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Getting Social in Manufacturing

GettingSocialManufacturingI’m lucky.

I embraced the social networking phenomenon years ago and have been able to significantly leverage the marketing strategy of my manufacturing company in so many ways. Best of all, it’s free and it really can enhance a traditional marketing program, especially when you look at SEO (search engine optimization). I’d like to share some simple techniques so you, my manufacturing peers, can get social too.

Getting Started

When I’m asked “how to get started”, the first thing I hear is “I have no time”. Once you’ve mastered the concept, it really only requires a couple hours a week. I would recommend starting out with two platforms: LinkedIn and Facebook. They are both very powerful yet distinct pages, and you absolutely need a presence on both. After you master those, you must move on and add a Twitter feed.

LinkedIn

On LinkedIn create a personal page for yourself. In the simplest of terms, this is your online resume where you brag to the world what you know, where your professional experiences are, what quality information you share with your connections, and what your brand is. In the beginning, watch what your connections are sharing and review their profiles, and it will start to make sense. Use these learned concepts to develop your own brand. Also, make sure you have a headshot of yourself.

Facebook

Facebook has two styles: one is a personal profile, and the other is a business page. Businesses, celebrities and brands all have a page. They are trying to raise their respective profile, image, and brand, and they are trying to sell. This is what you want too, a page that will showcase your company through pictures, texts and links to what you do. Corporate culture is popular now as it says we are a cohesive and transparent company. Brag about your new accreditations, employees, machines, concepts and processes. It elevates you as a leader.

Don’t Get Discouraged

“I just don’t understand how it works”. Relax. It can be overwhelming. Make a point to look at your pages throughout the day – every day. Open up the tab and leave it alone. Refresh the page several times to see what your connections are saying and doing. This exercise will help you in your efforts to learn and do the same.

Then just TRY IT. Post something relevant to your brand. For instance, if you just finished machining a complex part in your shop, snap a picture of it and post it on your page(s). Tell your audience in under 140 characters (typically) some of the key things about that part. It differentiates you and you will look like an expert in that industry. Pictures always get more views; they grab the eye and pull your audience in. Remember in social, more is more. More connections, more tweets, more pictures—just stay relevant to your brand. No one cares what you had for dinner last night. You need to be giving them something valid, a take away, some tangible piece of information that they can learn from.

A Success Story

I’ve been watching my followers grow. I’ve been seeing online engagement. I’m confident my brand image is up, but, most importantly, being so committed to social activity has raised my company in organic Google searches. All of our new prospects and customers come from the web. In fact, our business was up 45% in 2013 from 2012 and we doubled our active customers. I consistently come up in the top five nearly every time. I’m excited about the future and look forward to hitting new social milestones and record sales numbers.

I welcome you to connect with me and I can track your successes.

www.facebook.com/CARRMachine

www.linkedin.com/in/jamescarr1228

www.twitter.com/CARRMachine

www.carrmachine.com

About The Author

Jim Carr
Jim Carr - View more articles

Jim Carr is President & Owner of Carr Machine & Tool of Elk Grove Village, IL. Jim began his career in various manufacturing environments, including GD&T, conventional machining, CNC programming and CAD/CAM systems. More recently Carr has segued into administrative roles; Procurement, Quoting, Operations, HR, Business Development, Sales, etc. and has found an innate passion for Marketing and PR. Carr is highly engaged with the TMA - Technology & Manufacturing Association and currently sits on the Executive Board with a four year continued commitment and is to lead the membership in 2016. Jim also holds the Vice Chair position on the Elk Grove Village Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Other engagements include participation on the planning committee of the highly successful Made in Elk Grove Manufacturing Expo and an Advisory Board membership at Harper College and High School District 211.

  • Great post Jim…what if a small manufacturing business owner wanted to pick one social platform?…which has given you the most return on your time?

  • I’ll allow the other Jim, the author, to comment on his pick for ROI, but wanted to drop my 2 cents. Twitter seems to be a great bet for B2B in my experience. The barrier to entry is low in that it allows people to be more open and social than say LinkedIn (where your connections really ought to be trusted contacts that you know). Twitter is where news & important topics are discussed by anyone, anywhere – a great way to build awareness by just simply sharing thoughtful opinions. I’d emphasize an effort on Twitter, and a set up of LinkedIn at the very least – LinkedIn can grow “by osmosis” as contacts find you, not just the other way around.

  • Hey J&J: For my business, I get the best value from LinkedIn. I understand the navigation and believe it has more functionality. It’s definitely a underrated social platform. You can sync all your posts automatically with Twitter, it has analytics, has great visual abilities, can see who’s viewing your profile and you now can even post blogs. It may be more a personal choice and I may move over some day, but for right now have an affinity for connections (1051) over followers (583).