EVERY Thursday at 1pm Made in Britain hosts #madeinbritainhour on Twitter. During that hour Made in Britain asks questions of its 19,500 followers and the results are fascinating. Previously this information was enjoyed by the audience at the time and then left to drift away in the Twittersphere, rarely read again. So, we have decided to capture some of the best comments and re-present them for a new audience and easy reference. Some of the responses have been edited.
This week we look at the exciting world of social media. Get comfy, it’s a long one.
Question one: Many companies have ramped up their social media presence. Has it been effective and what lessons have been learned, and what do they still need to learn?
Response: We've started several hashtags to drive interaction
Response from Made in Britain member Excell Metal Spinning: The past two months have seen more resources ploughed into the marketing department, and of course social media has been heavily used as a marketing tool! We've certainly seen a huge increase in website traffic as a result . We've explored new techniques and have always tweaked our social media performance in light of this. We like the use of twitter cards for example that we feel is more effective than the traditional post and link type tweets for example
Response: Media choice is so important - Do you do the designs in-house? Interested to know as we do all of ours in house but know lots of places with external marketing teams
Response: Yep we also do all of ours in house, I think there tends to be the viewpoint that you need an expensive camera and amazing editing skills! We use an affordable camera we found on Amazon and have recently invested in a fairly cheap greenscreen from Amazon too!
Response: Sounds like us, its amazing what you can do with a phone and a few video editing/photoshop YouTube videos
Response: Exactly! The latest phones have some amazing photographic capabilities, A cheap trick is shining lamps through a curtain, with your product placed on a white sheet in the middle for some great photo ideas! (Some brilliant how to videos on this on YouTube)
Made in Britain: Do you think Twitter is the best social media platform for manufacturers to use in marketing?
Excell Metal Spinning: It depends on the industry, we have difficulty finding companies for certain sectors on twitter where they may have a presence on Fb or Linkedin (or no online presence at all). Other sectors there is an abundance of potential customers on twitter
Response: There are many social media accounts, and you should look at them individually as what works on twitter doesn't work on instagram or facebook or linkedin. Hashtags are being used across which is good as that helps on seo.
Response: Good point. Posting blindly in a sea of noise without a plan and objective will not bring long term results. These social gatherings provide pools of Companies that are seeking the same things. Supporting each other and finding new opportunities
Response: It also helps to create new relationships
Response from Made in Britain member StitchedBoxes: I think it has been effective, we're communicating more regularly with our customers since lockdown because of social media. The long list of no no! Here's a good one: If you don't have anything of quality or meaning to post, don't post it!
Response: Agreed. Trade Purchasers like myself are getting too much "non communication padding" via Social, Text, Email, Post and to reduce the fog, pruning of communication occurs which could result in the opposite of your goal.
Response: We started posting daily content across our socials over lockdown, and the result has been amazing. We’ve been able to reach thousands of more people than before (and all for free)! Promoting our technical blogs on social media is also great for engagement
Response: Do a cost/benefit analysis of the time and effort put into your social media activities. It is not free, but can be very cost effective compared to advertising
Response: In our own experience, we haven't "ramped up" our social media because we were active already but we have noticed a slight increase in referral traffic this year. Organised groups such as these prove valuable due to the lack of face-to-face
Response: Good call. These organised chat groups have been an excellent way to network and will continue.
Response: We have been pretty much the same, we are getting more enquiries via our website. Our webchat tool is great at directing clients to the right pages as well as collecting info, but as an SME it has been all hands to the pump so engaging as often as we (I) can
Response: It is important to remember that social media is another channel and must reflect your brand voice. Be relevant and true to your brand voice and engage to create loyalty
Response: This is a big first question. Agreed much more activity for many. Poor execution or missing Social media strategies. Low growth of followers. Low RoI. Too many other observations to post here. We have learned much from watching
Response: We think it’s all about trying a few different things (types of post, times to post etc) and seeing what works for your business — and then building on this to see greater growth all around.
Response: What is your objective?
Response: Currently, we’re aiming for consistency. Some posts are reaching multiple thousands while others only reach a few hundred. We want a more consistent reach across the board.
Response: Competitions and free stuff is always good to generate a lot of interest and engage.
Made in Britain: Do you think the majority of companies actually measure the effectiveness and RoI? or it is more a case of "we need to have a presence"
Response: Very much doubt. I see a lot of shooting from the hip and hope for the best. S/M is more than a broadcast media. It is an engagement tool and works, provided that is the objective. How many have set objectives other than get more enquiries?
Made in Britain: How many have set targets that can be achieved with zero benefit to the business, e.g. number if tweets per day, number of likes etc. That can be quite easy to obtain but often for no benefit
Response: Getting many likes can be quite gratifying but companies need to look at the engagements and sales to get a true benefit picture
Response: What's that saying, "however beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results"?
