Find the Perfect Balance of Content in Your Marketing Efforts

Now that most industrial marketers are deploying a content management strategy, they’ve also discovered how much work it is to produce and publish content. There’s also the question of what type of content you should put out there.

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Content types fit into one of three general categories. Thought leadership content that your company produces. Curated content that others produce and you share with your audience. And promotional content that focuses on your own products and services. Each type has its place in your content mix. There are no rigid rules about the mix, but we think a balance and appropriate breakdown looks something like this:

  • 30 percent thought leadership content
  • 50 percent curated content
  • 20 percent promotional content.

Thought Leadership Content

Thought leadership is original content produced by your internal team. It’s usually educational in nature. It’s always relevant to your audience. Thought leadership is powerful stuff because it:

  • Demonstrates your expertise in specific areas
  • Showcases your opinion and point of view on issues
  • Builds customer and market perceptions of your brand

Thought leadership content is also the hardest to produce. It requires the most resources in terms of generating ideas, writing, illustrating and more. It requires the most time and money. But you need to produce thought leadership as part of your content marketing strategy, and if only thirty percent of your content is thought leadership, you should be able to handle the effort especially if you repurpose your content in multiple formats. For example, a white paper can be the basis for a blog post or a product demo can evolve into a YouTube video.

Curated Content

To curate means to pull together, organize, sift through and select for presentation. Curating content from other sources and sharing it with your audience offers a number of benefits:

  • Requires fewer resources on your part to pull together
  • Faster to get it out because you don’t need to produce it
  • Gives your audience other perspectives
  • Also builds thought leadership because of what you choose to share and how you share it

If you’ve ever retweeted and commented on a link in Twitter, or shared an article on Facebook and added your commentary, then you’ve curated content. You’ve also gone one step further by adding context for your audience with your comment on what you’re sharing. That little extra—a comment added to the share—can help put your own spin on curated content.

You can easily discover content to curate. Follow other industry leaders and industry news sites. Track relevant hashtags on Twitter. Use Google Alerts to be notified when specific keywords appear in the news. Evaluate what you find and then share with your own audience what you consider to be the most useful and relevant content. If 50 percent of your content is curated, you’re letting others do a lot of the heavy lifting for you—and you’re working smarter.

Promotional Content

Because you share thought leadership and curated content you “earn” the right with your audience to publish promotional content. And by keeping the mix at 20 percent of your overall content, you are unlikely to anger your readers for occasionally tooting your own horn. They’re following you for a reason: they’re interested in what you have to say.

You need promotional content mixed in because you need ways to talk about new and updated products, or enhanced and expanded services. You need to get your target audience interested in what you sell. You need to make offers, generate engagement opportunities and keep your sales and marketing teams excited. And you can do all of this through content marketing, as long as you keep the percentage down.

Even promotional content can offer value. If you know your audience’s desires well, you can make your promotional content more targeted and increase the likelihood it will be accepted.

Where, What and How Often to Share

You have three basic choices on where to share content: your social media channels, corporate website or blog and e-newsletters. That’s a start. You may want to look at webinars, online events, banner advertising, press releases and third-party list rental to help promote your content to a wider audience.

What to share includes your own or third-party curated articles, blog posts, white papers, eBooks, presentations, videos, infographics and more.

How often should you share? As often as you can as long as your audience continues wanting to hear from you. If you find comments, likes and shares increasing on your content, you’ve got your audience’s interest. If people are dropping off, you’re sharing too much or what you’re sharing isn’t relevant. Find out what’s right for you.

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How do you find the right balance for your content marketing? What tips or strategies would you pass along to your peers in industrial marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Five Ways Your Sales Team Can Effectively Use Social Media

Social media has an established presence in the industrial sector. Technical professionals use social media to search for contacts, keep up on news and technologies, find product reviews and new suppliers, and for other work-related activities. If your sales team isn’t using social media yet as a tool to help uncover engagement opportunities, you can get them started.

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While not a one-to-one tactic such as email correspondence or a phone call, social media has a number of advantages as a B2B selling tool. It fits with the way buyers conduct research today: They go online and use a variety of digital resources to become informed about solutions that can meet their needs. Social media is also asynchronous, which means it is non-disruptive; you can use it to establish connections and help educate customers and prospects without interrupting them. In addition, intelligent and judicious use of social media can help establish a salesperson’s credibility and authority, and help to raise the visibility of your company and its offerings.

