Social Media Strategies for the Manufacturing Industry
Social media and the manufacturing industry are strange bedfellows. When we think about manufacturing, we automatically think of dirty, noisy factories producing components or products which benefit our lives either directly or indirectly, but we are immune to their value or process of production, whereas, social media is the glitzy, glamorous lifestyle sharing platform, which we see and hear about everyday, yet it is usually only inhabited by the younger generation.
That is changing and it is changing very quickly. Social media is defined by Ivestopedia as "a computer-based technology that facilitates the sharing of ideas, thoughts, and information through the building of virtual networks and communities". Think about what a network, in terms of business, is, and you will begin to see the value in using social media for manufacturing.
Think about the social media platforms of today as the shop window of yesteryear. Years ago, you would have had to have had a place to show off your brand. You needed a shop in order to display your products and a place where people could get to see you, your employees, your brand and from this they could understand the benefits of your product or service on their lives.
Today, we can use your website to replace the brick-and-mortar store and social media as your shop window and sales staff. I always come back to this point, especially for my new clients, social media is your shop window for the 21st Century. There is no need to be on the high street to sell your wares, and therefore there is no real need for a bricks and mortar store these days.
There are some other factors at work today which can take you away from the storefront and move you into the "meta-verse". Generation Z, the children born to Generation X-ers, born mid- to late- 1990s and before 2010. This is the generation that was born into the digital age. They are "digital natives", and are more comfortable on their phones or tablets than previous generations. As they mature and enter into the workforce, they will have a consumer voice and this voice will be heard through social media platforms more so than the millennials.
Before they come onboard, it must be noted that, 74% of people research products online, and there are 2.14 billion people, worldwide, who purchase goods online. That means that 63% of all shopping occasions begin online, and nearly half of all consumers shop more online than in-store. If you are not online, your shop will soon close, hence moving your marketing strategy onto social media allows you to achieve, what I call, the four core principles of social media marketing - education, engagement, extolling and empowerment.
Your goal, is to EDUCATE the audience in the benefits of the product or service you are offering. It is not about selling a product, it is about showing how your product, services and brand can add value to the lives of the audience.
If there is a value to the person, price becomes secondary to the choice of product.
Educate. Show the customer or prospect how to use your product or service and how that product or service in turn will create value in their lives.
After being consistent in your posting and offering some education to the audience on the value and benefits of your brand, you will start to ENGAGE with the audience. They will start to ask questions about the brand, and they will give you feedback.
FEEDBACK is extremely important to you and your brand. The consumer will see first hand how good your brand is, or where your brand is lacking, and they will let you know in no uncertain terms where and how it is lacking. The flip side is if they like it and are pleased with the brand, they will begin to sing its praises.
Listen to the feedback and engage in a constructive, professional manner. Serve your audience.
You have been educating and engaging with your audience and they will start to sing your praises. They will start to EXTOL your brand. The audience will then become your greatest asset and your most vocal sales person.
The fruits of your labour are in the customer telling their friends and shouting out to their followers how great your brand is. As they extol you, you in turn through your engagement, will extol your brand and your audience for the choices they have made.
Do not forget to keep educating and engaging, because the customer can be a fickle beast.
EMPOWERMENT comes from the extolling and it is a reciprocal relationship. The consumer is empowered because you have listened and engaged with them, your brand is empowered because the consumer is extolling your product or service.
The relationship is a delicate affair, one mis-step can cause either party to lose heart, but, DO NOT let the consumer push you into making concessions on price, quality or your brand ethos, or your mission. This is the backbone of your brand and one or two lost sales in the short term are better to ingest than a lost, tarnished reputation.
Build Your Reputation
By using the four principles of social media, you can begin to understand how social media can provide you with a forum to reach a vast audience around the globe and through education on your brand, engagement with the audience about the brand, extolling the brand and empowering the audience your audience becomes the customers who in turn become brand advocates.
Here are six strategies that can help you use social media more effectively.
Use SEO to Improve Your Business
Use Social Media Platforms That Match Your Brand
Know Your Target Audience
Your audience on social media, are the people who will look at your brand, follow your brand and will then make a purchase. To identify who your audience is, you need to ask yourself 3 questions:
Why do you want to use social media? Here you want to have a reason for your social media presence, which could be for a product promotion, a new product or service, highlight your product or production process or showcase the benefits of your product to your audience.
Who do you want to see your post? Maybe you are wanting to introduce your company to a whole new audience, showcase a product or for educating new clients, whatever the reason, this question will help you identify who.
Finally, you need to ask yourself what you want show on your platform. Again, there is overlap in the reasons, such as a new product, company introduction or to educate. Whatever your motivation, you can formulate what you want to show on the your platform.
