As we march through 2021, social trends such as TikTok video and Instagram ads continue to change the B2C landscape. But what about trends that impact B2B companies — specifically social media marketing for industrial manufacturers selling highly considered goods and services?
Wait...what? You’re not convinced that industrial social media marketing or maybe a social media presence, in general, is necessary? On the contrary, social media could be one of the most underused digital marketing strategies for manufacturers and other complex industries. It’s especially true when it comes to attracting sales-qualified leads and your efforts to combat the skilled labor shortage.
There are several social trends that can help industrial marketers create, optimize, and promote lead-generating content. Here are six trends to keep top-of-mind:
- Video is King
- YouTube Isn’t Just for Cat Videos
- Think Mobile First
- Incorporate Messenger Chatbots and Real-Time Conversations
- Establish Social Sharing Protocols
- Focus on Continuous Improvement
1. Video is King
You’ve probably heard of the phrase “content is king,” but it’s video content that reigns supreme on social. Consider this: By next year, 82% of all online content will be video content.1
And it’s not video for the sake of having video. 87% of marketers indicate that video positively impacts ROI.
That’s an impressive number. It’s also logical since social video generates 1200% more shares than text-and-image content alone. What’s more, 95% of visitors claim better message retention when watching video versus reading text.2
Industrial manufacturers have a wealth of opportunities to use video on their websites. For example, explainer videos attract 96% of people who want to learn more about a product or service.2 Live video is also hugely popular on social media platforms. 82% of users would rather watch live video than read social media posts.2
Let’s not forget the power of the webinar to create thought leader value for manufacturers. It’s also a perfect opportunity to capture their contact information and take steps to nurture them into becoming loyal customers.
Your mind is likely whirling with ideas of how to leverage video for regularly posting on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. All are valid platforms, but you could be missing out on using the #2 search engine in the world...
2. YouTube Isn’t Just For Cat Videos
Globally, YouTube is second only to Google in terms of search engine popularity. That makes this platform a powerful tool for industrial social media, especially for a manufacturing company offering complex products and services.
One YouTube video can succinctly convey what may be too difficult or lengthy to capture in written blog posts. Plus, there’s the shareability factor. It is extremely easy to upload YouTube videos to other social media platforms so you can better reach your target audience.
Leveraging YouTube social media for manufacturers isn’t confined to explainer videos and product demos. Think of the possibilities of creating and sharing customer testimonials, success stories, facility tours, event announcements, and more! The fact that there’s no requirement to invest in expensive video equipment to use it makes YouTube accessible and easy. You can film and upload on everyday devices like smartphones and tablets.
3. Think Mobile First
Social platforms like Instagram were designed specifically for mobile. However, now 81% of Facebook users and 57% of LinkedIn users also access the platforms from their mobile devices.3,4
This crossover makes it crucial for industrial manufacturers to optimize their social posts and content for desktop AND mobile. Here are a few things to keep an eye on:
- Make sure shared images are approximately 1,200 pixels wide x 630 pixels tall
- Limit each post to fewer than 150 characters to avoid truncated messages
- Remove the URL from posts once a link preview populates and also consider using link shorteners
- Ensure links are sending visitors to pages optimized for mobile on your website
Pro tip: bookmark this handy resource from Sprout Social to keep current with image sizes for various social platforms.
You need to make sure you’re creating a quality user experience for every viewer of your brand pages and social posts. Why? Any visitor could be one of your potential customers. A mobile-first mindset in industrial social media is a great place to start.
4. Incorporate Messenger Chatbots and Real-Time Conversations
Integrating chatbots with conversations software like Facebook Messenger accomplishes a few primary goals. It strengthens customer service, meets customer expectations for real-time accessibility, and gives you a place to acknowledge feedback.
Tools like HubSpot’s Conversation Inbox provide an excellent structure for managing and making the most of messages received on social media. With them, you can integrate social listening, build chatflows, and create a high-touch chatbot-driven customer experience.
An added benefit of using chatbots and conversational sales platforms is streamlined lead generation and qualification. When your sales team knows exactly how prospects found you and what content they viewed, the potential to grow your business increases significantly.
5. Establish Social Sharing Protocols
One of the best ways to promote your high-quality technical content is when your team shares it on social media.
Rather than simply sharing this content on company social pages, you also must set up internal social sharing protocols. Ask your employees to engage with content by sharing blog articles, new advanced content pieces, community involvement announcements, job opportunities, etc.
To learn more about the importance of employee advocacy in social media and how to inspire your team to get involved, read this:
Employee Advocacy: The Key to Social Media Marketing Strategies
Content marketing trends point toward greater demand for authenticity. Truthfully presenting companies’ corporate cultures and community commitment is essential.5 Teams that support company social media efforts provide transparency and foster credibility.
Instagram and Facebook are ideal for these culture and community posts. Individual advocates put a “face” on your brand — which resonates well with customers, prospects, and potential recruits.
6. Focus on Continuous Improvement
Whether you’re just forming an industrial social media strategy or have an established presence, be sure to heed analytics. Adjust accordingly to promoting content that is reaching farthest, sparking engagement, and generating results. Social goals may vary — lead generation, brand awareness, hiring — but continuous improvement cycles support and generally make all efforts more effective.
Looking for more ways to improve your business growth results? Use our toolkit to evaluate opportunities to improve your inbound marketing, sales, and service.
1Influence Marketing Hub, Social Media Trends for 2021 and Beyond, May 1, 2021
2Word Stream, 75 Staggering Video Marketing Statistics for 2021, May 10, 2021
3Statista, Facebook users reach by device 2021, Undated
4LinkedIn, 10 Surprising Stats You Didn’t Know about Marketing on LinkedIn, Undated
5Forbes, 16 Big Upcoming Social Media Trends And How Marketers Can Use Them, February 11, 2021