You may ask yourself whether your fab shop needs to invest the time and resources into social media. The truth is that it's a very helpful marketing tool for your company if you use it correctly.
The Machining Center Inc. in Canada is a great example of how social media pays off. After 30 years in business, owner Paul Vreugdenhil realized that the personal relationship between manufacturing companies and customers was lost.
To overcome this, he experimented with social media. He started with Facebook but decided that Instagram would be the most effective platform for his strategy. The Machining Center’s account (@themachiningcenter) has 30,000 followers.
Two important deciding factors come into account when choosing to create social media accounts for your metal shop.
The first is if your team has the time and talent to devote to the maintenance of social media. This doesn’t mean posting a single photo on Facebook every other week. Using social media the right way means quality content, consistent posting, and regular engagement.
The next step is choosing which social media platforms to create accounts on. This takes research, as it depends on who your buyer personas are and which social media accounts they use. Posting on Twitter is a waste of time if your target audience doesn't have Twitter.
After you commit to using social media and research which platforms work best, try these easy social media strategies that help your metal fabrication shop:
- Create a posting schedule.
- Promote your services.
- Show off your work.
- Become a thought leader.
- Start a thumbs up campaign.
Not all social media platforms are exactly the same. They have different audience demographics and unique best practices for posting. Cater your posting frequency, tone, and content to the platform.
When creating a posting schedule, determine the frequency to aim for on each platform. Also calculate the variety of content to post. Posting your company’s contact information every day on Facebook causes your audience to tune out. Keep them engaged by posting different kinds of content from day to day.
Not everyone knows what goes on at a metal fabrication shop or if they need custom metal for a project. Social media offers a way to showcase your services and bring your company new business.
“When looking for social media apps, we wanted to increase access to our services and let people see what we’re about,” said Vreugdenhil. “We’re trying to...connect with people out there and show them who TMC is.”
Start by listing your services in a post. Dedicate entire posts to explain and show photos of specific services and processes. This educates your audience on the fabrication process. It also keeps you top-of-mind when they're in need of those services.
You can tell your audience that your company is the best fabrication shop, but showing them why is more effective for your reputation. Post photos, updates, and summaries about projects to keep your audience aware of your company’s abilities. It also shows off your team’s skills in the industry.
A thought leader is an authority on a specific subject. Share updates about your company to give you credibility in the mechanical field. Share industry news, articles, and best practices to elevate your credibility. This helps your social media account develop a wider following.
Research reliable sources for curated content, including trade magazines, news websites, and industry reports. Track what these sources publish and curate relevant content that your audience would enjoy reading.
One part of social media that you might not consider is the option for customers to leave reviews. When a potential customer is looking for a fabrication company, they turn to Google, Facebook, and Angie’s List for reviews and ratings. Reviews are great for your company -- when they’re positive, but negative reviews can happen.
One Rule of Thumb to implement when dealing with positive or negative reviews is to always respond. A thumbs-up campaign increases the number of positive reviews on your pages. This also increases your star rating. Encourage past and current customers to leave reviews and offer an incentive to get even more engagement.
For example, a gift card drawing for all those who leave a review that quarter.
Social media is a great opportunity for your metal or fabrication shop. This is especially true if you’re willing to do research and implement the right strategy.