As a manufacturer, you deal with many different types of buyers — procurement pros, purchasing agents, MROs, general managers, etc. However, perhaps no type of buyer is more valuable — and more desirable — than an engineer.
That’s because engineers aren’t concerned with pricing and contracts, they care about the nitty-gritty — form, fit, and, function. If you can meet their needs, you can increase your chances of getting spec’d into designs and recommended for projects. However, too many manufacturers sit around and wait for RFPs to roll in before they concern themselves with meeting the needs of engineers. By that time, however, it’s already too late. You need to continuously and proactively build connections with engineers to understand more about them, to speak their language, and to position yourself as a proven, trusted partner.
Where can you make those connections? All across the web. In this post, we’ll explore the unexpected — and overlooked — places across the web where you can connect with engineers.
1. Provide Engineering Insight On Reddit
Ranked as the third most popular site in the United States according to Alexa, Reddit is a collection of forums which allows people from all walks of life and career paths to share news, content, and commentary. Channels, or subreddits, allow contributors and readers alike to sort trending topics based on conversations or interest areas that are important to them.
Other Reddit users can upvote and downvote posts and comments to increase or decrease their visibility, and contributors build “karma points” as a representation of their ability to post valid, worthy information.
There are millions of engineers using Reddit, making it a great venue for answering questions, offering advice, and participating in conversations. Some of the most popular channels for engineers include:
- Engineering — With 193k followers, this channel is the hub for all content related to the engineering discipline. Topics include career advice, networking strategies, and on-the-job stories.
- Ask Engineers — AskEngineers is a forum for questions about processes and standards, as well as for questions about the engineering profession and its many disciplines. It’s great for gaining some perspective that you can integrate into your processes and marketing.
- Mechanical Engineering — A smaller group of just 17,000 members, the ME channel at Reddit is more specialized.
- Aerospace — Described as “a place to discuss relevant topics in civil and military aviation, space exploration, and news relevant and interesting to those with a passion for all things flying,” this channel will connect you to more than 20,000 subscribers with similar interests.
Check out our blog post "How To Use Reddit For Industrial Marketing" where we discuss the basics of the platform, how to create content, and the subreddits that matter to manufacturers.
2. Connect With Key Accounts on LinkedIn
Obvious? Yes. Effective? Also yes.
LinkedIn is the world’s most popular professional networking site. A search for “design engineer” produces about 8 million results, while there are also more than 3.1 million industrial engineers and 3 million mechanical engineers.
Those are some impressive numbers. However, you can’t connect with all of them at once, and you definitely don’t want to start spamming millions of engineers with connection requests. Instead, start building your engineering network by connecting with engineers that you’ve actually done business with — either in your own company, or with a customer. From there, see who they know — maybe they are connected with engineers at target companies or within industries that you want to break into.
You should also connect industry leaders, bloggers, or association heads. Although these are people you won’t actually be selling to, they have a wide reach and bigger network than you. This can create a great deal of influence. If you can get on their radar, you open yourself up to interactions and expose your industrial brand to more eyes.
Our eBook "The Complete Guide To Social Media Marketing For Manufacturers" dives deeper into how manufacturers can effectively engaging with their networks and the type of content that performs best on each platform. Download your copy of "The Complete Guide To Social Media Marketing For Manufacturers" to learn more!
3. Answer Engineering Questions On Quora
Quora is a unique site blending the crowd-sourcing style of information sharing like Reddit with a newsfeed and functionality similar to other social media platforms. At its core, Quora is a question and answer site which allows individual contributors to ask, answer, edit, and organize questions in the form of opinions. Like Reddit, Quora readers can upvote or downvote answers. As contributing writers answer questions, gain followers, and rack up views and upvotes on their content, they gain credibility within their respective community.
Because the platform tends to attract many people who are technical, curious and interested in science, engineering is naturally a popular topic. Here are some Quora statistics that illustrate the quantity of site visitors engaging with engineering content:
- Engineering: roughly 270,000 questions, 1.6 millions followers
- Electrical Engineering: roughly 165,000 questions, 834,000 followers
- Mechanical Engineering: roughly 135,000 questions, 622,000 followers
Quora is also very SEO-friendly; it has a significant influence on search rank, so earnest activity and quality content on this site can lead to qualified exposure. (Read more on the importance of SEO in our blog, "SEO Basics For Manufacturers And Industrial Companies.") By posing your own questions, offering your advice, and engaging with other members, you can leverage Quora to grow your industrial business and connect with like-minded engineers — and valuable leads to nurture.
Create More Meaningful Connections With Engineers
Engineers are highly creative individuals who think logically and are both mathematically inclined and naturally inquisitive. They use every tool at their disposal — social networks, forums, etc. — to share problems, develop solutions, and bounce around new ideas. Thousands of engineers are also on Thomasnet.com, industry's leading platform. List your business for free on Thomasnet.com to connect with engineers searching for your industrial products and services.
And if you need help with getting the conversation started with the right content marketing pieces, send us a message! In the meantime, below are additional resources to help you create more meaningful connections with engineers and generate more sales for your business:
- How CAD Files Drive Lead Generation
- The Manufacturer's Playbook For Direct-To-Consumer Selling
- 5 Things Ever Product Manufacturer Must Know To Drive Leads
- 5 Places To Advertise Your Manufacturing Business Online
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