However, many salespeople don’t know how to effectively use social media in support of their selling efforts. It’s marketing’s job to educate salespeople and make them comfortable using social media. Here are five ideas to make it easier:

1. Develop internal guidelines for posting, sharing and responding on social media channels, and train your salespeople on the guidelines. Important topics to cover include frequency of posting, how to respond to tricky questions, how to avoid getting into online arguments, what company information can be posted and what is confidential, and where to find relevant content to share. It’s a good idea to hold social media training sessions, such as a “lunch-and-learn” or internal webinar.

2. Educate salespeople who aren’t yet comfortable using social media on a simple three-step social media process: find, listen and engage. Salespeople should start by finding their customers and prospects, as well as relevant industry sites, by seeking them out on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google +, Facebook and other social platforms. Next, they should “listen” by following their customers and prospects on social channels to discover their interests and concerns. Finally, salespeople should begin to engage customers, prospects and industry experts by responding to their posts, participating in discussions, answering questions and creating their own original posts.

3. Your sales team is busy; they can’t use every social media platform, but you should encourage them to use the ones they are comfortable with and that their customers and prospects use. Hint: Your entire sales team should taking advantage of LinkedIn; it’s the most popular social media platform for engineers — 74 percent of technical professionals have LinkedIn accounts.

4. If salespeople use a social channel, they should engage with it to its fullest. For example, on LinkedIn, they should keep an up-to-date profile that includes information and links about your company and its products and services. They can use LinkedIn to find and connect with key decision makers at customer and prospect companies—especially important when multiple people are involved in making a purchase decision. Your salespeople can follow customer and prospect pages (as well as your own company’s page), join relevant groups, and participate in discussions by adding their expertise and answering questions that demonstrate their problem-solving knowledge. At the same time, it’s important to be a helpful participant without shilling for your own products and services.

If a salesperson uses Twitter, they can follow their customers and prospects, respond to their news, and retweet their news to their own followers. They can also follow industry news and retweet it to their followers. With any social platform, the more you use it, the wider your network and influence will grow, increasing your visibility and reputation—all benefits for a salesperson.

5. As a marketer, you should provide your sales team with content that is ready to share on their social media accounts. This might include offers to register for webinars, links to whitepapers or relevant articles, new videos, press releases, blog posts and more. Not only are you helping your sales team with some of the most challenging aspects of social media use—generating ideas and deciding what to post—you’re also maintaining some control over the message.

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How does your sales team use social media to drive engagement opportunities? How do you help them utilize social media? What tips or strategies would you pass along to your peers in industrial marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Untapped Potential: How to Recruit Social Media Ambassadors within Your Company

This year, as part of its annual “Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector” survey, IHS GlobalSpec asked technical professionals a new question: How often do you share or post news or information about your company to your social networks?

Their answers reveal an untapped opportunity for marketers to expand their social media reach by empowering technical professionals in their own companies to participate more. Currently, the vast majority of technical professionals (78 percent) never post news or information about their company to their individual social networks, and only 15 percent post as often as a few times a year—yet the majority of this audience uses social media for work.

26  How often do you share or post news or information about your company to your social networks

This can change. It should change. Because if you can get the technical professionals—and sales people, customer service reps and others— within your company more involved, you will gain a group of social media ambassadors who can help spread the word and increase the visibility of your brand, products and services.

In this era of competitive content marketing, the more people you have on your team to get the word out, the greater the advantage you gain in winning mindshare with your audience. Plus, the ambassador model of social media marketing results in free exposure, expands your reach beyond your own marketing database, and carries with it the cache that each post is being personally recommended by a professional in your company.

Make it easy
How do you get those 78 percent who never post news or information about their company on their social networks to start participating? By making it easy for them.

We’re not saying it doesn’t take some effort—is there anything worthwhile that doesn’t take effort?—but you don’t have to place an undue burden on your ambassadors. For instance, the best thing you can do, and which also gives you the most control over keeping the message consistent and on target, is to provide the content and status updates for your ambassadors to share.

You could create a central repository where all social media content resides. Add entire posts to the repository: headline, copy, link, etc. All your ambassadors need to do is copy and paste. And depending on capabilities, you can organize sort social media content by its subject matter, target audience, best distribution channel or other attribute. For example, sales people would want quick and easy access to status updates that are relevant to particular products or customer challenges that might help them in their sales efforts.

Notify your ambassadors
Whenever you have a new social media status update to post, notify your ambassadors that it exists and let them know where they can find it. Keep in constant communication with your extended team. Suggest when and where they should post the status update. The easier you make it for them, the more likely they are to do it.

