Three trucks were trying to cross a river. The Ford forded the river. The Dodge dodged the river. And the Chevy sank…like a rock.
Okay, maybe that isn’t the most relevant joke considering Chevrolet has stopped using that catch phrase. But it’s more important that you understand the concept. The joke plays off Chevrolet’s old advertisement. You remember: trucks, mud and “rugged individualists.” The brand is still associated with the ‘tough guy’ image, and those rugged individualists are the people Chevy identified as their greatest asset: the customers who buy and use their trucks every day.
Of course, identifying this specific of an audience is not necessarily easy, but if you begin to connect with customers online, an identifiable persona will start to emerge. And when you start using this persona in your marketing strategies, you’ll be able to relate to your audience on a more intimate level. Soon, you’ll build trust within a community of followers, and, as a result, you’ll have more loyal customers.
Below are three simple steps to help build your manufacturing brand and communicate effectively with your audience:
Before you claim your online identity, think about the people who really need your product. If your audience spans across age groups, find a way to unite them through your brand. Take Coca-Cola, for example. Its ‘Share a Coke’ campaign has allowed the brand to reach multiple generations by simply printing names on bottles. But Coca-Cola also recognized that its younger audience is social media savvy. With this campaign, Coke’s consumers are essentially doing the marketing for it.
Beyond the social sharing, Coca-Cola also knows when and where people want their product. Jurassic World is now 2015’s top-grossing movie. And who doesn’t like an ice-cold Coke with their popcorn at the theater, right? So, with a little animation, Coca-Cola released this video. Using this method, the brand is earning a rapport with its audience.
Even if you’re in a different industry, such as automotive, electronics or pharmaceuticals, there are always ways to relate to your audience, which brings us to my next tip.
Good things take time, so even if you already know your focus audience, communicating your brand attributes can still be difficult. Questions to ask yourself when formulating your engagement strategy include:
These questions are tough to answer, but when you concentrate on reaching out to customers, providing valuable content, you’ll start to see a true difference in your engagement with the public. One of the easiest and most basic ways to do this is through Facebook Insights. It’s completely free and user-friendly and tracks how well your company Facebook Page is doing. These metrics allow you to evaluate the timing and tactics of your marketing strategies—this alone can help you find your target audience.
The best way to start (as long as you have 30 fans or more) is to make note of when your fans are online (under the ‘Posts’ tab). Once you establish the peak times for user engagement, you’ll know exactly when to publish your content.
If you don’t have 30 fans yet, don’t fret. There are more general peak times you can use while working to break the 30-fan threshold and gain access to the tool.
In terms of fan likes and engagement, Insights shows you what’s sparking peoples’ interest, thus helping you to establish an online relationship with your audience, which is the ultimate goal. Also keep in mind that your content doesn’t have to be a shot in the dark; there are several methods for content marketing in the manufacturing industry.
Content should excite your audience, and if users can anticipate your next post, there’s no reason for them to check back. A helpful tactic to engage online is the use of Twitter Chats. These conversations let users interact with one of the experts at your company. And by doing so, people can reach out with questions about your brand, product or company.
Sherwin-Williams recently did a Twitter Chat with bloggers by using the hashtag #altchat and designating a time to meet online. This allowed bloggers to connect and allowed a member of the Sherwin-Williams brand to mediate, further increasing brand awareness.
Sony also recognizes its users range from gamers to soon-to-be brides, so you’ll always see something different on its Facebook Page. But you’ll also notice that, no matter what, the brand never sacrifices its voice—quippy, smart and sometimes quirky.
You can see the snark in the post above, but take note that the majority of the brand’s posts include a link to more information, as well. Sony draws in fans using its brand voice, then, it guides customers to pages with more information (telling them something they don’t already know). Most products aren’t easily explained in a social media post, so piquing interest and then providing an alternative source of information (usually through your website) really is the best way to connect.
When communicating with your audience as a manufacturing company, remember that it’s a process. It will take time to figure out what works best for your brand. But by keeping content fresh and continually trying new tactics, consumers will have the opportunity to respond and build trust in your product, allowing you to find your niche market.