The industrial space poses many unique challenges and opportunities for marketers. In manufacturing companies comprising just a handful of employees, there’s often very little time or budget left for a full time social media manager. This leaves us with two options — contracting out social media services to an outside firm or enlisting the help of current employees to take some time out during the day to manage the social media accounts.
In many cases, hiring an industrial social media marketing firm is the right choice. Your employees can focus on their primary responsibilities, and you can rest assured that your social media profiles are being managed by industry pros.
That being said, if hiring a social media service provider just isn’t in the cards, creating a presence on your own is still better than not having one at all. However, always make sure you’re following best practices before diving in head-first.
Having managed social media accounts in the industrial space for a number of years now, I’ve come across many types of content NOT to post. Below, I’ve pulled together a round-up of the top items to avoid.
1. Graphic Images
This blog topic was actually inspired by a Facebook post that almost made me jump out of my seat in utter terror. I closed my eyes, quickly scrolled down with my mouse and did all I could to avoid the gruesome image of a worker’s mangled hands that had been caught (and released) from heavy machinery. I’m sure there was some message about safety in the post, but I didn’t have the stomach to look for it.
Even if your post is well-intentioned, as I’m sure the above example was, consider the images and content you choose to go along with the message. Keep in mind that even if you’ve seen it all on the shop floor, your audience on the other side of the screen might not share your gastric fortitude. In general, consider the most visually sensitive person you know and avoid any content that might offend them. Otherwise, you may end up getting your account blocked from your customers’ newsfeeds and reported to the social media channel’s review team.
2. Political Statements
Aside from general posts about new legislation that may impact you or your company, you should steer clear of discussing politics. Aim to inform rather than alienate. Sharing an article from a well-known publication is fine; sharing negative opinions about political figures is not. Keep any personal thoughts confined to a personal social media account — never inject them into your company’s official accounts.
3. Text Only
While you should be wary of graphic images or political articles, you do need to have some form of content accompanying each post. Links should be included as often as possible to provide more information and back-up your claims and (appropriate) images and video should be added regularly to further entice readers and keep them engaged with your content.
4. Pictures Only
Yes, images are important. But, without context, they can easily fall flat. Remember to include a caption with pictures you post so that your audience knows what they’re looking at and why. Even seemingly self-explanatory images can benefit from a quick description.
While you should be wary of graphic images or political articles, you do need to have some form of content accompanying each post. Links should be included as often as possible to provide more information and back-up your claims and (appropriate) images and video should be added regularly to further entice readers.
5. Negative Newsjacking
For those unfamiliar with the term, newsjacking is the act of hijacking a news story for your benefit. This is a more advanced technique, and it can be used effectively under the right circumstances. For example, if hurricane season is on the way, now’s a good time to promote your new line of power generators. However, if a major storm has just left countless people homeless, don’t try to sell them anything. If you would like to donate applicable supplies, that would be an acceptable way to promote without actually “promoting.” The goal is to help people, not profit from their misfortune. It’s a fine line, so stay away from anything that can appear too self-serving.
6. Grammar Abuse
We understand that not everyone was an English major in college, but that’s no excuse for consistently bad grammar. If you know that you have trouble with spelling and punctuation, you may consider creating posts in a Word document first to easily check for mistakes or use the tool Grammarly to catch spelling errors while you are on social platforms. One misplaced apostrophe here and there probably won’t turn off most readers, but regular typos can influence your credibility. Similarly, profanity (even if used “correctly”), is always to be avoided. Again, it’s all about maintaining your credibility as an industry leader and professional organization.
Bonus Tip: Don't Set it And Forget It
Scheduling platforms and auto-posting tools can make the social media game seem like a quick and easy prospect. But don’t be fooled — just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. If you’re not regularly logging into your accounts and responding to posts, there’s little reason for you to be online at all. The whole point of social media is to be social and drive conversations. Good content gets shared, and those shares should always be acknowledged. What’s the point of starting a conversation if you don’t plan on responding to related inquiries?
As you continue to navigate the ever-changing social media landscape, remember that your main objective is to be present and accessible. You are on these networks to boost your visibility among key audiences, so make sure the image you’re putting across is knowledgeable and trustworthy.
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