Use SEO to Improve Your Business
SEO is "search engine optimisation", and this acts as a sign post on the internet to help you be found. Every item of content which you pity online should be designed to guide your audience directly to your door. Think of SEO as the turn-by-turn guide on your navigation in your car. It will direct the audience to you.
By monitoring the online trends, the hashtag popularity and analysing your audience demographics data, you can boost your online engagement.
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Use Social Media Platforms That Match Your Brand
One thing you must remember is that each platform caters for a specific demographic and relates to certain media better than other forms, but of course there is a cross-over in both media type and demographics, but you should keep that in mind.
Looking at the big five - YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, there are certain things to remember when trying to match your brand, with your customer and a social media platform.
YouTube is home to 73% of the adult population in the US, with the greatest share belonging to the teens to thirty-somethings.
Facebook is the daddy of all the Social Media, with nearly 2.5 billion users. In the US, 68% say they use Facebook regularly, with 51% using it multiple times a day.
Twitter has an active user base of over 300 million people with more than 40% using Twitter multiple times. If the person is on it, then they are most likely engaging regularly.
63% of users are aged between 35 & 65 years of age with males making up two-thirds of the users.
LinkedIn is the largest site for professionals, with an active user base of 750+ million users, making it one of the largest networking and collaboration tool available to you.
Instagram is home to everyone and their dog. If they are a blogger, an influencer, an artist, a celebrity, a brand, a small business owner or a friend, they are most probably on Instagram. With well over 1 billion monthly users, it is of no wonder why everyone and their dog wants to be on. They have a vast audience potential.
Ideal post type
Short video, creative designs
Short stories, human interest, photos
Video - long & short
How-to, tutorials, factory tour
Short text, video, photo
Industry news, company news, community stories
Text posts, video, photo
Industry specific posts, video, infomercials
Video, photo, creative designs
Personal stories, brand stories, tips & tricks
Don't Just Post and Forget
Once you have created your content and posted it to the platform, do not forget about it. You need to review and engage with any commenters, any likes you have and any new followers. By engaging on your platform, your feed the algorithm and raise the awareness of who you are and your SEO improves. Those sign posts highlight the path to your profile.
Now you have ideas to start posting your content on your chosen platforms, you must remember one thing; CONSISTENCY is key. A basic tenet of sales is the more doors I knock on, the more conversions I will get. That same idea applies, only now you need to be posting regularly, your followers will look forward to your next post and you van generate some excitement around your brand.
Plan and Schedule Your Posts
In order to have some consistency, whatever platform you are on, you need to post regularly and of a good quality. Time for you is a precious commodity, so planning of your post is paramount.
Take time once a month to plan what you will post and to create your content, as well as reviewing your analytics.
Also, once a week check your analytics and daily engage with your audience.
Check out these blogs, "A Day in the Life of a Social Media Marketer", "A Week in the Life of a Social Media Marketer", and "A Month in the Life of a Social Media Marketer".
Download the daily, weekly and monthly checklists here.
Update Your Website Regularly
Your website should be audited regularly to ensure it is working well, all links are connecting and all pictures load quickly. Poor loading times will push your audience away, as will tired and outdated material.
It is important that all your posts, platforms and digital media have a consistent look and feel. Don't forget that the digital content represents the goods on the shelves and the platforms are your showrooms.
Keep everything updated, vibrant and uniform.
Using social media for your manufacturing company is a great way to educate your audience. There are many ways to utilise the various platforms to optimise your presence, whether that is through a blog on your website, content showing your brand, or Q&As with your customers and your employees.
One great way is to use video for your social media presence. You can read the blog "How Manufacturers Can Use Video in Their Digital Marketing Strategy", for some ideas and best practices on using video.
Take your time to explore the best platforms for you and your brand and design your profile and presence around your company vision. If you need any advice about anything you have read in this blog, contact us and we will be happy to talk over a solution for you.
Who We Are
Accent on Training have been helping companies improve their social media presence and engagement through bespoke marketing strategies. We are a provider of bespoke solutions for social media marketing, branding, logo design and website design and optimization.
Accent on Training can help you build a strong digital foundation for your business. We'll assist you in strengthening your marketing with unique branding and bespoke digital solutions.
Give us a call to see how Accent on Training can help you optimise and maximise your online presence.
About the author
Jonathan Moore is the founder of Accent on Training, a Social Media Management, Brand and Website design agency based in Seoul, South Korea. For nearly ten years, he has helped clients in developing their businesses online through branding, website design and bespoke social media marketing solutions.
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