It’s no secret that generating leads is a hot topic, year after year. It’s a hard discussion because the old ways of knocking on doors or cold calling are outdated, and customer behaviour and buying cycles are changing, constantly. So, where does that leave us?
While some tactics are dwindling, the new way of breaking through B2B sales for manufacturers means taking advantage of social media. Using channels such as LinkedIn is a great way to connect and reach prospects while also educating your audience on how you can help improve their bottom line.
It’s no surprise that social media usage has grown and evolved in purpose. And from research to industry interest, manufacturing prospects are using these online channels to find relevant content – every day.
Research from Forrester shows that:
- 74% of business buyers conduct more than half of their research online before making an offline purchase.
So how can you build your online presence by using social media? Here are our 3 tried and tested best practices to help:
Create a wish list
Create a list that includes companies and job titles you would want to have a chat with. And don’t stop there, consider influencers in the buying cycle. Due to the complexity of a manufacturing project, there are various key stakeholders that are impacted when they switch suppliers or are looking for an industrial solution. This is the first step towards what is called, Account Based Marketing – which you can learn more about here.
But for this exercise, start creating a wish list of 10 - 20 dream companies then 3 – 5 job titles you’d like to reach out to. Once you have that, then use your social channels to search for the profiles.
Then like, share and engage with their content whenever possible. Additionally, use this effort to understand what entices your prospects and take that knowledge to create relevant content of your own. Draw in their engagements. This will speed up relationship building.
Create a content bank
Ever heard the saying, “curse of knowledge”? That doesn’t apply in manufacturing. Customers want to know they are in the hands of subject matter experts as it usually results in quicker lead times and bespoke options. So, why not apply what you know and turn it into valuable content.
We are aware that writing an article for all to read can be daunting but remember, you are the expert. Writing content is about educating and enlightening your audience to new possibilities. If you’re looking for a few ideas, take a look at headlines presented in The Manufacturer.
LinkedIn articles are personal to your profile so they can be less formal and link to supporting research or company content. It’s a great chance to be conversational and write about what you are most confident about. Additionally, you can tie your expertise to a service or product your company offers so it creates an extra route to your business website.
Create engaging posts
There are three fundamentals when writing a post:
- URL (web link)
If you’ve found a blog (or want to promote your own article), think about the value behind the text. Ask yourself, ‘what impact does this have on my prospect?’ and the response should be used as the text of the post. Keep it short and simple. Social media channels are saturated and most B2B employees are busy.
Once the text is written, cherry-pick words that resonate with your audience. For example, if the content relates to the healthcare sector then within your text apply a # in front of #healthcare, #health, #medicalsupplies, etc. This will emphasise keywords while also making your content easier to find for people who are searching.
And the final touch – adding a URL to the destination you want the prospect to go to. Now, post.
All-in-all, social media is not meant to take the human aspect of conversations. The more approachable you are in your posts, content and engagement – the higher the success rate will be. If you need additional support, our team offer personalised social media training to suit your sales team’s needs, and with our in-depth market knowledge, we can make you or your team social selling experts.