How Manufacturers Can Build Profitable Networks on LinkedIn

Last quarter I discussed the value of LinkedIn as a marketing tool for manufacturing companies. This tool is regularly underutilized by manufacturers. Today I’d like to take a deeper dive into making LinkedIn work for your business.

You may be asking, “I’ve updated my company’s profile, gotten my employees on LinkedIn, now what?” How do you actually take steps to build the network of potential customers, existing customers, and partners that you’re looking for on this platform?

When you take the time to build a LinkedIn network yourself, it can unlock the power of the online social tool to connect you in real-life.

Additionally, the greater your network, the better your rankings in search, both on LinkedIn and in other search engines such as Google.

LinkedIn is about CONNECTING

Currently LinkedIn has about 200 million members. How do you sort through that large of a list to find people to add? The first step may seem obvious, but not everyone abides by this rule: Only connect to people that you have a genuine reason to connect with.

Start with someone that you know because of your manufacturing business. It could be a co-worker, former coworker, a customer, or even a college alum. There is a lot of value in connecting with other manufacturers or to suppliers.

The key is, making this connection feel genuine and authentic. When you click the connect button, don’t leave the default response in place! No one likes non-descript robot text. Try adding something personal to let your connections know why you want to add them on LinkedIn. Explain who you are and why you hope to connect.

With each new addition to your LinkedIn flock, your company’s exposure grows. Because each person has his or her own connections, you are now one step closer to all of the people in that network.

LinkedIn Boosts Your Message

When you purchase a product or service, do you look to friends and family for opinions on which choice to make? If you’re like most Americans, the answer is yes. Your customers are doing the same. They still ask friends family and colleagues about brands, products and companies they are interested in. This is the power of LinkedIn.

Every time you share a relevant, informative post, you are placing your message in front of first degree networks that amplify that message to their own networks.

Even when someone is scrolling through LinkedIn and performs the simple action of clicking the like button on a post that came from you, or your company page, that post now appears in your connection’s feed. Instant amplification!

LinkedIn is About Relevant Sharing

The cardinal rule of LinkedIn is to share relevant and insightful content. I’ve heard from many manufacturers who don’t think they have anything valuable to say. That’s simply not true!

Perhaps you could share a recent industry report that provides valuable thoughts on where your sector is headed. Maybe connections would want to learn what your employees have to say about a recent product launch. The more you position yourself as a thought leader, the stronger your standing on LinkedIn.

Relevant content doesn’t have to be complex. It doesn’t even have to come from within your organization. If you don’t have a company blog post to share, try writing a short sentence or two about a recent event that is applicable to your industry. Ask your employees to share about the process of making one of your products. People love to hear origin stories about where the things they  by come from, and how they are created. Enthusiasm is contagious! 

One word of caution: Resist the urge to talk about yourself or your products with every post. Instead, think about what your customers or partners would want to know. One great litmus test for content: Would I take the time to read this?

If you’re having trouble thinking about what to post, talk to your salesperson(s). What do customers regularly ask about? What concerns do they have when they use your product or before they make the buying decision? Use those questions and thoughts as a jumping off point to directly address customer concerns in an intelligent and thoughtful manner.

Interested in learning more about how to leverage social media to grow your manufacturing company? Join the OMEP Network to stay up to date with our latest manufacturing insights.