OK, confession time for a middle-aged (actually very distinguished) industrial marketing consultant. I have been an extremely reluctant convert to social media. I have been a late adopter. I have had serious doubts about its relevance. I have thought that social media and manufacturing would never be a good mix. I have been more than a little skeptical. Interestingly enough this is exactly what a substantial percentage of my industrial marketing consulting clients were also thinking.
But I was wrong about social media and manufacturing.
The fact is, social media is becoming increasingly critical to industrial marketing success. Perhaps more significantly, manufacturing companies that choose to ignore social media are going to be at a distinct disadvantage.
Most anyone in manufacturing is aware that their prospects are doing their early stage product and company research online. Now in the old days (less than five years ago), they were checking out your website. Now they want to see your: blog, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and, possibly even your Facebook.
How to get started in social media
The first thing you need to understand is ad hoc social media campaigns are not easy to manage and are ineffective. For this reason the best way to start down the social media road is to have some kind of plan.
Your plan must revolve around providing helpful content that helps your prospects improve the performance in their companies. Remember, offering content to prospects that that helps them make wise purchasing decisions is what they truly want from your company.
The second part of your plan is choosing your social media platforms and attempting to integrate them in a logical fashion. In the interests of keeping things brief simply consider the following.
First you need a blog
When I mention this to my industrial marketing consulting clients, particularly those in manufacturing, this is where they immediately opt out. The fact is that there is nothing better than blogging to consistently achieve higher organic search rankings in Google. Make blog posts on a weekly basis at a minimum and watch your website rise in the rankings.
Second you need to be on LinkedIn
Setting up a comprehensive company profile on LinkedIn is a must, as is setting up an individual profile. Join appropriate LinkedIn Groups, spend some time lurking, then participate in the discussions. Answer questions and freely offer your expertise.
Third you need to get going on Twitter
Can you come up with a 140 character tip on a daily basis? How about using Twitter to promote interesting links or to retweet interesting Tweets? It’s micro-blogging and is a great way to burnish your image and get the word out. Remember, your Tweets ought to be 90% educational and 10% promotional.
Fourth you need to post some YouTube videos
YouTube is an enormous search engine that is growing at a truly astronomical rate. Short “how to” videos work incredibly well to position your company in the marketplace. It’s even OK to inject a bit of humor from time to time. Wherever possible create videos with evergreen content (as opposed to topical content) so they have a longer shelf-life.