Did you know a whopping 85 percent of manufacturers report using social media as a content marketing tactic? They are using platforms such as SlideShare, YouTube and Facebook to create inspirational and educational content that indirectly promotes their businesses.
This marketing tactic initiates discussions among customers and prospects, which often results in sales. A good example is the video from A Day Made of Glass that shows the possibilities of glass in the future. Though it does not promote any specific product, it has received millions of views and helped create widespread awareness for Corning, a major producer of ceramics and glass.
Want to up your organization’s digital marketing game? Here are eight top social media tips for manufacturers.
1. Begin By Listening
Before you begin posting anything on social media, take time to listen to what people are saying about your industry or company. There is a wide range of listening tools such as socialmention.com you can use to get an idea of what people are saying. You could also consider physically attending industry events and product forums to interact directly with customers and prospects. Or consider creating a Buyer Insight Report to truly get a grasp on your buyers.
2. Share Useful Content
Marketers in the manufacturing industry should not just see social media as a place to sell their products. Instead, it should be a place where partners, prospects and customers can find valuable content about your industry. Share content that will educate your audience and make their lives easier.
For example, share behind-the-scenes access to your manufacturing process or your products in action. This Caterpillar video is a great source for inspiration:
You can also share humorous content related to your industry, like Toyota Equipment often does in its tweets and retweets.
3. Ask Your Followers to Contribute
One of the best ways to develop content for social media is by asking your followers to contribute. For instance, Hampton Creek, a food manufacturing company, sent a tweet to its audience asking them to share tricks for recycling and reusing empty product jars.
Another great way of getting prospects and customers to post content is by running contests on various social media channels. The Hottest Ginger contest, ran by another food manufacturing company, Buderim Group, did just that. You can use tools including Woobox, Wishpond, Strutta and Shortstack to create contests easily.
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4. Join Communities
Besides interacting with your fans and followers on your social media pages, you should join smaller forums and communities related to your industry. There are numerous social media groups that cover all manufacturing industries, from machining and consumer electronics to energy, aerospace and automotive.
Joining such communities will offer you a great opportunity to network with other professionals in your industry while brainstorming new ideas and exchanging best practices and strategies. A few examples of communities on LinkedIn include Manufacturing Executive, Metal Fabrication and SME Society of Manufacturing Engineers.
5. Connect With Influencers
Every topic or industry has experts and thought leaders. Therefore, while engaging on social media, you need to be on the lookout for people who have a large following. Take time to “like” their pages, read their posts, leave comments and share when appropriate.
Connecting with such people will allow you to tap into their large following, thus giving you more exposure. Some of the influencers in manufacturing worth following include Vicki Bell, Don at BIN95.com, Manufacturing.net andSME.
6. Combine With Other Content Marketing Strategies
For best results, social media should be combined with other content marketing tactics, such as webinars, eBooks, blogs and email newsletters.
Need some inspiration? The SpaceX Twitter page contains numerous links to blog posts about space travel and rocket designs. Bison Gear and Eng in one of its tweets provides a link to its email newsletter.
7. Track Your Progress
To make sure you are on the right track, monitor your progress as often as possible. This will give you an idea of which content increased your web traffic, attracted more subscribers, generated more leads and resulted in higher brand recognition. Other metrics you can measure include sales, conversion rates, sales lead quality, time spent on site, SEO ranking, and quality of customer feedback. The good news is there is a wide range of free measurement tools you can use.
According to Bruce McDuffee, “Most executives in the manufacturing industry are laggards when it comes to understanding the new buyer’s habits and how they apply to go-to-market strategy and tactics. … The window of opportunity is open for modern, bold executives willing to change the way they interact with their target audience.” To succeed in the manufacturing industry, you need to continually adopt social media marketing tactics that prove effective with the modern buyers.
8. Have an Advertising Budget
No social media strategy is complete without advertising. Without dollars boosting your posts, your reach will be severely limited. Paid ads allow you to target prospects by gender, interest, geography, skill set and even email. This will in turn drive more traffic to your site and increase your ROI significantly.