Social Media Marketing for Manufacturers
You’ve heard the buzz. You know you should have some kind of social media presence, but you don’t know exactly what to do with it.
Manufacturers have different priorities than most B2C companies, which usually take advantage of social networking platforms to build consumer excitement over new products and earn customer loyalty through brand familiarity. But manufacturers still have the same underlying goal: facilitating brand loyalty and generating more potential leads.
It can’t be done by simply setting up a Facebook account and hoping people find you, but it can be done by playing to the strengths of the three big social platforms:
· Facebook is going to be your customer relationship manager, earning the recurring business of new customers and make your existing customers happier with information, offers, and engagement.
· Twitter is going to be your audience builder, attracting new people to find and enjoy your brand on a large scale.
· LinkedIn is going to be your authority builder, staging your company as a major player in the industry and earning the trust of important decision makers.
If your strategy favors one of these elements more than the others, spend more effort on the corresponding platform for it. Of course, there are dozens of other platforms, such as Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr, but as a manufacturer your ROI probably won’t be high enough to warrant pursuing a presence on each channel.
All three of your core social platforms are going to be fundamentally driven by your content. If you already have a content marketing strategy in place, you’re ahead of the game. If not, you need to find an alternative way to create reliable, informative, interesting content for your users. Syndicate posts regularly at varied times, usually Monday through Friday during business hours or just outside them. You’ll want to post at least 2-3 times per day on Facebook and LinkedIn, and at least 4-5 times a day on Twitter.
On Facebook, use free offers and giveaways to attract attention and engage your current followers. The paid advertising is relatively inexpensive, and can be a great way to build a foundation of likes. Encourage your users to engage with your brand as a means of receiving some kind of reward, such as offering an entry in a giveaway in exchange for sharing a link to a piece of your content. Over time, your followers will become more loyal to your brand and if you make a wise offer, like a discount on a subsequent purchase, it will generate new leads as well.
On Twitter, find some competitors and some industry-focused accounts. Use those as tools to model your own strategy. Reach out to people who are already fans of these enterprises by following them, favoriting their Tweets, and retweeting them. Find influencers, people with hundreds of thousands of followers, and share their content to start building a relationship. Eventually, have them share some of your content. Twitter is your best chance to build a large network of relationships, which is essential if you eventually want a sizable following.
On LinkedIn, use a personal account tied to a company account to do most of the heavy lifting. On LinkedIn, people want to connect with people, not with businesses. Join groups that are relevant to your industry, and share content with them regularly. Connect with new people when appropriate, and don’t ever forcibly sell your company’s products.
On all platforms, make sure you syndicate your content regularly and engage with every user you can. Anytime you receive a new follower or a comment, reach out to that person and acknowledge them. Showing interest in your fans is going to make them more comfortable and loyal to your brand and will also set the stage for attracting new followers. Also, avoid any salesy language—social media isn’t the place for hard selling, it’s a place to build relationships. The rest will come in time.
No matter how you look at it or what platforms you take advantage of, the success of your social campaign comes down to these factors:
1. A consistent brand presence
2. Reliable, interesting content
3. Occasional valuable offers
4. Engagement and appreciation
Your social following won’t grow overnight, but after a few months of consistent work, your audience will begin to grow in numbers and in loyalty. Plus, syndicating and sharing links that point back to your main website is going to be extremely beneficial for your domain authority, and thus your SEO campaign. This makes social media useful not only as a lead generator and a brand communication platform, but also a synergistic strategy to support your other marketing channels.