In a B2B climate, where most manufacturers exist, social media may not sound like a priority. Or, if social media is a "priority," it’s one that often gets pushed aside due to tight turnaround times and small staffs. That’s why we created this social media cheat sheet for the little guys and the underdogs -- like you.
Making your company’s presence felt on relevant social channels is important and worth it -- especially if you follow these six concepts with a special bend toward small B2Bs.
Social Media Cheat Sheet: 6 Quick Tips
1. Get Help & Make It Easy on Yourself
If you can’t afford a multifaceted, robust social media tool like HubSpot, you can try one of the popular free tools, like Hootsuite. These platforms help you manage your social strategy and post on a schedule and in bulk. Very nice for the time-strapped manufacturer.
If you want to remove your staff even further from the headache of keeping up with social media, you can hire an inbound marketing agency to handle it (and just about anything else).
Either way, don’t put too much on 1-2 people. You’ll either fall behind schedule and fail to make an impact, or you’ll ignore best practices because you’re rushing.
2. Set up a BUSINESS ACCOUNT for Each Social Channel
Many mom-and-pop shops and other small businesses (especially those run by older, tech-impaired folks) tend to mess this up.
Make sure you’re setting up a business account -- not a personal account -- for each social channel. A personal Facebook page is not the same as a business Facebook page! The same goes for LinkedIn and other social platforms. You’re missing out on great insights if you don’t set these up properly.
The rules of play are different for each platform, so brush up on the protocols for each kind of business page. To get you started, here’s an article detailing the difference between a Facebook profile, group, and business page.
3. Share Your Unique Wisdom
Even if you’re not a huge company, you can still get noticed by sharing educational content. Find your audience’s pain points (especially ones your company can solve) and address them by posting:
- Blogs written by your company
- Third-party articles
- Anything else helpful
Even the smallest company has some niche offering that makes it stand out from competition. Seek those who need it, and engage them.
While B2B content marketing is often professional in tone and focused on industry thought leadership, you can still have (appropriate) fun on occasion. In fact, we encourage it because it shows a human side to your little band of people.
4. Be the Little Fish in the Big Pond
Maybe a more appropriate analogy is a flea. By keeping a sharp eye on social media, you can hop from trend to trend and get a free ride to success by leeching off your bigger host. Appetizing, I know.
Follow other industry thought leaders and sharing their articles and videos. Sharing third-party content sounds counterintuitive, but it helps get you noticed. Those bigger companies might even share your content in return!
One way to nudge companies to do this is tagging them in posts. For example, if you’re blogging about the five best manufacturers at social media marketing, tag the companies you gave shout-outs to in any future social posts about that blog.
Another way to sit at the big kids’ table: Use hashtags in all social media advertising. Using the # symbol to mark trending or popular topics can get you noticed quickly, even if you’re flea-sized.
5. Pay for Small Social Campaigns
Don’t be afraid to pay to play. You don’t have to spend a fortune to succeed.
Take these two real-life scenarios, for instance:
- A client spent $20 on paid Facebook advertising. The client got 100 new page likes out of it.
- A client spent $5 on another platform and got 120 new blog views out of it.
It’s a great quick-win strategy for manufacturers who want immediate results. Likes turn into blog views. Blog views mean more chances for targets to see your conversion opportunity. More conversions equal more sales leads.
Yes, even manufacturers can feel the love on social media -- they just have to pay sometimes.
6. Optimize Your Social Pages
Depending on the amount of space you have (Twitter is pretty limited), you try to fit as many of these as possible:
- Brief description of services
- Phone number
- Other social media handles/addresses
The oft-ignored About Us and Story sections on Facebook need your attention, too. Explain what you do but also what drives you to do it (besides making money).
Another example of a quick fix: Twitter recently increased the max character count for business names, so go there and put your full business name if possible. It’ll make your brand more searchable.
Don’t forget to include SEO (search engine optimization) in your efforts, too. You want your social pages to be found, just like your website pages. On Instagram and Twitter, hashtag key phrases (like #metalmanufacturing or #engineering) to further announce your presence.
Using these tricks to improve your visibility will put you in front of the other little guys.
Is Time an Issue?
All of these are great ways to increase your brand awareness. But for smaller manufacturers or B2B, social media efforts may come down to #1: the quality and availability of your help.
If your staff’s social media efforts are lacking in polish or consistency, you should consider joining a platform like HubSpot or Hootsuite. If you have the money but not the time or staffing to manage social marketing, think about handing the job to an inbound marketing agency.