Over the past decade, social media has gone from a novel way to showcase yourself and your company to a business necessity for interaction with the public and customers - yes, manufacturing companies included…
Whether you love it or hate it, social media has infiltrated all corners of our social and business lives, and it isn’t going away any time soon. Regardless of if you are wholeheartedly joining the social media revolution or begrudgingly looking for some sort of digital footprint, Made in Group’s team of digital specialists have put together some tips to make your business thrive on social media platforms.
Keep reading to discover how to make the most of social media as a manufacturing SME.
Connect With the Right People
It’s very easy to simply follow people who will follow you back in an aim to gain a greater audience, but is that approach beneficial to you or your business? There’s no point in following accounts which aren’t relevant to your business. If you want to follow Beyoncé, do it on your personal account, not your company's account.
Who you follow impacts your business intelligence, and more importantly who can see your content, and when you cut out the irrelevant accounts, it gives you a much clearer view of whichever platform you are using.
An easy rule of thumb: If they are not a customer, prospect, supplier or influencer in your sector (news outlets, industry magazines, trade associations, etc.) then you probably don’t need to follow them. On twitter, you can make private lists and segregate who you’re following into sections, which can make it easier to view tweets of relevant accounts if you are following several thousand.
Make a Plan
Social media is an easy way to market yourself and, like any marketing activity, it makes sense to plan in advance. We can use short, medium and long-term plans to outline what you want going out online, and when you want it going out.
Long-term plans allow you to map out promotions like exhibitions and major events in the business.
Medium plans will help plan significant dates in the next month such as International Women’s Day.
Short-term plans will help you map out what’s going out over the next week.
Mapping these pathways out will allow you to keep up consistent messages and build simple campaigns and meaning you’re not left wondering what you should be posting about.
Image is Everything
Nearly all social media platforms put a strong emphasis on content such as images and videos. These forms of multimedia content allow users to draw the eye of the viewer and can make your post stand out.
An image says a thousand words and on twitter, you’re limited to 280 characters, so good quality media can make all the difference. While on LinkedIn posts with 4 images will naturally get more impressions then compared to those that don’t have any multimedia content.
Balancing Quantity & Quality
Yes, you need to be posting on a regular basis, with 5 posts a day being the average, otherwise, people will wonder why they’re following you.
But if you’re just going to post the same promo sales pitch 5 times a day, with no variation in the message or media your supporting your post with then your audience will quickly become disengaged with your message, and may even unfollow you
Don’t post just to post; make sure what you’re posting is current, relative and engaging!
Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things
Social media is by no means an exact science. You will find it easier, if you’re new to this, to stick to these ground rules initially, but once you gain a greater grasp on how it can work best for you and your business, you can begin to branch out and try new strategies.
Play with the volume and timing of your posts. Share content that’s different. Venture into new social sites that aren’t in the mainstream yet. Experiment with convention, and you might stumble into a new strategy that works surprisingly well for you and your business.
Unless you’re a company that deals across other time-zones if you post a tweet at 3am, and you deal with Beijing, China, where it will be 10 am it’s probably not going to get much traction.
Spend some time to understand when your network is listening. Do they check their social feeds in the evening and weekends or just during work hours? Are they more likely to check during lunch hours or during a morning break? Online applications such as Buffer will even do this automatically for you! It will scan your account and suggest the best time to post - taking all the hard work out of guessing.
It’s also important to remember that different platforms might require you to post at different times and alter how often you post.
Research your relevant followers to see what hashtags they are using or what Linkedin groups they are in. They can provide an excellent pathway into growing your network further by connecting you to like-minded accounts.
In the manufacturing sector, the majority of tweets include the hashtag #ukmfg or #gbmfg as a sector-wide hashtag. Made in the Midlands use #MiMFamily while Made in Yorkshire uses #MiYFamily to connect members. Have a search on different platforms to research how companies are connecting online.
If you need help, feel free to contact us and we can send you links to some groups that we’ve created that have other members in, allowing you to easily connect with other like-minded businesses.
Find Out Where Your Networking Is Talking
Social media can be an effective way to get your message out there. But if you’re only using it to post that you’re looking for new business, you probably won’t get far. Be sure to build up your network as it is far more about engagement than promotion. This will help in sharing great curated content, interacting with followers, and simply helping your business stay at the forefront of the consumer’s mind.
Don’t just sell your product, make sure you interact and share with other posts, ensure you reply to questions or direct messages and make sure that you’re posting relevant content.
Don’t Just Advertise
Social media can be an effective way to get your message out there. But if you’re only using it to post you’re looking for new business, you probably won’t get far.
Be sure to build up your network as it is far more about engagement than promotion. This will help in sharing great curated content, interacting with followers, and simply helping your business stay on the forefront of the consumer’s mind.
Finally… Be Yourself
It’s important to add a personal touch to your social media posts. Everyone is aware that behind any business account, there is a human on the other end, so why act differently when interacting with them?
Speaking in the first person and offering an insight into the company can allow the personality of your company to shine through.
People won’t relate to a brand whose social presence sounds rigid and corporate. Show a human side, interact with people kindly and develop a personality. People will appreciate that, and the following will come.
Make sure to follow all of the Made in Group social accounts, including our LinkedIn, and join the online community!