Let’s face it, social media marketing is primarily suited for Business to Consumer (B2B), but this does not mean that Business to Business (B2B) companies cannot also harness the power of social media. This is one marketing error that most B2B marketers usually make. B2B businesses, especially manufacturers, are often the slowest to accept and integrate social media marketing.
A closer analysis of a recent study on B2B marketing by Brightcove shows that although 87% of B2B brands engage in some form of social media marketing; albeit marketing professionals remain largely unsure about its effectiveness. Only one social network, LinkedIn, out of ten scored higher than 50% in the confidence gap on effectiveness.
This lack of confidence boils down to one thing – manufacturers don’t know how to effectively use social media marketing. Here are 5 ways manufacturing companies can revitalize their marketing through social media.
1) Create a YouTube channel and offer product training
According to the study, B2B marketers rank YouTube as the second most effective social network after LinkedIn. This is not surprising considering that YouTube gets over 1 billion unique visits every month. YouTube lets manufacturing companies tell the story behind their brand and provide educational industry content in a video format. The videos posted should include anything from how-to videos, product introductory videos, or product feature videos.
2) Leverage the power of Facebook and LinkedIn for brand promotion
LinkedIn is undoubtedly the best social network for creating business connections. Marketers should create a business profile and a LinkedIn company page, and also create and join LinkedIn groups. They should be active in online discussions as a means of increasing their brand visibility. Make meaningful connections, and soon you will get insight into hundreds of other company’s corporate structure. 91% of B2B marketers use the social network and most of them believe in its efficacy.
Facebook is more laid back than LinkedIn, and it principally favors consumer oriented relationships. Nonetheless, manufacturers can still create meaningful connections on Facebook. Manufacturers in this case have to create a company profile on Facebook with an aim of gaining ‘likes’, and to grow their fan base. On Facebook, as a manufacturer, you don’t have to share everything with the consumers. Instead, focus on more positive brand-solidifying messages. This should be accompanied by plenty of product photos, posts, graphs and videos. Set up sharing competitions etc. and watch as your fans act as your brand ambassadors.
3) Gain customer feedback during product development
Social networks work best as a two-way conversation, because they will not only allow you to share your company’s content, but to also gain from your customers’ feedback. Twitter and Facebook are the most active social networks, and manufacturers should follow their customers on Twitter and get fans on Facebook. You can also use social media listening tools, such as the Social Inbox tool inside Hubspot, as a way of monitoring the general sentiments that customers have about your company. Product forums also offer invaluable insight from customers on their biggest concerns.
Some manufactures that already handle social media well include Toyota through its @ToyotaEquipment Twitter handls is a great example of how big industrial brands can maintain their social media presence. Here Toyota shares everything from industry news to humorous photos, and its public list is a great resource for other manufacturers in the industry to find eachother.
Photo of the Day: A nice splash of color, but OSHA would frown on it http://t.co/W39ILUWEE3 #forklift #safety pic.twitter.com/FgsOb3curB
— Toyota Equipment (@ToyotaEquipment) November 12, 2014
4) Social media to complement other marketing channels
Jay Baer insists that ‘content is fire, and social media its fuel’. Most businesses now share or engage in some form of content marketing. Content curation increases the likelihood that consumers will consume your content. And sharing the content you’ve curated on your social channels will give a manufacturing company an added marketing advantage over the competition.
Social media marketing flawlessly integrates with other inbound marketing methods including e-newsletters and blogging.
5) Make use of LinkedIn to source and collaborate with contractors
Manufacturers can reach out to their clients on LinkedIn, define their area of expertise, develop a leadership position in their industry, and create a bridge between all their social networks and company website. The fact is companies that have a presence on social media grow faster than those without.
According to social media examiner, businesses stand to gain from increased business exposure, increased traffic to their business website, and better understanding of their market. Savvy manufacturing marketers can take this opportunity to exploit social media marketing for all its benefits. The myth that social media marketing only works for B2C is busted. Using these tips, B2B companies too can capitalize on this this effective marketing method.
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