You can also create add-ons to email signature lines that include the latest status updates. Ambassadors can simply update their email signatures on a scheduled basis. You can also create signature add-ons that include social media updates around specific topics, such as an upcoming event, an important industry announcement, or the launching of new products and services.

Make your program highly visible
If you want to recruit social media ambassadors from within your own company, you’ll have to visit them and pitch your program. Depending on the size of your company, you might customize your pitch and go from department to department, or you might introduce your concept to everyone at the same time. One of those free ‘lunch & learn’ sessions tends to draw a crowd.

You might consider creating a formal program and ask technical professionals and others to sign up to participate. And this being social media, you will want to track who’s participating and at what level, who’s achieving the greatest reach with their efforts, who’s “this week’s winner.” Recognize the top performing ambassadors. Thank them for their efforts. Give them some social media press of their own.

Provide guidelines
You might choose to tightly control the distribution of status updates and the outgoing message. Or you can let your ambassadors take social media into their own hands. In either case, you’ll want to develop and communicate a set of social media guidelines for ambassadors to follow when posting news or information about your company to their individual social media accounts.

Important topics to cover include how to respond to any negative comments (no fighting, no arguing), how to avoid disclosing confidential information, and recognizing what’s appropriate (or not) to share on social media.

There’s untapped potential within your own company to extend your reach through social media. Go tap it by recruiting your technical professionals to be social media ambassadors.

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Have you recruited social media ambassadors in your company or encouraged your technical professionals to share company news and information? What tips or strategies would you pass along to your peers in industrial marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Webinar Recap: Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector

Social media has made an impact in B2B marketing. According to Advertising Age, 58 percent of B2B marketers are increasing their social media spending this year, ranking it fourth among tactics with spending increases. Marketers are not only investing money, they are investing time, with 62 percent using social media for six hours or more each week and 36 percent for 11 or more hours, according to the Social Media Examiner.

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As spending grows and you commit valuable time to social media, this channel’s role becomes increasingly important in your marketing strategy. It’s essential to know how to do social media right. The recent webinar, Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector, shows how social media is being used by your target audience of technical professionals, presents the results from our fourth annual social media usage survey of technical professionals, and offers recommendations on how you can use this data in your social media planning.

Watch the webinar on demand.

Below are some of the highlights of the webinar.

How technical professionals use social media

  • The majority of technical professionals—56 percent—spend less than one hour per week on social media for work-related purposes. That still leaves a sizeable portion of this audience that is on social media for more than an hour each week.
  • For the most part, technical professionals are looking for content on social media: keeping up on company news, new technologies and products. But they’re also looking for you: 41 percent use social media to find new suppliers.
  • Technical professionals of all ages use social media, with some differences. Those under age 35 are more apt to use social media to find a new job, network and seek expertise, while older workers use social media for more traditional purposes such as reading news and product reviews.
  • Overall, technical professionals are passive users of social media. They tend to read and watch rather than post and participate. The most popular social media activity is watching video, with 27 percent watching a video a few times a month, whereas only 14 percent post a comment.

Preferred social media platforms

  • LinkedIn continues to be the most popular social media platform among technical professionals, with 74 percent having an account. Sixty-one percent have a Facebook account and 41 percent have a Google Plus account.
  • LinkedIn usage has shown growth every year for the past four years. Google Plus is also growing. Facebook and Twitter remain flat, but a large portion of technical professionals still use Facebook.
  • LinkedIn: 69 percent use LinkedIn to search for contacts and 47 percent to read product and industry news. Seventy-nine percent belong to at least one group, primarily to read discussions (62 percent). Only 27 percent actually participate.
  • Facebook: With the line between work and personal life continuing to blur, Facebook is not just for personal use. Top work-related activities on Facebook are following businesses and reading/researching content.
  • Twitter: 73 percent follow businesses and 27 percent read/research content.
  • Google Plus: 80 percent follow businesses and 25 percent participate in discussions.
  • Video: Overall, 48 percent of technical professionals use YouTube or other video sharing sites for work, although among 18-34 year olds, the percentage is 58. The most popular types of videos among technical professionals are product demos, how-to videos and training videos.

