Since the advent of social media, companies in the manufacturing industry have lagged behind companies in other industries in their utilization of social media. Fortunately, manufacturing companies are finally recognizing that social media can be a potent tool in their marketing arsenal. Social media has the power to engage existing customers, attract new prospects, educate customers, and strengthen relationships with key contacts, industry influencers and alliances. Following are ten things that manufacturing companies can do best on social media.
#1 Introduce Exciting New Products
Product launches are critical to a manufacturing company’s success. Social media sites provide the perfect means through which a manufacturing company can gradually build interest about a new product until it is finally unveiled. By the time a new product is launched, the manufacturer already has interested prospects waiting to learn more about the new product.
#2 Announce Participation in Upcoming Manufacturing Trade Shows
Social Media can help you keep track of upcoming industry events. Industry trade shows are ideal events to connect with vendors, referral sources, and prospective buyers. Additionally, manufacturers have the opportunity to showcase new products and conduct live product demonstrations. Your social media platforms are a great place to announce your attendance and share pictures from the event. Be sure to include the following details when promoting your participation in an industry trade show:
- The dates and location of the trade show
- A link to where interested attendees can purchase tickets to the trade show
- Photos taken of you and your staff exhibiting at last year’s expo
- The number of manufacturers exhibiting at the expo
- Any special trade show pricing or giveaways that you plan to offer to attendees who visit your booth
#3 Build Relationships with Vendors and Customers
Social media is one of the most affordable, efficient means of expanding your database of industry contacts. Make a point of both engaging with and sharing content from the social media accounts of your strategic alliances and complementary providers. “Like” their Facebook Pages and organize industry influencers and alliances into Twitter Lists for easy reference. It takes time and consistency to nurture the relationships and reputation you build online, so be sure to invest time each week to be active on your company’s social media platforms and respond to any visitor questions and comments.
#4 Educate Customers About the Latest News in the Manufacturing Industry
Using your social media platforms to inform your customers about the latest industry news is one of the best ways to build loyalty among customers and position yourself as an industry leader. When you post industry news for your customers, you can optimize your impact by following these guidelines:
- Make sure you post news that is useful and relevant to your followers
- Feature news that is current
- Include news pertaining to critical changes in compliance laws or manufacturing regulations
#5 Generate Excitement About Upcoming Product Updates and Improvements
One of the best ways to ensure that your latest product updates are well received is to begin building anticipation about them long before an enhanced product is unveiled. Make your next product revision a success by letting your customers and followers know that you have listened to their feedback and are releasing a “new and improved” version of a key product based on their input.
#6 Launch Customer Contests and Promotions
Social media plays an instrumental role in fostering customer engagement and breathing energy into lifeless products. Here are a few ways that manufacturers can use social media to stimulate interest in their products:
- Offer giveaways to the first 10 customers who share feedback about a product
- Highlight special promotions and product discounts
- Invite your customers to participate in a product-naming contests
- Encourage customers to share their success stories via comments, photos and videos
#7 Showcase Customer Success Stories
One of the best ways to attract new customers is to feature stories about customers who have improved their efficiency and revenue with the help of your product. By using social media to showcase these stories, manufacturers can build customers’ trust and interest in their products.
#8 Keep Tabs on Your Competitors
Before social media, keeping track of your competitors’ activity required covert tactics and a lot of guesswork. With social media, you can monitor what your competitors are doing online, how they’re positioning their products and services, and what kind of responses they’re getting from their target audience. Using this information, you can differentiate yourself by listening intently to what prospective customers are saying they want from products and services like yours, and tailor your offerings accordingly. Try using keyword and hashtag searches to monitor topics and conversations related to your competitors, industry and even your brand.
#9 Establish Your Brand Persona
We mentioned how you can keep track of your competitors’ activity and how they position their offerings, what they’re saying and how they’re saying it. Now it’s your turn. This is where you can make doing business with you really stand out. If your brand was a person, how would he or she speak? What would his/her personality be like? Once you’ve identified these features, use your social media platforms to showcase your brand’s personality, approachability and values. Establish a conversational tone and style and don’t deviate from it. This is where your marketing team can greatly help you by creating a brand guidelines manual for you, so regardless of who you put in charge of posting on social media on your behalf, they’ll do so reflecting your brand’s personality consistently, which builds trust with your audience. Social media establishes a conversational tone and human-like approachability that makes your brand feel likeable, local, and relatable.
#10 Reinforce Your Other Marketing Tactics
Social media is not designed to replace other marketing tactics. Where it really shines is as a reinforcement––or booster––to other foundational marketing tactics such as online advertising, email marketing, remarketing, sales calls, events, billboard, print, and electronic media etc… Ideally, your social media activity should be a continuation of everything else you are doing and support your other campaigns. Just don’t overdo it when it comes to posting promotional content! The majority of your social media content should be casual, non-promotional content and cross-posted content from other industry contacts etc. Your marketing team can establish a content calendar complete with topic suggestions and posting guidelines for you.
How Small Manufacturing Companies Can Optimize Their Social Media Presence
Clearly, there is a plethora of ways that manufacturing companies can use social media to promote their brand and products. The best way to ensure that you are taking full advantage of your social media platforms is to seek the guidance of a leader in the full-service marketing industry. McAllister Marketing is a full-service agency specializing in marketing tactics that attract, convert and retain customers. Contact us to find out how we can help you use social media to optimize your overall marketing strategy and attract more customers. We look forward to hearing from you!