Social media has permeated seemingly every aspect of our lives. More than a means of sharing what matters to us, it keeps us informed and creates new forms of community. It's also one of the most potent tools for marketing, since its ratio of impact to cost is hard to beat — provided, of course, you do it correctly. With nearly 50 years in business, Cain & Company has charted our fair share of changes, and we're ideally positioned to help you get the most from social media marketing for manufacturers. Here are some things you should avoid in your social media marketing initiatives, and what we'd advise you to do instead.
If you read nothing else on this list, take this to heart: failure to plan is planning to fail. It's not enough to know that you need social media marketing. You should know why you need it, and what you need your marketing to accomplish, the same as you would for any other part of your marketing portfolio from market research analysis to a messaging strategy. Knowing that you're building brand awareness, launching a new product, or encouraging customer feedback will help you approach these challenges and others in a systematic way that gets results.
Every industry has its own jargon, and each workplace adds further layers of insider knowledge (and inside jokes). But if you don't remember who you're doing this for, you stand to alienate your audience. Take the time to analyze them, their wants and needs, and the problems you're here to help them solve. They may not thank you in ways that you recognize right away, but they're more likely to reward you with their loyalty.
Of course, it's not enough to know who you're talking to. What do you have to say to them? Who are you? What are you here for? If you're like the lion's share of businesses we've helped with social media marketing for industrial companies, you're more than your product; what you make, what you do, and how you deliver the lot of it is aligned with a mission, vision, and values. Your social media marketing should embrace those qualities and communicate them with clarity and pride.
We've all seen companies blunder their way through a social media campaign, posting updates or hoped-for viral hits that were misguided, tone-deaf, or genuinely harmful. Eventually, someone shoulders the blame. But is it really their fault? Many companies don't stop to think about social media standards and practices until it's already too late. While nobody wants to take the time to spell out what is or isn't acceptable social media conduct or to define a clear brand voice, it's time better spent than scrambling to clean up a mess later.
The old ways of doing things — a reliance on outbound marketing, cold-calling, and generally doing things as they've always been done — likely isn't serving you as well as it used to. Open your mind to new possibilities, the better to capitalize on them. Embrace modern marketing tactics. Be prepared to try new social media channels and methods (like explainers and other forms of video marketing) even if they're uncomfortable at first. And, perhaps most importantly, trust in your customers to follow through on the relationships you've built with them.
What do you do when a commercial comes on television? If you're like most people, that's when it's time to grab a snack, check email, or change the channel. Social media users are much the same. Anything that smacks of advertising will cause them to keep scrolling, open another tab, or “snack” on content that's more substantive. Content that encourages thought and feedback, that solves a problem, or even brings a much-needed belly laugh in the middle of a long and difficult day is content that sticks with your customers so they stick with you..
The fundamentals of social media marketing for the industrial and manufacturing sectors are much the same as they'd be for any other vertical. It's in the specifics that things get interesting, and a bit more challenging. That goes double when you're venturing into unfamiliar territory, which is when it helps to have a guide who knows the lay of the land. A consultation with Cain & Company can help you identify new opportunities that are consistent with your brand and your goals.
Theresa CarlsonMarketing Manager
685 Featherstone Road
Rockford, IL 61107