The value of digital resources

  • Your customers spend an increasing amount of time online using a variety of digital resources, but when researching work-related purchases, social media channels are not nearly as valued as other established digital channels. The top resources have remained consistent over the years: search engines, online catalogs, supplier websites and GlobalSpec.com.
  • Technical professionals report that social media is not more valuable because it is not efficient, too noisy and not reliable. Technical professionals also say it’s hard to find useful content on social media. In addition, about a quarter of workers are blocked from using social media at work; using a mobile device offers a workaround for that problem.
  • A key takeaway is that to be successful with social media you must deliver the content technical professionals want. This will help elevate you above the noise and become more valuable to your target audience.

Recommendations for suppliers

  • It’s worth using social media as a marketing channel; however, don’t rely on it too heavily or divert resources from more effective and established digital channels.
  • To get the most out of your efforts, integrate social media into your overall marketing strategy. Establish a vision, strategy and goals for your social media initiatives.
  • Tie your social media efforts to marketing objectives. Research shows that social media is best used for brand awareness and thought leadership.
  • Get more of your organization involved in spreading your message through social media. Seventy-eight percent of technical professionals say they have never posted news or information about their company on their social networks. Create guidelines and rules for using social media. Make it easy by providing content for your sales, customer service and other colleagues to post.
  • Gain a more in-depth look at social media usage by your target audience and how you can most effectively incorporate social media into your overall marketing efforts.

View the recorded webinar.

Content Marketing Marketing Strategy Social Media Thought Leadership

Marketing Roundup for March 14, 2014

Here are some of the more insightful and informative blog posts and articles we came across this week. If you have others to share, post them in the comments section below.

Happy Reading!

Would You Rather be Social or Interesting?
JeffBullas.com
Should your marketing be social or interesting? Or, perhaps, both?

Who Says Email Marketing Trumps Social Media? Marketers Do.
SocialMediopolis
Email still trumps social media. Not convinced? Then read this article from and you’ll know why.

Five Types of Winning Marketing Content
Search Engine People
Some good ideas on content to include in your marketing.

Delight! How to Get it in Your Content Marketing
SocialMediopolis
Here’s what you can do to delight your prospects and customers with content marketing.

Taming the Social Media Marketing Beast
JeffBullas.com
Social media is unrivaled in its power to publish, market and communicate to a global community in real time. So how do you manage it effectively?

How To Set Measurable Goals for Your Social Media Marketing
Unbounce
If you’re asking yourself, “how do I measure my efforts on social media?” Here are some great answers.

What’s the One Most Important Skill for a Content Marketer?
Top Rank Online Marketing
You need an array of digital marketing skills to be successful but one stands above the rest.

5 Techniques for Generating Content Ideas
Search Engine People
You need to create fresh, relevant content on a consistent basis. But how can you do that without running out of ideas? Here are some techniques to get your creativity flowing.

Content Marketing Marketing Roundup Social Media

Marketing Chart: Technical Professionals with Social Media Accounts, 2010-2013

For the recent Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector research report, technical professionals were about the platforms where they have accounts.

In 2013, 74 percent are on LinkedIn, 61 percent had an account on Facebook, 41 percent have signed up for Google + and 17 percent are on Twitter.

Over the years, however, LinkedIn has surged in popularity and Google + is on the rise while Facebook and Twitter have remained flat.

Technical Professionals With Social Media Accounts 2010 13

View larger version of this image.

Charts Social Media

New Research: How Technical Professionals Use Social Media

Results from IHS GlobalSpec’s annual survey of technical professionals and their use of social media are now available. While many larger studies have been conducted on social media and B2B marketing, this is the only research specifically focused on the manufacturing and engineering communities.

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Download the research report, “Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector,” to get survey findings, practical tips and recommendations to help you evaluate your social media efforts.

The major conclusion is that social media has an established presence in the industrial sector and the use of social media by technical professionals has stabilized and is holding steady. However, technical professionals use social media primarily in passive ways. They prefer to read or watch content on social media platforms as opposed to actively post, participate in discussions or create content of their own.

Preferred social media platforms
The majority of technical professionals (56 percent) spend less than one hour per week using social media for work-related purposes. The most popular social media platform among this group is the professional networking site LinkedIn, with 74 percent having an account. Sixty-one percent have a Facebook account, and 41 percent have a Google+ account, although Facebook usage has stagnated while Google+ continues to grow. Forty-eight percent make use of YouTube or other video sharing platforms. Twitter lags behind with just 17 percent adoption.

Reasons for using social media
The biggest reason technical professionals use social media is to stay up-to-date on the latest company, product and technology news (50 percent). Forty-nine percent use social media to find and read product reviews, and 41 percent to find new suppliers.

