Social Media for Manufacturers: Grow Your Brand on the Right Platform

Mackenzie | May 18, 2021 | Manufacturer Marketing

When you think about how to get the word out about your manufacturing company, social media probably isn't the first place your brain goes. 

 

For years, many manufacturers have bought into the myth that:

  • their products just aren't sexy enough for social media
  • their ideal clients aren't on social media
  • And social media just doesn't have the kind of pull that manufacturers need

 

As a digital marketing company that has worked with manufacturers since our inception, and as a company that continues to work with manufacturers in every industry from automotive to metal casting, we're here to tell you that myth is wrong on all three counts. 

 

Today, more than 72% of the American population uses some type of social media.

 

And with the majority of those users falling into the 18-49 year age range, that means no matter what you manufacture, engineer, or sell, the key industry players you want to talk to are on social media. 

 

Now, think about some of your favorite brands. 

 

Apple, Nike, Tesla, Ford, Trex, Cat, and the list goes on. 

 

Apple Instagram Example

Guess what one thing all of those brands have in common? 

 

They're manufacturers. 

CAT Instagram Post Examples

They produce a product that people buy. While some of them, like Apple and Nike are B2C, others, like Cat and Ford, have massively successful B2B divisions. And the reason you've heard of every single one of those brands, and continue to think of them highly today is because they have robust digital presences supported by social media platforms. 

Does Social Media Work for Manufacturers?

In short, yes. Just based on those few examples above, you can see where I'm headed with this post. If you're looking to build a brand that has a digital presence, social media marketing is something you should start taking seriously.

 

But, we know that getting started is the hardest part. So let's take a look at 3 social media platforms manufacturers can use to grow and identify a few specific ways you can use each to properly position your industrial company, reach your target buyer, and ultimately grow your brand with the support of social media. 

3 Social Media Platforms for Manufacturers (And How to Use Them)

Every blog out there about social media marketing for manufacturers starts with Linkedin. And while I'll get there, it's just boring, and honestly, you can do better. I know you want to get ahead of the competition, and that means adopting the marketing tactics that other manufacturers have been slow to perfect. That's why we're starting with YouTube. 

01. YouTube: The 2nd largest search engine, and your best option to beat the competition.

YouTube is often called the 2nd largest search engine. People use it every day to search for answers to their questions. From finding that clip of last week's SNL episode to learning how to do a new craft or hobby, YouTube is many consumers' first stop.

 

So, it's not much of a stretch to see that YouTube will one day be one of the most prominent social media platforms, especially for manufacturers. 

 

We're already seeing innovative industry leaders make strides with YouTube.

 

Trex is a great example of a manufacturer/industrial company that's doing YouTube well. I'm going to use them as an example through this section to show you what great YouTube marketing can look like for manufacturers: 

Trex YouTube Home Page

Why is YouTube an important next step for manufacturers?

For many, video is intimidating. It's something we love to consume, but have no idea how to create. And no offense to you, manufacturer, but your industry is notoriously slow to adopt new methods, especially when it comes to marketing. 

 

If you're reading this, you've got an edge though. Most mid-sized manufacturers have yet to truly get started in video marketing. That means now is your opportunity to take the market share of this corner of the internet. 

 

How can manufacturers get started with YouTube?

I'll let you in on a little secret — video marketing isn't any more difficult than any other kind of marketing campaign. Just like any marketing campaign, you start with goals, you build a strategy around those goals, create the content, launch, and promote. 

 

You just need a few extra hands for video, and there are tons of resources to help you. From free video editors to a contracted video team to your own digital marketing team who has added video to their list of services, there's no shortage of ways to do video marketing, and do it well, you just have to get started. 

 

A few ideas to get your YouTube marketing strategy started

Now you know the how and the why, you need the what. What do people want to see from manufacturers on YouTube? 

 

My best advice is to start with your sales team: 

  • What do customers and new clients ask constantly? 
  • Are there specific components of your product that people want to know? 
  • If you sell a few different products, how can you help your customers choose the right option for their application with video?

Here, Trex does a great job of building out playlists that answer their customers' questions. As a B2B supplier, they're not just marketing to consumers, they also have to sell lumber suppliers and contractors on their projects. 

 

These playlists work to address that professional audience, explaining not only where Trex products are available, but also what professional should know about new and more technical product lines. 

Trex Playlists YouTube Page

If your goals are more focused on improving brand awareness and positioning your company as an authority in your industry, content like: 

  • Time lapses of your production process
  • Employee highlights or interviews
  • Video testimonials from satisfied customers

can all go a long way on YouTube itself, but also across social media platforms and your website. 

 

Trex's testimonial playlist is a great example of this. These testimonials speak directly to Trexs' end-user, and can easily be dropped across any of their other social media accounts. 

Trex Testimonials Video YouTube

The best part of video marketin is that they content you create is so shareable. Once posted on YouTube, your video can live just about anywhere on the internet, working to promote your content across social media platforms and on your website as well. 

 

If you're looking to get ahead of the competition, now is the time to invest in video, and there's no better place to start than YouTube. 

02. LinkedIn: Exactly What You'd Expect

We've been preaching the benefits of LinkedIn for manufacturers since I started working at Evenbound. The benefits I talked about in 2015 are the same benefits LinkedIn offers today, so if you're still not using the social media platform to market your manufacturing company, you're behind. 

 

Benefits of LinkedIn: 

  • It's a network of working professionals
  • Everyone on LinkedIn has already told you what industry they work in
  • They also tell you exactly what their job title is
  • That means you can market directly to the decision-makers and purchasing managers you want to get in front of

LinkedIn has done the hard work of curating a targeted audience for you. All you have to do is bring the content. 

