Many of the manufacturing business owners I’ve spoken to have admitted that they find social media marketing to be intimidating. It’s an understandable stance to take since the scope and depth of social media marketing seems almost infinitely vast. But, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming, and you can start small.
One of the great things about social media marketing for manufacturers is that it’s only as complex as you want it to be. The easiest way to better understand how it works is by taking some time to educate yourself on the fundamentals. If you’re reading this post, you’re already on the right track!
Below you’ll find everything you need to get started, including tips, tricks, stats, and further direction for those in the manufacturing industry that are interested in developing their social media presence.
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Which social networks are the most relevant to the manufacturing industry?
There are hundreds of different social media platforms out there. Promoting your manufacturing company successfully doesn’t mean having a presence on each and every one of them. It means knowing which ones are most likely to bring you qualified leads and potential sales.
Years of experience and analysis have shown me that these are the most important networks to focus on for manufacturing:
- LinkedIn. LinkedIn is business-focused. It’s your best opportunity to connect with C-level (as in “CEO,” “COO,” and so on) business leaders and their sales departments. Engineers aren’t as active on this network, but there is still value in connecting with other members of their companies.
- YouTube. Manufacturing always involves complex processes — all those individual bits and pieces and parts. YouTube, as a video sharing platform, gives manufacturers an opportunity to make the complexities of their processes more accessible.
- Facebook. Facebook is one of the most widely used social networks in the world. It’s common, accessible, and a good place to start for any social plan.
- Instagram and Pinterest. Both Instagram and Pinterest are good for companies that focus on product creation and other visually-based businesses.
How do I promote my manufacturing business on social media?
85 percent of manufacturers are using social media as a part of their content marketing plan. That’s because, as a marketing tool, it’s relatively easy to adapt and succeed with, as long as you follow a few key tips:
- Listen to what they’re saying. Before you post yourself, you want to see what your target audience is already posting and interacting with. This will give you a good baseline of things to plan on posting in the future.
- Don’t just create original content. Share things, too. Creation of original content is important, but you won’t be able to post new things every moment of every day. When you’re not posting original content, you can focus on sharing existing content that would be useful for your target audiences.
- Connect with influencers. In manufacturing, businesses can easily appear faceless. That’s why representation from and by industry influencers can assist you in standing out among competitors.
- Always pay attention to the latest tools and trends. There is new information becoming available each and every day. New online marketing tools, new techniques, new ways to interact and reach out with potential customers. Don’t stop learning just because you’ve read a blog post or two. Promoting your manufacturing business on social media will be a dynamic, ever-growing process.
How do I find customers for my manufacturing business on social media?
Finding customers is more of an art than a step-by-step process. In my experience, you’ll find the most success when taking the following two steps:
- Determine the goals of your social media plan. Are you more interested in engagement or sales? Clicks or increased reach? Figure out what you want most for your business, first. Then you’ll be able to use that knowledge to choose which platforms to focus on when searching for your customers.
- Choose who your target audience is. Are you most interested in reaching out to engineers? C-level executives? Office workers? Maybe the on-the-job factory foreperson? Once you decide what you want to do and who you want to reach, you’ll be able to determine which social media platform to focus on.
What is the average return on investment (ROI) of social media advertising for manufacturing?
I won’t lie to you: Compared to other marketing efforts, it can be challenging to calculate the ROI of social media marketing. That’s because a single tweet or post can lead to a wide number of outcomes, some harder to follow than others. That said, with the things we are able to track and analyze, the news is good.
The way to track your social media ROI is to look at the impact of the following: audience reach, clicks, engagement, and conversion. Look at the time and dollars spent creating these campaigns and compare it to the return.
On average, with a properly-implemented plan like the ones listed above, businesses can see marked returns. This data will also give you the tools you need to increase your returns. For example, if marketing activities on LinkedIn are 50% more fruitful than activity on Facebook, you can shift your efforts to take advantage of it.
The ultimate guide to social media marketing for manufacturers — and more
If you’re interested in digging deeper into the world of manufacturing marketing, we recommend giving The Download: Making Sense of Online Marketing for Manufacturing a look. It’s Constant Contact’s free guide dedicated to helping manufacturing and industrial businesses promote themselves successfully in the digital age.