Facebook and Google+ technical professionals will follow other businesses and groups within their industry. On LinkedIn, in addition to searching for contacts, they will join groups and read discussions, read product/industry news and search for suppliers. On video sites, they will watch product demo, how-to videos and tutorials.

Most of these uses would be considered early stage buy cycle activities centered on research and education. Suppliers need to build high brand visibility in order to be found by their audience during these stages and on these platforms.

Social media usage varies with age
Older workers and younger workers use social media differently. Not surprisingly, younger technical professionals under age 35 use all social media platforms more than older technical professionals do. The lone exception is LinkedIn, which has higher usage among the over 35 crowd.

Those over age 34 tend to use social media for traditional tasks such as finding product reviews and reading news. Younger technical professionals are more active on social media; they post, share and participate more than older workers. Younger technical professionals are also more likely to use social media to look for new job opportunities.

Social media lags behind other digital resources in usefulness
When it comes to researching a work-related purpose, technical professionals prefer established digital channels to social media. General search engines, online catalogs and supplier websites are the top three resources used to research a work-related purchase. No social media platform cracked the top ten.

The fact that these resources are more valuable than social media to technical professionals is the main reason (reported by 62 percent) why social media is not used more for work-related purposes. Technical professionals state there is “too much noise and not enough substance” in social media (52%). Users also report they can’t find valuable content, which likely contributes to the “too much noise, not enough substance.” The takeaway for suppliers is that you will likely achieve greater success with social media if you can deliver useful information to your audience of technical professionals.

An opportunity for industrial marketers
The survey asked technical professionals about how the companies they work for participate in social media. It’s interesting to compare how technical professionals think their company is using social media with actual participation. For example, just 24 percent of technical professionals say their company uses LinkedIn. According to the “2013 Trends in Industrial Marketing” research report, 72 percent of industrial companies participate on LinkedIn.

Also, 78 percent of technical professionals have never posted news or information about their own companies to their social networks. There seems to be an opportunity for industrial marketers to educate their own technical professionals on how their company uses social media. In addition, recruiting your own internal team to help spread the word on social media can be a viable strategy.

Get your copy of the report
Download your complimentary copy of the research report, “Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector.” Survey results are presented in chart and graph form, along with analysis and recommendations on how to best use social media to achieve your marketing goals. Don’t miss out on this valuable resource for industrial marketers.

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How do you use social media as part of your marketing mix? What tips or strategies would you pass along to your peers in industrial marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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How to Use Social Media with a Purpose

Social media use among technical professionals is holding steady, and social media should have a place in your marketing strategy. Recent research shows that the majority of industrial companies now use social media, yet many still do not have a clear purpose, goals, or means of defining or measuring success. Wherever your organization is on the social media scale—ignoring, listening, or regularly contributing—you’re at the right place to step back for a moment to assess your strategy and to plan a logical, effective path forward.

Set realistic goals and objectives

Social media is oriented towards interaction, dialog, education and networking, and therefore may not be a direct driver of sales. But before you shut down your social media efforts, you should realize that technical professionals regularly participate in social media and in particular find it useful at the early stages of their buying cycle.

Recent research shows that the top three uses of social media among technical professionals are to keep up with the latest company news/products/technologies, to find product reviews, and to find new suppliers. These are all activities related to the early buy cycle when customers are engaged in gathering information and surveying the supplier landscape.
So if you are investing in social media in order to generate fast leads and sales, you may be disappointed. However, if your social media goals are to build thought leadership, foster a community, and generate brand awareness that will lead to engagement opportunities, then you may experience a high level of success.

Hang out with your customers

Doesn’t it seem like there’s always the next latest and greatest social media platform getting all the attention? It’s hard to keep up. And it’s almost impossible to spread your social media efforts across every platform available. That’s why it’s important to know which social media channels technical professionals like to use and to concentrate your efforts on one or a few of those channels.

According to IHS GlobalSpec’s Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector research report, LinkedIn is the most popular social media channel among technical professionals. Facebook and Google+ are next in usage, although in the past few years Facebook usage has stagnated and Google+ usage has increased among technical professionals. Twitter has yet to see widespread adoption with this audience.

Use this information to help direct your social media efforts. Establish company pages on these channels if you haven’t already. Post news and content to it. Invite customers and prospects to follow you. You’ll learn pretty quickly the types of content that resonate and you can start customizing each channel’s content to its audience.

