Although manufacturers tend to have a lower adoption rate than other industries for social media, every manufacturer is starting to give some consideration to social media, if they're not doing it already.
There are some questions that every manufacturer should ask before making a commitment to social media. Before your company decides whether or not to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram or YouTube (to name a few), here are 5 questions to think about:
1) What are our goals?
Before starting any social media campaign, clear goals should 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.
Do you want to raise awareness? Generate leads? Engage past customers? Promote the culture of your company to potential staff? Name your goal, and that will guide your social media activities and investment.
2) Who is our audience?
In order to properly reach your goals, it's important to understand who you're 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 our audience looking for information?
Once you determine who your audience is, it’s important to figure out where they are looking for information. Are your customers and prospects on Twitter and Facebook, or are YouTube and LinkedIn more likely?
You 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 our 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.
Not sure how much to spend? Read The Just-Right Marketing Budget.
5) Do we have the resources?
A properly managed social media strategy takes time and effort. So consider whether you have the proper resources 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. By understanding whether or not your strategy is working, you will be well equipped to tweak your program as necessary along the way.