Social Media for Manufacturers Is No Longer Optional

The received wisdom that social media doesn't matter so much for manufacturers isn't so wise anymore.

Social media for manufacturers presents quite the dilemma. Many manufacturers are resource constrained and are not likely to close a big industrial deal through social channels, and being active on social media is a commitment that requires time that could be directed elsewhere. But having a consistent social media presence can be an important piece of your marketing program since it can be used to build awareness and reach key personas at various stages of the industrial buying cycle.

If you have any doubt about whether social media for manufacturers is a necessity at this point, ponder these statistics:

  • 60% of U.S. social media users think it is easier to get customer service through social media. How helpful and responsive are you on your social media?
  • LinkedIn’s content impressions rate for employment ads is 15 times higher than online job postings. 
  • According to the Content Marketing Institute, 79% of manufacturing marketers use some version of paid social media promotion, making it the top paid channel for manufacturers.
  • 69% of people in manufacturing follow social media channels that are focused on their fields.

Let’s take a quick, high-level look at why social media for manufacturers is an important part of today’s industrial marketing mix.

There Are Lots of Opportunities with Social Media for Manufacturers

Social media presents opportunities to build awareness about your products and services, share your company culture, promote employment opportunities, engage in networking and more.

LinkedIn undoubtedly holds the most opportunities because its audience is business people in a business mindset, but others may have a niche worthy of your consideration. For example, on LinkedIn you could produce posts for each phase of the buying cycle: awareness, education, consideration and purchase. 

Or, consider the unlike candidate, Pinterest. Pinterest attracts creators and visual thinkers. It is popular with personas that do lots of planning — i.e., deliberately thinking through how they will go about a home project or how they will make things and complete a process. The mindset many Pinterest users possess has a lot more in common with manufacturing than you might think.

Likewise, Instagram stories have an insanely high engagement rate. Meanwhile, visuals are growing in importance for manufacturer marketing. For instance, you might be surprised by how many key people might look at CAD files or visuals that show how to arrive at a solution. This growing appetite could make Instagram an important social media platform for engaging manufacturing prospects.

Develop a Social Strategy Rooted in Goals

What kinds of “success” should on be looking for when it comes to social media for manufacturers? To begin, have clear goals, such as growing engagement by X percent or getting more people to your website or landing page.

Be careful about vanity metrics. It’s only valuable to have a lot of social followers if they are also taking more meaningful steps to engage with your company (e.g., consuming key website content) or helping to bring other prospects into your marketing ecosystem.

Find Your Voice for Each Social Channel

Authenticity is the key to social media, and it means different things on different platforms. Social is a place you can step outside of the comfort zone you’ve established on your website. You will definitely want to have a more personable approach, perhaps being funny or edgy with pop culture references. 

Obviously, the tone for your social copy on LinkedIn should be more businesslike than if you are on Instagram or TikTok. But a serious tone on some platforms stands out, in a bad way, as much as a flippant tone might on your website.

For that reason, finding the right tone might require consulting with some of your team members. Do not underestimate how savvy some of the digital natives on your team are when it comes to social media. You might be surprised at how they can help you shape your strategy and determine best practices.

Your Competitors Are On Social. You Should Be, too.

The social media world is vast, and we could spend days discussing strategies, tactics, tools and best practices when it comes to social media for manufacturers. “Paralysis by analysis” comes to mind.

Social media’s influence on industrial marketing and our broader culture, though, is undeniable. In recognition of this, even manufacturers — historically slow to adopt new marketing technologies — are finding that it is necessary to have a social media presence of some sort.

Just as TV played a big role in branding for many years, and billboard companies use a frequency in messaging model, think of social media as a vehicle for registering regular touch points with your best customers and fostering awareness for your prospects. It’s here to stay, your competitors are using it, and you should, too.

Listen to the Podcast for More on Social Media for Manufacturers

For more insights into how social media is affecting manufacturer marketing, tune into Episode 13 of the Industrial Marketer podcast.

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