Social Media for manufacturers can be tricky. Many are trying it out with the “Broccoli Mentality” – “I don’t really like it, but I’m eating it because I’ve heard it’s good for me.”

But Social Media – whether it’s Twitter, or LinkedIn, your own Web site/Blog, other Blogs, Forums – only work if you accept that you have to be social. Gone are the days of trumpeting a message to the masses and watching the lemmings come shuffling in the door. Conversations are important, and they lead to deeper exchanges. Just like relationships.

Here are 5 tips to help you get the most out of Social Media for your shop or manufacturing business.

  1. Engage – Have conversations. Don’t just talk. Listen. Exchange. Share information. Offer advice. Accept advice. It’s a dialogue, not a monologue. And be prepared to lead prospects or customers that engage you through Social Media to the parts of your organization they’re looking for – sales, customer service, engineering, etc. Social Media for business is the new receptionist. On steroids. Don’t just talk ‘at’ people via Social Media. Listen. Engage. Collaborate. Exchange. You’ll be more successful and see greater ROI.
  2. Don’t just talk about your products or services – Share insights about your industry, the economy, manufacturing in your region AND in your business. No one wants to talk to a one-dimensional person for very long, online or in actual reality. Build credibility as a well-rounded, knowledgable professional. Everyone wants to do business with those. If you only talk about your products or services, you’re leaving money on the table.
  3. Write for and talk to the people you want to do business with – Good writers don’t write for other writers. They write for their audience. They build loyalty. So can you. Know what makes a good prospect for your business. Form your content and message for them. Not the sales department or the CEO of your company.
  4. Be consistent – Engage social media regularly, but not necessarily frequently. It doesn’t have to be “all you, all the time.” A little everyday – some posts, some tweets, some engagement – adds up over time.
  5. Don’t worry about numbers, worry about quality – Don’t measure success primarily by how many visitors or followers you get. Like your personal friends, it’s better to have a few you can count on than a lot you don’t know well – or that don’t know you. Working with a few high-quality prospects means greater return on social media investment, and that’s especially true in manufacturing where higher levels of specificity and technical prowess lead to success through long-term relationships and profits.