 

How can manufacturers market effectively on LinkedIn?

If you're not sure where to start with LinkedIn, we recommend checking out ArcelorMittal

ArcelorMittal LinkedIn Page

Their LinkedIn marketing campaign is by the book, and it works. They do a great job of posting a variety of content, from employee spotlights to industry updates to information about new and improved products. 

ArcelorMittal Linkedin Company Post

As a result, they have a ton of engagement on just about every post they make, which means they're spreading brand awareness and drawing in the right leads with quality content. 

ArcelorMittal Linkedin Post Example

Applying this strategy to your LinkedIn platform

Using LinkedIn is just like using Facebook or Twitter — post the content you know your audience cares about. That means you need to know who your audience is, which I've already mentioned is pretty easy to determine, thanks to LinkedIn's primarily professional user base. 

 

From there, create a LinkedIn posting schedule that you can stick to, and that, like ArcelorMittal's account, offers a variety of rich, exciting content for your audience to engage with. 

ArcelorMittal Top Women LinkedinPost

Don't just post your company press releases or product announcements. Make sure you're also dedicating time to sharing engaging content from other industry leaders and participating in ongoing industry discussions happening on LinkedIn. 

 

03. Instagram: The Social Media Marketing Platform Manufacturers Didn't Expect

I bet you are a) surprised I included Instagram or are b) planning to skip past this section. 

 

Every time marketers pitch Instagram to manufacturers, we're met with an overwhelming eye roll. 

 

I get it — it's an image-first social media platform that originally catapulted food bloggers to fame. How could it possibly do anything for your manufacturing company? 

 

 

Two words for you: company culture

 

Most manufacturers are struggling to hire and retain skilled labor. Instagram is one tool that can help you address this problem. 

Why should manufacturers use Instagram?

Today's manufacturing buyer is getting dangerously close to always being a millennial. And millennials love Instagram. More than half of US millennials are active Instagram users, which means they log on and scroll just about every day. 

 

Between the ages of 25 and 40, millennials are soon going to make up your entire target audience. And guess what? Millennials seriously care about company culture. This Forbes article cited that millennial workers were willing to give up an average of more than $7,000 in salary to work at a company that had a culture they aligned with. 

CAT Products Instagram Examples

What does company culture or Instagram have to do with growing your manufacturing company?

Well, back to my original point — manufacturers are struggling to find skilled labor. Given that millennials make up the majority of your workforce and the majority of them are on Instagram, there's perhaps no better place to draw in those skilled laborers than on Instagram. 

 

Instagram is a fun, image and video-centric platform that people use every day to learn about new brands, share stories and photos with their friends, and connect. It's the perfect place to show off your company culture in a way that feels genuine and engaging. 

 

This post from Tesla is a great example! Not only are they highlighting an awesome product feature, but they're showing their followers they care about some of the same things — here, dogs!

Tesla Dog Mode Instagram Post

How can manufacturers use Instagram?

I'm betting your manufacturing company already uses Facebook. That's part of the reason I chose Instagram for this blog.

 

Instagram works in a very similar way to Facebook, though I'd challenge you to develop an Instagram marketing strategy that differs from your Facebook strategy, if only to ensure you have a dedicated space on the internet where you can begin to draw in some of the skilled, right-fit team members you've been looking for. 

Tesla Instagram Stories Company Culture Example

 

While you can certainly use Instagram for more than promoting company culture, company culture is a great place to start. It takes some of the pressure off of social media marketing, and gives your team a chance to really consider who you are, why you like what you do, and how you can draw in more people like you!

Clearly people like both Tesla (above) and CAT (below) are using the platform to draw in their ideal employees — why not you, too?

CAT Trial Instagram Post

To get your manufacturing company's Instagram platform going, here are a few hot tips: 

  • Check out the Evenbound Instagram account. Not to toot our own horn, but we think we do a pretty good job of promoting our company culture on Instagram. From engaging Instagram reels to employee spotlights and even quick teaching moments on our Stories, there are a lot of ideas there for you to take and make your own. 

Evenbound Instagram About InfoEvenbound Instagram Reel

  • Check out manufacturers you admire. (This doesn't have to be the competition.) See what others are doing to get the word out about their company and draw in the right people. 
  • Give a few things a try! Start with a few designed images or a short video of your production floor. You'd be amazed at how little effort it can take to generate a lot of results on Instagram — you just have to discover what people want to see, first. 

 

Once you get a few campaigns going, be sure to track your progress using a CRM like HubSpot, or your own internal platform, and see what works. From there, you can optimize your Instagram strategy based on what's seeing the most engagement. 

 

Social Media Marketing for Manufacturers: Where to Start

In this blog, we've talked about YouTube, LinkedIn, and Instagram. While there are certainly far more social media platforms out there that might be great fits for your manufacturing company, these are three that present unique opportunities that you might not have considered yet. 

 

Remember, you don't have to start with all three of these to build a successful social media marketing strategy for your manufacturing company. Choose one that aligns with your company's existing goals, and test it out for a few months. Like any marketing strategy, make sure you're keeping an eye on performance, tracking results, and optimizing your strategy as you go. 

 

While social media marketing isn't the first thought for many manufacturers, when you use any of these platforms properly, they can become robust, effective ways to set yourself apart from the competition, and meet your company's growth goals. 

Have more questions? Give the Evenbound team a call. We've been working with manufacturers to improve their social media marketing strategies for years, and we'd be happy to help you too. 



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