A common misconception is that social media marketing is best suited for consumer businesses, but business-to-business (B2B) companies can also benefit from social media in their marketing plans. Yet B2B businesses, especially manufacturers, are often slow to accept and integrate new trends like social media marketing.
According to research from the Content Marketing Institute, 83% of B2B marketers use social media, but only 40% consider their social media content critical to the success of their overall content marketing strategy. This indicates that although B2B companies may dabble on social channels, they lack the confidence or planning for their social media marketing to be effective.
Here are five ways manufacturing companies can use social media marketing:
Leverage LinkedIn for lead generation
According to the study, 80% cited lead generation as an organizational goal of their content marketing strategy. And 71% used LinkedIn as a channel to distribute company content, second only to email. LinkedIn is undoubtedly the best social network for creating business connections. Create a business profile with a LinkedIn company page. Join and participate in groups related to your industry. Being active in online discussions defines your area of expertise, develops a leadership position in your industry, increases your brand’s visibility, and helps make meaningful connections with other professionals in your industry who could someday become your customers.
Build your brand on Facebook
Facebook is more casual than LinkedIn and principally favors a more consumer-oriented relationship. Nonetheless, manufacturers can still create meaningful connections on Facebook. Create a company profile on Facebook with an aim of gaining “likes” to grow your fan base. Share positive messages that solidify your brand. Product photos, infographics, and videos make excellent Facebook posts.
Train your customers with video on YouTube
YouTube gets over one billion unique visits every month and enables manufacturing companies to tell the story behind their brand and provide educational industry content in a video format. Video production can be a Hollywood production, but simple video productions can often be just as effective for telling your stories. Topics for your videos can include instructional how-to videos, product demos, and even trainings for customers and employees.
Gain customer feedback during product development
Social networks work best as two-way conversations, because they will not only allow you to push out your company’s content, but to also gain from your customers’ feedback. Follow your customers’ social channels and follow back the people who follow you. You can also use social listening tools to monitor your social media networks for the general sentiments that customers have about your company.
Curate and share social media content
Jay Baer, marketing strategist and New York Times bestselling author, says, “content is fire, and social media its fuel.” In today’s digital world, informative content is what builds and maintains an audience. Of course, you should promote your content on your own company social channels by posting an excerpt with an image and a link to your web page. The added advantage that social media brings is that other people can curate and share your posts on their social channels, which extends them to their circle of followers. Do the same by curating content from other experts in your industry to share on your social networks. Curating content on social media sends the signal that your business is most concerned about your followers’ best interests and builds trust with your audience.
Businesses stand to gain from increased brand exposure, increased traffic to their company websites, and better understanding of their markets. Using these tips, manufacturing marketers can utilize social media marketing for all of these benefits.