Today's Facebook "Like" Could Be Tomorrow's Customer. At this point, pretty much every business has some sort of social media presence.
The question is: Does your manufacturing company use social media the right way?
Here are a few steps companies can take to use platforms like Facebook and Twitter to do manufacturing marketing, along with a guide for using social media to prepare for -- and promote yourself during -- a trade show.
1. It's Social Media, So Be Sociable
Your Twitter feed and Facebook page should read more like a conversation than a broadcast. Reply to questions whenever possible and retweet and favorite praise. On Twitter, follow your customers back. On Facebook, become a fan of other local businesses.
Twitter and Facebook are a great way to share what your company is doing and to gain feedback from your customers. Don't just make your page about yourself. Share articles about trends in your industry, or interesting local news stories. Remind your customers to set their clocks back in the fall, and wish them a happy Thanksgiving.
But also use this space to share whatever content you've created elsewhere, whether it's a blog post that appears on your website, or a welcome video. Social media gives your company a chance to do some inbound marketing.
And it's OK to have a sense of humor. To see how a manufacturing company can do Twitter well, look to @ToyotaEquipment, which ends up on a lot of lists for its mix of funny and informative tweets.
2. You May Be On LinkedIn, But Is Your Business?
A study last year by Brightcove on B2B marketing found that LinkedIn was the most effective social networking tool. You may be using it to make connections, but make sure your business is as well.
You can use LinkedIn to reach out to your clients, as well as experts in your industry. Joining LinkedIn groups can help educate you on trends in your industry.
3. Get On YouTube
The second most effective social media tool in that study? YouTube, which gives you a potential audience in the billions. So use it to do some manufacturing marketing. Set up a YouTube channel and tell the story behind your product, or educate your customers on how to use it.
With these steps in mind, let's imagine you're getting ready for a trade show. How can you use social media to make the best use of your time there? Here are a few steps to follow.
- Post early and often. Start about two months in advance to build excitement for the show on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or any of the other platforms. You can post product videos and blog posts, or talk about places to visit or where to eat in the city where the show will be held.
- Ask your followers what they want to see. It gives you a chance to learn what they're interested in, and gives them an incentive to visit your booth at the show to see your new products in action.
- Once the show arrives, post Twitter updates throughout the day. Twitter is a bit more immediate than Facebook, and a great way to drive traffic to your booth, perhaps with limited-time offers. Use Facebook to tag people you meet, in order to boost engagement during and after the show.
- After the show, stay in touch with people you've met. Invite them to become guest bloggers. Post videos from the event, and ask your followers what they'd like to see next year.
To learn more about manufacturing marketing, take IQnection's free online webinar, which discusses attracting new customers, and ways to get customers to promote your company. Social media doesn't have to feel like a second job, and it's one that can greatly reward your first.