Social Media Can Help the Small Manufacturer

More and more professionals and company representatives are using social media to promote their organizations and keep regular communication with their customers and prospects.

Twitter, blogs, Facebook, YouTube, and even, to a certain extent, websites are all part of a greater power called social media. Often, these tools are thought of merely as entertainment or methods of maintaining personal relationships—thus, the term “social media.”  But more and more professionals and company representatives are using social media to promote their organizations and keep regular communication with their customers and prospects.

The usefulness of such communication might be easier to understand in the context of news organizations or sports teams—those who have daily updates to report. But there are no rules that state that a blog or Twitter account must be updated every day. “Regular” updates are important to maintain an interest from followers, but even as seldom as once a month can sometimes suffice.

So how does that help the machine shop? Again, it comes back to taking advantage of opportunities to talk to customers and prospects. If a shop buys a new piece of equipment, lands a new customer, hires a new employee or wins an award, that’s significant information that can be shared. And who doesn’t like to have a reason to talk to a customer?

That’s the way Jim Carr, president of Carr Machine & Tool Inc. (Elk Grove Village, Ill.) looks at it. His family-owned precision machine shop uses LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to display videos and photos of products and promote industry-specific company news. Mr. Carr says, “You have to talk about what you think your customer would want to read.” That simple strategy has helped the company turn business around after struggling through the recent tough economic times.

For more information about whether or not social media is right for you or to get more detail on how to get started, read “Delving into Social Media” and “Can Social Media Promote a Machine Shop?” These columns can help narrow the focus to the tools that best suit your needs.