SMAC Stack Part 1: Manufacturing and Social Media
In this blog, SMAC Stack Part 1, I outline three ways manufacturers can leverage social media.
Let’s face it, when it comes to social media, manufacturing companies haven’t been exactly quick to embrace them. While social media has been a proven tool for B2C companies, for manufacturers the value hasn’t always been quite as clear. Fact is that social media is a core component for manufacturers looking to more effectively engage with their customers and drive business, and that’s why I’ve decided to write the SMAC Stack Part 1.
Today’s hyper-connected, educated consumer can create challenges for manufacturers. The behaviors we all engage in when shopping for personal items are also prevalent in the B2B marketplace. Business consumers pull key information about products and services to make better purchasing decisions, so it is imperative to make relevant information accessible on demand.
One way to achieve this is to leverage the SMAC Stack – referring to a group of specific technologies that support the entire business including Social, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud. Companies that can create a compelling social media presence have a distinct advantage in the current market as it provides valuable insight into consumer preferences and sentiments, which savvy manufacturers can then use to adapt their processes and products. When this data is integrated within the company’s overall IT infrastructure, it can be a powerful differentiator in the marketplace.
Embarking on a social strategy can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Begin small and build on from there. Here are three simple ways to start leveraging social media.
1. Increase visibility and provide better service
Making information accessible to the business consumer and targeting your messaging to a specific audience is critical to helping potential customers learn about your offerings. Using multiple channels such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, and blogs will increase your visibility and help you proactively reach potential customers.
Social media can also be a great tool to provide enhanced service to your existing customers. Many manufacturers now leverage Facebook or YouTube for product demos, training videos, or tutorials. This is a great way to distribute the latest information and make it easily accessible to your target audience.
Start small by focusing the one or two social media platforms that make sense for your business and establish a regular schedule for posting new content. It is important to develop a cohesive strategy that connects these social media platforms within your existing infrastructure. If this is done the right way in can give you a significant competitive advantage.
2. Grow your network contractors, suppliers and employees
To harness the full potential of social media, manufacturers should look beyond simply connecting with customers. These platforms can also be used to create communities through which to engage with contractors and suppliers. This may be useful for sourcing new vendors or communicating standardized information.
When it comes to social media, most of the attention is usually externally focused, but social media can also be leveraged within your organization allowing your employees to collaborate more effectively and encouraging knowledge sharing.
3. Gain valuable customer insight
Once you have your social media strategy in place and you have built up a following across the channels, using it to get feedback from your prospects and customers is a great way to be in touch with your target audience. Using social listening and business analytics tools, manufacturers can now get real time feedback on issues like product quality and customer service.
The key is to integrate this information within your business management platform, so it can be leveraged throughout the organization. Using social engagement solutions helps businesses analyze social media data to spot hot topics and emerging trends. You can drill down to individual comments – whether negative, positive, or neutral – so you can find out what you are doing is right or quickly address any issues before they grow into a bigger problem.
This is all great, but now you might ask – where do I start? The answer is start where it makes sense for your business. A business solution like Microsoft Dynamics 365 allows you to do just that. Microsoft Dynamics can help your business gain visibility across connected distribution, customer service, sales, and marketing systems so you can innovate your products and processes to meet your customers’ evolving expectations. In the end, social media is an important part of a holistic IT strategy that provides scalability and the right business intelligence at the right time – all to help you grow your business at your pace.
This was our roundup for SMAC Stack Part 1. Be on the lookout for our next blog discussing how manufacturers are leveraging mobile solutions.