Let’s face it; although manufacturers tend to have a lower adoption rate than other industries for social media (if at all), every manufacturer, should be considering it. And the first question every manufacturer should really be asking themselves is why would we do it? Is it to generate leads? Is it to increase our brand awareness? Build thought leadership?
Before your company can decide whether or not to use Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram or YouTube (to name a few), there are 5 key questions that need to be considered before launching into social media.
1) What are my goals? Before starting any social media campaign, clear goals need to be determined. Your company needs to figure out if it is interested in promoting an event, launching a new product or service, driving visitors to the website, recruiting staff, increasing customer service efforts or promoting the company as a thought leader. A solid social media strategy will give your company the building blocks it needs to successfully launch a campaign.
2) Who is my audience? In order to properly reach your goals, you need to understand who you are targeting. A defined target market will give your social media strategy more clarity and focus, and make it more effective. It’s important to remember that depending on your goals, your audience may vary for each social media campaign. Having a good understanding of the various social media sites and their specific demographics will also help you align your company with the right channels.
3) Where is my audience looking for information? Once you determine who your audience is, it’s important to figure out where they are looking for information. You need to know if your customers and/or prospects are regularly on Twitter and Facebook or whether YouTube and LinkedIn are more appropriate channels for your audience. You also need more than a “passable” knowledge of each social media site to develop an effective social-media strategy that fully engages your audience in the right tone of voice. It’s not enough to properly execute on a particular channel, you have to know which channel to execute on in the first place.
4) What is my budget? Set a budget for your program before you start so you can make the most of your social media marketing dollars. Although you can use any of these social media sites for free, you may want to consider setting a budget for things like paid advertising campaigns on Facebook and/or LinkedIn or you may want to think about new creative for your social media company profile. Having a set budget will allow you to stay on track and test your social media efforts to determine which channels are generating the best ROI before investing countless dollars on something that may not be working.
5) Do I have the resources? A properly managed social media strategy takes time and effort so ask yourself whether or not you have the proper resources in place to manage your social media campaign. It’s not enough to set up a Twitter account and tweet once a week. You need to engage with your customers, tweet or post updates regularly, and reply to comments. This is true for any of the social media channels you decide to use. Consider using an outside vendor for your social media strategy if you do not have the internal resources to run it effectively.
Social media as a whole should translate into added value to your customer and potential prospects resulting in a solid ROI for your company. The best way to fully understand if your social media is working for you is to monitor it regularly. Please refer here for a list of social media monitoring tools that can help you understand whether or not you are meeting your goals. By understanding whether or not your strategy is working, you will be well equipped to tweak your program as necessary along the way.
Is your manufacturing company currently using social media? Share your thoughts below.