Social Media Marketing for Manufacturing Companies
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Today’s B2B buyer is constantly surrounded by social media and is often just a click away from being able to connect with you or your business.
As a manufacturer, properly utilizing the right social channels to promote your brand and create connections with your audience (which is often so different from the traditional B2C audience) is key to success for modern manufacturers in the digital age.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by even the idea of social media marketing, but manufacturing companies must take a different approach to social media in an age where everyone is using social media (including your customers).
It’s easy to feel, as a manufacturer or heavily industrial business, that social media doesn’t matter to you, but even in the industrial world, social media marketing can be a powerful tool that can drive results.
Here’s how to get started
Social Media Marketing Is Different for B2B Businesses
If you’re a B2B manufacturer, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to run contests or product giveaways as many B2C businesses do — can you imagine giving away X-ray equipment on Twitter?
Yeah, I thought not.
Instead, manufacturers and other industrial businesses usually need to focus their efforts on social platforms that allow them to connect with decision makers at other businesses.
Can you imagine giving away X-ray equipment on Twitter?
That means LinkedIn for most folks, but it might also mean Twitter and Facebook in one industry, while in another it means Houzz and Snapchat — what matters is your potential customers. Where are they spending their time online?
That’s where you need to be.
That being said, it’s possible you may need to connect with your end user. Each manufacturer needs to make their own determination about who they need to connect with most — with that information in hand, you can decide which social media platforms will work best for your business.
Be Patient — Social Media Marketing Takes Time
Depending on what industry you’re in, your social media solution and the social channels you focus your efforts on will vary.
The social media platforms you choose to be active on will depend on your target audience — if you’re not sure who that audience is, you can use our handy Customer Persona Template to define the audience you’re trying to target with your social media efforts.
Once your audience is defined, you’ll need to pick some platforms to be active on — don’t bother picking platforms unless you or someone you work with can commit to becoming active on those platforms regularly (that generally means logging onto the platform and interacting/engaging 2–10 times per week)!
Social Media Marketing for Manufacturing Companies — Some Platforms to Consider
Industrial businesses usually won’t benefit a lot from Pinterest Board shares or Instagram likes, but a Twitter account could aid you in connecting with other professionals and businesses in your sector.
A well-kept YouTube Channel video with tours of your facility or behind-the-scenes looks at processes or products can be a source of engaging content that helps you connect to industry professionals, content you can then transfer to your website or share on additional social media platforms.
Well-maintained LinkedIn accounts for all your decisions makers is often one of our recommendations for manufacturing businesses, allowing you and your top employees or coworkers to connect with other businesses and C-suite members — a business LinkedIn page can also be leveraged for recruitment.
Some Manufacturers May Want to Connect With End Users
Not all manufacturers are created equal — depending on what you’re manufacturing and how you distribute your product and get it in the hands of the end user, you may actually find value in more traditional B2C use cases for social media.
For instance, businesses in the furniture industry that are looking for social media solutions should target those platforms that allow them to connect with others more visually — this might include Facebook or Instagram but could even include Pinterest and Snapchat.
Instagram allows you to push content to multiple channels, and though it’s better to post to Facebook and Instagram separately, if you’re in a pinch, posting to both platforms simultaneously can save you time.
Though your customers may not be able to purchase direct from you, posting on social media can still increase brand awareness and help your customers become more interested in your products over the competition.
Of course, this depends entirely on you how your business is run — OEMs and ODMs may not be able to engage in this type of social media behavior at all.
Posting on social media can still increase brand awareness
You can also utilize your LinkedIn brand account and Facebook page as a method of low-cost PR, announcing new products, price changes, new partnerships, or anything else that your business deems valuable.
Visually Engaging Platforms Can Benefit Manufacturers, Increasing Brand Awareness
Businesses in the manufacturing industry might also find value in targeting social media channels that are visually engaging, creating styling or gift idea boards on Pinterest, linking to items that are available at an online store, or even creating boards based off the release of new collections or seasonal promotions.
Instagram is a great way to share engaging photos of products — you can then use hashtags to reach a specific audience that is relevant to the product or service.
Instagram is also a great place to share short marketing videos or commercials that capture the attention of your audience as they scroll through their feed.
This can seem like a lot to take on, especially if you’re a small team or you don’t have a dedicated social media manager, but once you lay down a strong foundation and set aside some time each week to plan out your posts, you will find that a little organization goes a long way.
And don’t forget automation! In the modern era, you don’t have to be constantly on social media to be engaged and involved. There are several useful scheduling tools that can help the part-time social media manager appear to be a full-time social media guru.
A little organization goes a long way
Here’s how to get started with your push into social media.
Social Media Marketing for Manufacturing Companies — How to Get Started
- Go to each social media platform and claim your social handle — try and be as consistent as possible with your content in your profile and with the names of each account.
- As you set up each account, make sure to add your address and contact information so customers know where to find you and how to reach you even if you aren’t very active on that platform.
- Fill out the information in the “about” or “bio” section. Even just a few short sentences that explain who you are and what your business is about will help show your customers that you’re a real brand — it has SEO benefits as well.
- Don’t forget to include a link to your website! Your entire goal with social media is to form relationships and drive interest — you need to make it simple for your customers to find your brand’s “online home,” to learn more about you. Most social media platforms leave a specific place for you to link your website.
- Identify who you want to connect with on this social platform and come up with a gameplan to get their attention (HINT: This usually means engaging with their content or their brand accounts).
- Start sharing useful content from other folks on the platform who are in your industry, share your own content, talk to people, and be social! It might take a while, but you can form relationships through social that lead to real customer relationships.
And here are some scheduling/automation tools you might consider:
HootSuite has a paid and unpaid version that allows you to schedule posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
The unpaid version lets you schedule up to thirty posts on an account, allowing you to schedule social media posts for up two weeks at a time, depending on the platform.
If those posts inspire engagement, you can handle responses manually, in real time.
Buffer is another tool with paid and unpaid options. Buffer lets you schedule on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, but it also allows you to schedule posts for your Google+ and LinkedIn accounts.
They even have a Chrome extension that makes this entire process much easier.
PostCron is similar to Buffer and has some of the same in-browser benefits. This platform also has paid and unpaid versions and is very user-friendly.
Not Every B2B Business Will Benefit From Social Media Marketing — For Manufacturers, the Choice Should Be Based on Your Target Customers
Social media marketing isn’t for everyone, especially in the world of manufacturing.
If your business is exclusively B2B and your brand rarely shows its face to the public, it may not make sense to engage in social media marketing. For manufacturers who need to engage directly with the end user in order to be successful, there are many ways to do just that through social.
Social media marketing isn’t for everyone
Social media allows you to go a step beyond traditional marketing and engage with your end users and with your potential customers in real time.
SnapChat, Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories, and Facebook LIVE are all great ways to engage and interact in real time with your audience, but they do require some thoughtful planning to make sure your message stays consistent with your brand.
Set yourself up with the social media solutions that will work best for your brand and industry.
Claiming your social handles, focusing efforts on a strategy that utilizes social media channels that will create the greatest ROI for your time, and then exploring the more interactive social media solutions on a case-by-case basis can help even the the most old-school manufacturing businesses to get into the world of digital marketing.
Your social media solution is just one part of the bigger picture and should fit into your overall marketing strategy. Still not sure what that looks like for you? Check out our Analyze Your Marketing ebook and learn how to integrate social media marketing into your marketing strategy.
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