Before diving into how to use social media for manufacturing companies, it’s important to understand a few basic things. Bill Gates was prophetically right when he said that the internet is becoming the town square for a global village of tomorrow. And considering the fact that by the end of 2019 there will be around 2.77 billion social media users around the globe, it can be said that social media will become the door of that town.
Moreover, when you consider that Americans spend an average of 37 minutes per day on social media – making it the dominant form of online activity – it’s amply clear that there are many people who spend significant time on social media. Despite such a bright picture, manufacturers aren’t able to ace the art of social media marketing.
According to IHS GlobalSpec report, social media has not seen overpowering adoption among the manufacturing industry. It notes that 56% of technical professionals surveyed spend less than one hour per week on social media for work. Most industrials spend less than one-fourth of that time to use social media as part of their job. But the report starts to become interesting when it goes beyond observing the presence of industrials on social media and starts recording how industrials use social media.
One statistic is particularly eye-grabbing: 78% of technical professionals never post news or information about the company they work for on any of the social networks. What it suggests is they use social media to network amongst professional peers, share information, or engage in research rather than promote the companies they work for.
Clearly, the application of social media for manufacturing companies should be in accordance with the behavior of most potential buyers. Here are the proven ways by which manufacturers can establish a substantial presence on the major social networks to engage customers as they network, share, and research.
It’s important to note that social media is not a de-facto sales tool. If customers aren’t seeking your product exclusively, sales content is not likely to engage your audience in conversation. That’s precisely why Twitter has noted that the top reason people come to Twitter is to “discover something new and interesting. The learning curve here is that social media content should be engaging.
The truth is, people are in constant search of unique information – making distribution of content that goes beyond sales pitch an absolute necessity. People will gravitate to you more if your content talks about your vision for the manufacturing process, the future trends, challenges that harm most of the manufacturers. This is the first step towards creating thought leadership. It’s then hardly a surprise that 69% are developing loyal fans for their brands via social media marketing.
One best example of how to use social media for manufacturing companies in developing thought leadership is The Rodon Group. Like many other posts of the brand, the following post talks about new, educational eBook that helps prospective customers manage costs and establish realistic budgets. It’s a simple yet effective way of becoming a resource of information and thereby a better thought leader.
Though traditional networking events like tradeshow are still effective, they are time and money consuming. To top it all, they are incredibly hard to scale. On the other hand, social media came into existence with a purpose to let people connect with other like-minded people – both inside and outside of the industry. With a large swathe of social media dwellers, use of social media for manufacturers can augment business relationships by educating prospects and nurturing the existing ones. Also, you can make connections with contacts who would be difficult to reach offline.
The best way to enhance your networking is to leverage the existing networking groups. In case you are willing to connect with more engineers, you might consider following the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) on Twitter. With more than 49,000 followers and regular conversations on shared issues, you can give a boost to your network.
Along with your website, social media is an ideal platform to demonstrate your capabilities. Considering the power of visuals in communicating more effectively, visual content can promote your business and what you manufacture with an added layer of engagement. Note that people only remember about 10% of the information they hear three days later. When the same information gets combined with a relevant image, however, their memory jumps to 65% of the material. Clearly, using appealing product images while implementing social media for manufacturing companies is the best method to highlight your capabilities and demonstrate your value to customers.
If search engines can’t find you, then you don’t exist for your potential customers. That’s where increasing your website’s discoverability achieves incredible importance. Social media posts can become your silver bullet here, as both Moz and Searchmetrics give Facebook and Google+ significant weight in their annual search engine data correlation studies.
Though your social media posts shouldn’t be overt plugs for your products or services, well-executed and strategically distributed promotional posts can drive significant website traffic. Shareaholic.com has found that 23.39% of website referral traffic comes from Facebook. It’s an evidence to the claim that if you give readers a compelling reason to visit your social media profiles, there’s a good chance they will click through.
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