Deliver Useful Content on Social Media

One of the biggest challenges technical professionals report about using social media for work-related purposes is that there is “too much noise and not enough substance.” The company that can rise to the top in social media is the company that provides “substance” in the form of useful information about new technologies, how to solve problems, relevant news and more. Use social media to deliver this type of content. You can post and link to white papers, articles, webinar invitations, interviews, news alerts and more.

Video is also a popular medium for social media users. Technical professionals use YouTube and other video sharing sites for work-related purposes. They’re looking for product demos, tutorials, how-to’s, and training videos. Establish an account on a video-sharing site and link to all your videos from your social media platforms.

Use Metrics that Matter to Measure Success

Technical professionals are passive users of social media. That means they prefer watching a video to creating and posting one. They prefer reading discussions more than contributing to them. Their most common activity on LinkedIn is to search for contacts. On Facebook and Google+, it’s to find and follow other groups or businesses within their industry.

By understanding what your audience is doing on social media, you will be able to define the metrics that are important to track. In this regard, the number of relevant people following your company on social media is what counts. If this number is increasing, you’re probably doing it right, and are increasing your brand visibility and gaining a reputation as a thought leader.

Integrate with other Marketing Efforts

Social media is one component of your marketing strategy, and like all components, needs to be integrated into your overall plan. Technical professionals still consider other online resources more valuable than social media for researching a work-related purpose: online catalogs, general search engines, supplier websites and GlobalSpec.com all rank high. Therefore, make sure that your social media presence is integrated with these other marketing channels. For example, links to your social platforms should be highly visible on your website. Or you can take advantage of integrating your social posts and videos on your GlobalSpec.com page.

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How do you use social media for industrial marketing? How do you measure your efforts? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Social Media

Why Industrial Marketers are Dissatisfied with Social Media Efforts—and What to Do About It

Social media has found its place in the manufacturing sector. According to the 2013 Trends in Industrial Marketing survey, 60 percent of industrial marketers are using social media. LinkedIn, Facebook and video sharing sites like YouTube are the top three social media channels.

Yet even though a majority of marketers are incorporating social media into their plans, only a paltry 20 percent are satisfied with their social media efforts. Which means 80 percent are struggling, floundering or unhappy. Why is this happening? And what can you do about it?

Setting Expectations
One reason industrial marketers may be dissatisfied with their social media efforts may have to do with unrealistic expectations. If you’re using social media in hopes of generating a flood of ready-to-buy engagement opportunities, you’re going to be disappointed. While your target audience uses social media to follow their favorite brands and companies as well as keep up with the latest news and technologies, they still rely more on other digital channels such as online catalogs, supplier websites, and e-newsletters to search and discover products, parts, services and suppliers.

Setting realistic goals for social media and a having clear idea of what you want to accomplish will help with expectations. In the industrial sector, social media is probably best suited for building brand awareness, distributing content and establishing thought leadership than it is for lead generation. If you focus on these objectives and measure results in these terms, you might find you are doing a better job meeting your expectations. It’s not that you’re lowering your expectations, you’re simply re-setting them based on reality.

Benchmarking Efforts
Your social media efforts might be getting better results than you think they are. For instance, have you benchmarked your social media presence against what your competitors are doing? Are they getting better engagement than you are? Chances are, your competitors are in about the same place you are.

You can’t really expect huge engagement numbers in terms of likes, shares and comments. Industrial professionals are largely passive consumers of social media. They prefer reading and watching to initiating discussions or adding comments. What’s most important is that you are trending in a positive direction in terms of having more of your target audience following your company on social media and being exposed to your content. Those metrics demonstrate you are doing something worthwhile.

Choosing channels
It seems every industry expert is shouting that you must do more with social media. And doesn’t it also seem there are new social media channels popping up all the time? Marketers tend to get anxious about shiny, new toys, not wanting to be left behind. But who has the time and resources to engage with every social media channel? Ninety-three percent of industrial companies do not have a full-time employee dedicated to social media, so it’s almost impossible to keep up. Plus there’s the danger of spreading yourself too thin and getting back very little in return for those efforts.

It’s better to focus on one or two social media channels that you know your customers and prospects use and that you’re comfortable using. Contribute regularly, post content, and engage with your followers. As you find success with these channels and gain confidence in your social media efforts, you can begin to explore other channels as well.

Remember that social media is just one aspect of your overall marketing effort—and not the most important one. Keep your resource and time investment at an appropriate level, your expectations in line, and devote the majority of your efforts to the digital channels your audience uses most often.

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Have do handle your social media efforts? What tips and ideas would you pass along to your peers in industrial marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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