By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter
I recently listened to a report on NPR about how big companies are analyzing their social media followers to make sure they’re “passionate” enough. It’s not enough for these brands anymore to just rack up followers; they need to re-tweet, blog and be engaged enough to matter.
In manufacturing, the opposite could very easily be said. There’s no shortage of passion, but social media numbers and avenues continue to be a struggle.
Passion side of the argument, the case is easy to make. There simply aren’t people more passionate about their work than skilled craftsmen. It’s part of what makes that jump from simply doing a job, to doing a job right so distinct. And look at the time and effort the average tradesman puts into sharing knowledge with others and the next generation, it’s unmatched in any other field. Lastly, look at the brand loyalty and rivalries that do exist in our industry. The passion generated by Ford/Chevy, Lincoln/Miller, Deere/Case IH, Snap-On/Mac/Matco and a hundred other make Coke/Pepsi look like a kindergarten sandbox dispute.
So how can you use that passion to improve your social media numbers?
- Be on the Right Channel – Facebook can allow for a more direct line of access, but it can also be demographically wrong. Twitter allows for quick hits of info, but requires more monitoring. LinkedIn is great for professional development, but has a structure that takes some getting used to. You don’t need to have all your eggs in one basket, but you should prioritize your message and messaging.
- It’s Not All Rah Rah – If you’re only going on social media to talk about the latest products and re-post press releases, stop now. Be a source for more than just self-promotion.
- Know What Your Audience Wants to be Doing – What do your customers do when they’re not working? Share stories about that every once and a while, so you become a resource.
- Share the Bigger Picture – Community outreach, training and other industry rather than company issues should be a regular feature of your feed.
- Don’t Read the Comments, Except When You Do – Part of the passionate rivalries I mentioned above seems to be following the brand you DON’T like, just to constantly comment on how much you don’t like it. Don’t give those comments the time of day (or attention their posters want). However, social media can be an excellent point of contact for legitimate customer issues. Act on those, and quickly.