Branding and Social Media for Manufacturers
Originally posted in the American Foundry Society's Modern Casting Blog
Erik Deckers, a marketing speaker at this year’s Metalcasting Congress, has co-authored a book with Kyle Lacy, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself, third edition.
The book is a guide to the major social media platforms, and how you take charge of your brand on those platforms.
We need to listen to Deckers’ expertise. He knows how you can make these social media platforms work for you, and he can help you decide which ones will be the best for you.
Branding yourself used to be less complicated. For instance, you do as your parents said. They told you to look people in the eye when you met them. Have a firm handshake. Stand up straight. Use proper grammar. Mind your personal hygiene.
All of which is still good advice. But today everyone has a personal brand online. Check it out on a search engine: 264 million people in the U.S. have social media profiles. If that’s not everyone, it’s close.
From those numbers, we can guess at least a few of your important customers are communicating on social media platforms. That means you should too. That’s where Branding Yourself comes in.
How much more effective could your own marketing and sales teams be if they were building relationships online long before they reached out with a pitch? Branding Yourself will help you learn which platforms are best for the people you want to reach, and therefore best for you and your company.
Along with what platforms work best for you, Branding Yourself demonstrates how you and your brand can be effective on those platforms.
Your business’ brand is heavily influenced by your personal brand, and vice versa. That starts with your personal brand story. Once you have a handle on your story, you can move on to communicating on platforms.
Deckers’ business, when he’s not writing books, is www.problogservice.com. He ghost-writes blogs, helps others start blogging, and is an all-around blogging expert. He explains why metalcasters, and others, should seriously think about having their own blog and posting regularly:
“Businesses use their blogs to engage directly with their customers and help them make buying decisions about their products or services. This is called content marketing and its all the rage … (Y)ou may not sell anything on your blog, but you can sell things because of it. You can showcase your products and drive people to your website to increase sales. Many businesses have embraced blogging for marketing, which is why we know it isn’t going away anytime soon.”
Blogs are about your passion. If your passion is about supplying the best cutting-edge equipment to foundries, someone in your company should be blogging about that, according to Deckers. If your passion is providing the perfect casting to end-users, you should be writing posts about that. Blogging is a potent way to tell your brand story and connect with your potential customers, and to stay connected with your current audience.
If you are not using a blog to drive traffic to your website or to simply start conversations, Deckers’ chapter on blogging is for you. It is one of the best ways to connect with your audience.
Creating your own blog is one of several platforms metalcasters can better exploit. AFS has engagement with our audience on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and to some extent, Twitter. At this moment, the best engagement occurs on LinkedIn and Facebook. But this could change tomorrow, and we’ll need to adjust.
Social platforms are always changing, as the authors found out in early November after Branding Yourself went to print when Twitter doubled the characters allowed per tweet from 140 to 280. The sections headed “Tips in 140 characters” are very helpful, as the authors’ Twitter followers provided some fascinating answers to key questions posed in the book. You can converse with your audience and even receive helpful feedback. It doesn’t really matter if it’s 140 or 280 characters.
An especially insightful part of the book is on page 216. There, you get a summary of regular actions you should take on social media for your branding campaign. If branding yourself is what you’re looking for, Branding Yourself is available at fine bookstores everywhere.
Erik Deckers is the owner and President of Pro Blog Service, a content marketing agency in Indianapolis. He has been blogging since 1997 and has been a humor columnist for more than 20 years. Erik frequently speaks about blogging and social media, especially as it relates to personal branding, small business marketing, crisis communication, and citizen journalism. He is speaking from 3:15-4:45 p.m. on April 3 at the 2018 AFS Metalcasting Congress in Fort Worth, Texas.
Kyle Lacy, co-author of Branding Yourself, is an experienced marketer and strategist. He is VP of Marketing at Lessonly, a training software company.
Click here to see this story as it appears in the February 2018 issue of Modern Casting
Tags: Marketing, Digital Marketing, Branding
Written by Guest Author