Are you missing out on an amazing resource that can make your business' growth goal a reality — the answer might be in social media. Over 90% of companies, both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C), are currently making use of social media for marketing purposes. But with such a wide range of social networks to work with, and new ones popping up every day, navigating these options can often seem daunting.
While there are other social media networks that could be added to this list, we’re focusing on the main channels for B2B marketing purposes. Below, we’ll delve into three of the most popular social networks — Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter — and explore how industrial companies and manufacturers can make the most effective use of these versatile platforms, leading to more valuable prospects, increased leads, and, of course, boosted sales.
What's The Difference Between Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter?
On Facebook, your network is based on how many users like your company page and share or like your content. As the largest social media network in North America with 16.5 billion active monthly users, Facebook allows companies to reach a huge number of other companies, consumers, and organizations.
To effectively expand your following and increase your chances of landing valuable leads, it’s critical to keep all posts personal and engaging; Facebook is a personal network, so users are looking for human-to-human contact and valuable information that speaks to their specific needs — not a sales pitch. Avoid adopting a sales-focused, self-promoting persona, and keep promotional language to a minimum to ensure you come off personable and knowledgeable. Manufacturers love sharing videos and imagery — and these work well on Facebook.
Specifically designed for business and professional use, LinkedIn serves as the main hub of B2B networking and outreach. Professional contacts can follow your company page and updates, like, and share your content, and you can create, join, and participate in groups.
By viewing customers’ connections, industrial companies are able to easily gather prospects and target them accordingly based on their needs. And with quick, simple access to industry news and updates, as well as valuable information on potential new hires and possible partners, it’s easy to stay up to date on the latest trends and opportunities.
Joining various LinkedIn groups is a great way to network with fellow industry professionals and garner valuable leads while showcasing your expertise and know-how, allowing you to establish yourself as a leader and influencer in your industry.
With quick access to thousands of companies and organizations, Twitter is another great tool for staying up to speed on current industry trends and innovations. You have followers and follow other accounts. Your content (“tweets”) can be favorited and retweeted.
By following certain hashtags, like #gaskets or #rubberstamping, you can easily track topics of interest and analyze trending subjects. To make the most effective use of your own hashtags, try using a tool like Hashtagify; simply enter certain product or brand names to find related terms or potential hashtags for optimal marketing.
American Crane does a great job of sharing its content on multiple platforms and editing the content based on the social media channel. In the post above, American Crane shared one of their YouTube videos on Twitter while increasing visibility with multiple hashtags.
But don't just add random hashtags for the sake of adding hashtags. Make sure they're related to the content you're posting and your company. Click here for The Social Media Accounts (And Hashtags) You Should Be Following for more inspiration.
How To Build Your Social Media Community
Now that you've learned the basics of Facebook vs. Linkedin vs Twitter, here are some simple next steps manufacturers find success in to get you started on the right foot:
1. Get Your Content Ready
Before you tweet your first tweet, share your first post, or make your first connection, you should create content that your target customers will want to read.
This way, new visitors to your platforms will see something of value — well-curated content, insightful opinions, shareable posts — and will be more likely to connect with you. Ideally, the content you post on social media should be part of a comprehensive content marketing strategy.
2. Say Hello To Prospects
Once you have a solid content plan in place — and solid content posted — it's time to start networking. Think about the accounts you'd like to land and connect with them on social media. Ideally, they will reciprocate and you'll then have a strong foundation for a budding social community.
Keep in mind, however, that you don't want to get too "salesly" on social media. In fact, that's one of the seven social media mistakes that industrial companies should try to avoid.
The goal of your social media marketing is to drive your business, and the best way to go about that is to build your brand and provide quality content. If a prospect finds your messaging interesting, unique, useful, and informative, you’re more likely to be top-of-mind once a sales cycle begins. If your messaging stands out, it’s likely that your product and service will, too.
3. Follow Thought Leaders
Who do your prospects turn to for advice, guidance and insight? Those are the people you should connect with next. These might be heads of trade associations, journalists, bloggers or prominent industry leaders.
Following and engaging with industry influencers and prospects will help you build a solid professional network and remain at the forefront of people’s minds. You'll want to get on their radar in order to open yourself up to opportunities to interact, share content, and comment on each other's updates. Plus, other followers will see then that these influencers are influenced by you as well!
4. Connect With Your Existing Customers
Acquiring new customers is the ultimate goal, but social media can also help you build stronger relationships with the clients you already have. Taking the time to engage with them — following their profiles, liking their posts, and sharing their content — can go a long way toward keeping them satisfied and keeps your business top of mind when they're ready to purchase again. This will also show prospects that you're invested in the success of your customers and value your professional relationships.
Discover who else you should follow on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn by downloading "The Complete Guide To Social Media Marketing For Manufacturers."
Get More Tips To Boost Your Manufacturing Brand
These four simple tips can put you on the path to a successful social media marketing strategy. But this isn't where the journey ends and the results begin — you'll need to take a step further in engagement, rather than just posting updates. You'll need to get involved in conversations and interactions with your network. Every social media network engages differently so you should communicate differently on each platform too — so please don't copy and paste your Facebook post into LinkedIn.
And for your social media strategy to be effective, you'll need the foundation of all your digital marketing methods to be robust and built for lead generation — that means having your website performing at its best. Luckily for you, we offer a free Digital Health Check to see how your website is performing, how it compares against competitors, and exactly what you need to engage with more B2B buyers. Request your custom Digital Health Check Report today.
We know that can be difficult and may seem like a full-time job itself. But we're here to help! Need ideas or questions on how to get started? Contact us for more information on how to effectively boost your business online.
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