Is it too late to sign your manufacturing firm up to social media?

June 6, 2016

With the British manufacturing industry showing some signs of a recovery, is now a good time to go big on social media?

The CBI’s survey of nearly 500 manufacturers found output picked up in the three months to May, largely thanks to the food and drink sector.

Any momentum is well received, but many argue that if it’s to last, manufacturers will have to capitalise on the new opportunities brought about by digital – including social media.

For one reason or another, manufacturers have been slow to adopt social media marketing, but heads are finally being turned to the platform. The question is, is it too late – has the horse already bolted?

Absolutely not, but you’ve got to go about it the right way if it’s to prove a successful endeavour.

1. Take inspiration from the B2C world

The worlds of B2B and B2C marketing are not as different as you might think. At the end of the day, your clients are B2C customers as well. So, in the name of engaging your customers on social media, don’t be afraid to look at what B2C companies are doing on the platform. Ask yourself how the B2C approach can be adapted to the B2B world.

2. Head to the forums

How well do you know your audience? We’re not just talking their age, location and education – although that can be helpful to know – but their personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles. Psychographics is the study of all these characteristics and the information can be found by spending time on industry forums, or by searching keywords on social media networks. Your social media posts will be so much better for knowing what makes your audience tick.

3. Speak like a human

When you first meet a client, you tend to keep things fairly professional. It makes sense, of course, because you don’t really know them yet, so it would be inappropriate to act like you do. On social media, however, it’s completely different. You have to adopt a more personal – yet still professional – tone, which, by and large, means dropping the business talk. If not, your followers will simply glaze over your posts.

4. Focus on a single channel

This is where many firms go wrong and lose faith in social media – signing up to more channels than they can cope with. As a manufacturing firm, you’re best off forgetting about the likes of Instagram. There’s even an argument that Facebook is a bit too B2C friendly. LinkedIn is where it’s at for B2B businesses, so give that all your time at the outset; moving over to Twitter only once you’ve enjoyed some success that time allows.

Here’s a stat to end on: 80% of all B2B social media leads come from LinkedIn. Need we say more?

Dan Vivian - Business Development & Marketing Director