Can Social Media Be Good for Manufacturers? Yes! But Don’t Force It

More than ever, social media is a hot topic in the world of digital marketing. When Google made it a priority to integrate content and cues from its own Google+ network into its search results, the days of totally dismissing social media were officially over.

Many of the manufacturers we work with know on some level that social media can’t be ignored but are afraid their work in this space will be fruitless.   As Patricia Thibault pointed out in “B2B Manufacturing and Social Media: How to Begin,” before we start we need to understand where conversations are happening. We conduct research first, and then only engage in social media once a plan is in place.

Can we be frank? Some of us more hardened types have the attitude that says All that is nice, but Facebook and Twitter are for people looking to waste time. There is no chance anybody will ever do business with us just because we are on Twitter.

Nobody will do business with you just because you are on Twitter. That is correct.  I can’t agree more. If your marketing person tells you that your company HAS to be on Twitter (or Facebook or Pinterest, etc.) because everybody else is doing it they are making a mistake of misplaced enthusiasm. They are enthralled with the medium. They need to take a step back.

If you engage in social media because everybody else is doing it, you will be forcing it. Nobody wants to be around somebody who is awkward and really doesn’t want to be there.  Think about this:

If your company only publishes automated posts talking about “me, me, me (our company, our product, our CEO),” you are forcing it. Don’t force it.

If you wouldn’t otherwise be active in the medium in a million years, but you heard it is great for SEO, you are forcing it.  Don’t force it.

If your social media plan is totally independent of your business objectives and you can’t explain in twenty-five words or less how they are related to each other, you are forcing it. Don’t force it.

If you share great insights into problems your potential customer is trying to solve, you’ll be a hero. That is NOT forcing it.

If you publish content your potential customer base (and existing customers) would value highly and broadcast it via social media, you’ll get more interested visitors (read: leads) to your website. That is NOT forcing it.

If you take time to listen to people who want to know your company cares about a less-than-perfectly-executed job, you can begin the recovery from the error. That is NOT  forcing it.

If you discover an unmet need in your market and develop a new product to address that need, you may just do business with people you meet on Twitter.  But don’t force it!

Photo courtesy of Library of Congress.


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