The business world has been buzzing for years about the role social media should play in effective marketing strategies. However, some industrial businesses are likely still scratching their heads trying to figure out what all the excitement is about.
While platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram might be valuable for certain industrial companies, in many cases, the audiences they are looking to connect with simply aren’t active on them. tweet
LinkedIn is a different story. As the professional network, many business folks are active on the platform. More importantly, use of the platform often crosses over with businesses needs, meaning professionals such as engineers, purchasers, and those in management positions regularly log in to LinkedIn during business hours.
This makes it a powerful platform for industrial marketing and it is important for industrial businesses to ensure they have an effective LinkedIn presence.
But what exactly does that look like for an industrial company?
A simple Google search will reveal hundreds of articles that profile some of the best industrial LinkedIn profiles. The problem is, in most cases, these articles discuss multi-national corporations such as Maersk or Caterpillar.
Sure, they have excellent profiles on LinkedIn, but they also have million dollar annual marketing budgets, with access to professional photography, video, and graphic designers. Not a realistic situation for most businesses in the industrial space.
To provide a more real-world perspective of what a successful LinkedIn presence can look like for industrial businesses, we’ve profiled 4 companies that aren’t household names but are using LinkedIn effectively. tweet
Incorporating some of these ideas into your own LinkedIn presence is a sure way to improve the number of leads you generate on the platform.
Takeaway 1 – Post Regularly
The easiest rule for LinkedIn success is simply to post on a consistent basis. This consistency will vary for every business based on the size of their team and the resources they have available. However, the good news is that it doesn’t have to be a time-consuming effort.
The Plasman Group, an automated manufacturing firm headquartered in Windsor, Ontario, but with facilities across North America, is an excellent example of how to maintain a regular presence on LinkedIn (see their profile at https://www.linkedin.com/company/10512956/)
Despite being a larger company, the Plasman Group posts on LinkedIn, on average, once per week. This consistent pace is frequent enough to show that the business is operational and engaged with their customers. However, it is not so often that they need a dedicated social media team or that it drains resources from other sales and marketing efforts.
They key is to maintain regularity. If your company has a really great piece of content or news to share, there is no harm in releasing it right away, especially for time-sensitive material. However, if the information is not urgent, consider pacing yourself and maintaining a balance in your posting frequency.
Takeaway 2 – Share Third Party Content
While your purpose on LinkedIn is to promote your own business, remember that the voices of others often speak louder than your own. It can be more powerful to hear thoughts from unbiased third parties that support the work you do than saying it yourself.
The Industrial Automation Group, based in Modesto, California, designs and develops automation solutions for the commercial food and beverage industry. Their LinkedIn page (https://www.linkedin.com/company/1243883/) is a perfect balance of self-published informational content and industry articles that discuss the sector they are in.
For example, by posting an article from the Indianapolis Business Journal that discusses the growth of automation technologies among manufacturers, they are not only promoting the growth of the industry they are in, but they are establishing themselves as thought leaders.
Industrial Automation Group obviously understand the business needs of the companies they work with and take pride in establishing solutions that fit an evolving industry. It would be easy for them to say this themselves, but it carries more weight coming from another source. tweet
It is also important to note, posting content from third parties keeps your audience engaged since they are less likely to get bored of only seeing self-promotional content. Just be sure to only post content that is relative to the industry or type of business you are in, otherwise, it comes across as spam. People follow companies on LinkedIn for specific business insight, not funny cat pictures.
Takeaway 3 – Showcase Your Work
With all the ins and outs of LinkedIn, it’s important not to forget what you are on there to do – showcase your business. As long as you are maintaining regular posting consistency and balancing promotional content with third-party content, don’t be afraid to show off the great work your business does.
Many industrial companies feel that their work isn’t “sexy” and there isn’t a huge visual component to it. That may be true, but prospects that work in your industry will recognize a job well done. Show off when you’ve done work you are proud of. tweet
Olsonfab Metal Fabrication, of Cornwall Ontario, designs and constructs steel buildings and custom metal tanks. They show off the work their projects often by showing blueprints and draft designs they are working on or have recently completed (https://www.linkedin.com/company/olsonfab-metal-fabrication-ltd-/)
Remember, it is important for LinkedIn viewers to know exactly what your business does. Showcasing the work you do is an easy way to let prospects know that your business is capable of performing the work they need.
Takeaway 4 – Share links to conversion pieces
Finally, LinkedIn is only a valuable marketing tool when your industrial sales team is actually able to identify leads as a result of the content posted to your company page. The only way to do this is to direct visitors back to your website.
Strad Energy Services is an oilfield manufacturer and service provider based in Calgary, Alberta. Strad directs followers of their LinkedIn page (https://www.linkedin.com/company/342705/) back to their website particularly effectively.
Not only do they post links back to their product pages, but their product pages are also filled with conversion pieces designed to identify potential leads for their sales team. Product spec sheet downloads and request information forms require visitors to provide their contact information so that sales teams are able to follow up with more details. Of course, they maintain a good balance of product postings and other content, as to not bore their audience.
Consider using Google Analytics (it’s free) on your website to monitor how many visitors are arriving on your website each month from LinkedIn. If the content strategy you are using isn’t directing enough traffic, it’s time to mix things up until you find a combination that works.
LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for industrial marketing, but it can become overwhelming quickly. The key to generating leads using LinkedIn is to:
- Post as consistently as possible given the resources available
- Showcase the quality of your work to interested leads
- Reinforce your message with links to third party content
- Drive visitors back to your website where your sales team can identify the best opportunities.
Industrial sales and marketing can already be a complex dance – a successful LinkedIn presence doesn’t need to complicate the process any further.
Martha Boulianne manages marketing efforts at ActiveConversion. You'll find her behind much of the content, design, and social media efforts that continue to grow our online presence. She has spent her professional life developing skills in web development and online marketing and spends her time not at work charging around after her family and making things.