In true social media fashion, manufacturing companies like the idea of using Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and other popular social platforms to support their marketing efforts. But from a strategic standpoint, industry leaders can find it challenging to execute on this front.
Manufacturing companies often come in with the preconceived notion their products simply don’t have the visual appeal that social media calls for. And there tends to be a belief that promotions won’t have the pull to influence the likes of product managers, engineers or other members of their target market — if they can reach that audience in the first place.
The good news is there are plenty of examples of manufacturers who have gotten social media right, leveraging the unique features of various social platforms and generating an impressive number of followers and engagement. As you think through your own social media strategy, you can use these wins as inspiration for your efforts.
Instagram is on a significant growth trajectory. In 2019, an estimated 814.5 million people worldwide were on the platform, and by 2023, users are set to reach nearly 1.2 billion.
While Instagram may be a domain for influencers to display their fabulous travels, fashion or artwork, the platform also serves as a visual medium that manufacturers can use to showcase their own version of “art”.
Take, for example, Synergy Manufacturing — a manufacturer and distributor of high-end automotive performance components. On the surface, these products may not scream excitement. But when you view the company’s Instagram page, you’ll find that suspension systems, skid plates and bumpers can be visually appealing when placed in the right context. Rather than merely posting photos of components as they come off the assembly line, Synergy showcases their products through photos of the vehicles on which they are installed.
Recognizing the value of motion in their social strategy, Synergy goes the extra mile to post videos of the vehicles as well as commentary from the company’s experts — packing a punch of education and entertainment for followers. It also capitalizes on the platform’s Stories Highlights to promote testimonials from satisfied customers as a means of social proof, as well as behind-the-scenes manufacturing footage to educate consumers on how the products are built.
Twitter is known as the platform for breaking news. While not every company is dishing out news that attracts millions of people in seconds, it’s still a great medium for sharing the latest and greatest industry and company news with your target audience, especially when they’re shopping for solutions to their challenges. After all, Twitter is the number one discovery platform, and that mindset lends itself to influence and buying decisions.
This approach aligns with the Twitter feed for Kurt Manufacturing, a manufacturer of metal components and products for the aerospace, healthcare and energy industries (to name a few examples). The company regularly publishes content to update their audience on new equipment they’ve installed in-house to support product development, while promoting new machines in their product line-up, using video and other mediums to educate shop owners on their features, benefits and use cases.
We're excited to share that Kurt Workholding is in the process of installing a new flexible manufacturing system that includes a @MazakCorp HCN-6000 Horizontal Machine and a Palletech System with a 28-station pallet pool. Visit our website to learn more: https://t.co/9BoIwjMtoO pic.twitter.com/haYZDuDbbk— Kurt Manufacturing (@KurtMfg) March 24, 2022
While Kurt Manufacturing makes it a point to publish newsworthy, product-related content, they also use their Twitter presence to educate customers and prospects on broader business initiatives. One recent example: becoming certified employee-owned. Using photos of real Kurt employees working to make best-in-class components and products, the company has published various posts that promote this differentiator and the values it supports.
You might assume that a manufacturer with a well-known brand name like Caterpillar wouldn’t see the need to invest heavily in social media marketing. But the reality is that the manufacturer of equipment for the construction, forestry and agriculture industries is making the investment — and doing so in creative, inspiring ways.
One social platform on which Caterpillar shines is YouTube, where it showcases its giant yellow machines in action. And we’re not just talking about run-of-the-mill use cases. The manufacturer has dedicated a whole section of their YouTube channel to Cat® Trials, which is dedicated to showcasing the incredible (and fun to watch!) feats their machines can accomplish. Case in point: the construction of the world’s tallest sand castle — a video that’s garnered almost 3,500,000 views since 2014.
While these videos are part of Caterpillar's “secret sauce” to YouTube engagement, their success also ties back to the sheer variety of videos they provide. Product demos, safety advice, maintenance how-tos and customer testimonials are all bundled into the YouTube channel’s offerings, providing valuable information to prospects and customers alike.
Despite some hesitations industry leaders may have, social media is for manufacturing companies — and these examples are proof that, with the right strategy in place, there is a payoff. Backed by design and messaging that resonates with your ideal audience, you can boost your brand awareness among prospects, drive more traffic to your website that can turn into valuable leads and build loyalty with the customers you already serve.
Over the years, Kuno Creative has worked with many manufacturing companies to plan and execute digital marketing strategies that deliver results — social media included. If you could use a partner to support or accelerate your marketing efforts, we want to hear how we can help. To get the conversation started, request a free consultation.