, and what types of content they engage with.
2) Focus on offering value.
You’d be surprised how many manufacturers neglect to place a premium on simply being useful with their social media content. It’s not complicated: If you post relevant, valuable content for your target audience, you’ll boost engagement, grow brand awareness, and generate and convert more leads.
3) You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you post.
One of the great things about social media is that it rewards not only content creation, but content curation. While you do want to be posting original content most of the time (experts recommend about 60%), a good chunk of your posting activity should include curating relevant content from third parties to share with your followers.
4) Be creative.
Separating yourself from your competitors can be a challenge, but it’s one worth striving toward. Start by asking yourself what makes your operation unique, what’s special about your process, what industry-leading expertise does your executive team have, what unusual perspective can you offer? Next, start breaking these four rules.
5) Learn from your successes and setbacks.
There are many tools out there to help you track the results of your social media efforts. Determine the right KPIs for your business and keep track of your results relentlessly. These metrics will allow you to study your impact and frequently tailor your strategy accordingly.
It’s time for manufacturers to fully embrace the marketing potential of social media. Whether you create and implement your own strategy, or decide to outsource your social media efforts, social media is a powerful set of tools that manufacturers should be harnessing.
Are there other questions manufactures ask about social media that we missed? Let me know in the comments.
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