For some manufacturers, social media ends up as the outcast of their advertising efforts.
Unsurprisingly, this social media shortchange is often the result of a cascade of sweeping generalizations about who’s on social media and what they’re doing there. Perhaps imagining the entire social media landscape as a digital wasteland of internet addicted millennials swapping cat videos, or engaging in all caps political arguments, many manufacturers might be tempted to think it pointless to use the venue to go after their narrow target market.
Yes, manufacturers: Your customers are on social media, too.
While it may be alluring to go down the rabbit hole of customer profiling and assume that the mechanically-minded manufacturing sector wouldn’t spend time on social media, this just isn’t the case.
Regardless of one’s age or occupation, the ability to use social media properties like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to connect with their network and build a content network that suits your tastes is something that just about everyone can get behind.
And the data is there the prove it:
- Nearly 70% of U.S adults are social media users
- 80% of US social media users are between 30 and 49 years old
- 45% of US adult internet users with an income higher than $75,000 are on Linkedin
With these facts in mind, we can begin to dissemble the mental blocks that make many manufacturers skeptical of putting too much effort into social media.
“OK, we’re on social media. Now what do we do?”
Once manufacturers get over the initial hump of convincing their decision makers that social media isn’t just a fad, the next question tends to be “now what?”
The quick and simple answer is: content.
Although you may worry that a Twitter account or LinkedIn page for a manufacturer may not have the thrilling curb appeal that will keep your viewers lighting up the Like button, this couldn’t be further from the truth. For the users who are interested in manufacturing related topics, you have the opportunity to be the daily highlight of their news feeds. While there’s a lot of tricks and prescriptions for a content strategy that gains traction, the real keys for success are frequent posting, keyword focus, and an eye toward creation of content that prospects would be interested in engaging with.
For a real life example of a manufacturer gone viral, look no further than General Electric’s “What’s the Matter with Owen?” ad, where quirky humor and a simple concept combined to make a cute commercial that could appeal to engineering industry professionals and laymen alike.
Find your target market and speak directly to them.
The task of getting in front of a highly targeted customer base has long been the challenge of manufacturers. While traditional marketing practices like billboards or radio spots may work great for consumable goods and services, they’re not as effective for the industry-specific products that many manufacturers produce.
But with social media, manufacturers can build organic and paid social campaigns around content that are targeted directly to the audience profile your own internal sales data has already allowed you to construct.
For example, if your company produces sheet metal that is typically purchased by a 30-something male who works as a purchaser for an appliance manufacturer, you can tailor a social campaign around that age range and profession. Moreover, you can further narrow that field by focusing on the cities and towns where the biggest manufacturing plants are located, on the days of the week that they are more active online, even using the interests and hobbies that individuals in your industry happen to share.
Contrary to the stereotypes and preconceived notions that have led so many manufacturers astray when it comes to the digital space, social media is an invaluable asset that is disrupting the manufacturing space for the better.