Social media can be an inexpensive, but effective, way to market products and brands. But does it work for manufacturers, especially those that don’t sell directly to the public?
Some trendsetting manufacturers have successfully integrated social media into their marketing campaigns to drive traffic to their websites, build brand loyalty and attract new talent. Here’s how.
The first questions to ask before jumping on the social media bandwagon are:
What differentiates your company?
What will customers and prospective employees react to?
What do you hope to accomplish?
The answers will guide your company’s social media strategy. Posts should focus on what makes your company special, be relevant on a personal level and encourage people to act in a way that accomplishes your goals.
For example, a small consumer products manufacturer uses social media to boast about its “Made-in-America” competitive edge. It creates compelling posts about making quality products that are “safe for families to use.” So far, the manufacturer has more than 10,000 Facebook friends, including many employees who were recently hired. Its posts also include hyperlinks that drive traffic to the company’s website.
Another manufacturer wants to position itself as a leader in technology. It uses videos and Twitter-casts to demonstrate its latest product innovations, research efforts and equipment upgrades. It encourages customers to chat with service reps through links on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Examples of other issues that manufacturers promote through social media include green manufacturing practices, involvement in Project Lead the Way programs, safe and flexible work environments, and employee participation in charitable events.
Keep it simple
Creating social media content isn’t that hard to do. Most business-to-business social media posts consist of just a picture and a couple of sentences — possibly less if your company connects directly with consumers. A clever infographic or a short video may take more time to create than text, but it can be very effective at grabbing people’s attention.
There’s no rule for how often companies should post new content. But anyone who’s active on social media knows that there’s a limit to how many times you can post without becoming a nuisance. You want customers to remember your company, but sometimes, less is more.
Social media requires ongoing attention. In addition to creating new posts, you’ll need to continuously watch for inappropriate comments and block social media “trolls” looking to cause mischief. You can also contact your financial advisors about how to measure click-through rates and evaluate the return on investment from your social media activities, so you can adjust your strategy as needed.