Response: We've seen many people/businesses in Social Media claiming success by "number of likes" and "number of followers" etc but when it comes to effectiveness, they often fall short.
Response: This is really interesting actually, as we haven't seen much luck with our SM campaigns. We also haven't really seen any correlation between times posted etc and think maybe it could just be a complete disinterest in other companies. It's a difficult one to judge
Response: Be present when the posts go out. I have seen missed opportunities from companies using auto posting widgets for out of hours and not responding when interest is being shown. No conversation - no sale
Response: I think it has been effective on the whole, even though there is obviously more noise to cut through as a result. I think the key learning is still that it is a 'presence' and not a constant advert - to vary the content often
Made in Britain: Vary the content and also to understand what works and what does not?
Response: Yes - constantly testing and monitoring to see what works, then tweaking and testing again is just as important on social media as the rest of the business. Even when you find one thing that works it is still crucial to keep the variety going though
Response: Definitely, we used to host a lot of customers and potential customers, we've been trying hard to bring the business to the customer - we even dropped a new video ad today in efforts to explain our services
Response: A lot of our social media posts are more broadcasts than conversation starters. It plays quite a large role in our branding strategy and we are always learning
Response: And that is the difference in using social media. There are ones where it is easier to engage and share longer content.
Response: Absolutely! I have been working on social media engagement this year and I'm quite happy with my progress so far. Still a way to go!
Response: I think broadcast vs conversation depends on platforms and desires though. There are benefits for both
Response: For sure, broadcast style posts will not be suitable for all businesses/platforms. It has been working well for us for some time now although I am working on a strategy to increase relevant engagement too
Response: Many companies will have ramped up their social media posting (I know we have)! Some will have learned that social media shouldn't be an afterthought, which sometimes it can be, & used correctly can have a fantastic impact on engagement, website traffic etc.
Response from Made in Britain member European Springs and Pressings: SM has always been core to our marketing tool kit but it has raised its game again & added a new line of messaging, showing a little more behind the scenes - opening up the doors so people can see in as visits became more difficult
Response: That’s a great idea. We may try something similar our end. Thank you for sharing
Made in Britain: We really enjoy seeing businesses doing this. It provides a great insight into what actually goes on. It adds a great deal of credibility and reality to the positioning of a business. Multiple benefits from customer engagement to recruitment to employee recognition
Response from Made in Britain member Alltrade Printers: It’s all about testing and modifying. It’s just like you would do the old fashion way, implement the same but online
Response from Made in Britain member Be Modern: We have increased our social media presence and feel it has had quite a positive impact - we've noticed more engagement with our retailers and also end consumers. We're trying to monitor what is effective and post content of value.
Response from Made in Britain member Addison Precision: Its something that we didn't really do at all until recent months and it's opened up new avenues for us to tell the world about what we do. We've now incorporated LinkedIn into our whole marketing strategy and the doors are really opening for us through it.
Made in Britain: Interesting you mention LinkedIn. Do you think it is as useful as Twitter? And what about the other platforms?
Response: More so, our BD team use it all the time to reach out and contact new clients. We use it for content sharing and news. Twitter tends to share our LI in truth. We don't use anything else as it's not relevant for us
Response from Made in Britain member Dudley Associates: We've been running several social media campaigns. I cant say that they have been too effective. We've found engagement to be quite low and even on Twitter where we have built quite a following and try to be as active as possible, this has still been low.
Response: Companies are using Social media to different levels. The ones that adapt quickly & realise having a social media presence is vital will stand to benefit the most. The vast majority of people are now working from home so the audience is huge
Question two: What single piece of advice would you give to manufacturers who are considering starting to develop a social media presence?
Response: Interact, show a bit of character and be diverse!
Response: Post content that is worthwhile and means something to your audience. People are more likely to interact with content which teaches them something or starts a discussion. You’ll grow a more reliable online audience via this method too
Response from Made in Britain member Alltrade Printers: Get someone who knows about SM to do it. Employ a new member of staff if possible to engage a social media company for 6 months at least to start with. Work out a budget and see the results weekly/monthly
Response: Identify who you want to engage with, develop a relevant content strategy and follow/engage with that audience. Others will join you, but you should be leading your engagement and not just reacting to invitations.
Response: Find your tone of voice. I love following accounts that show a bit of personality. We don't all have to talk in a corporate tone!
Response: Be authentic to your brand and develop your use of social media as part of your customer journey and experience
Response: Be relevant, consistent, concise, informative and people will come, they will engage and hopefully buy.
Response from Made in Britain member Stitched Boxes: You may be there to advertise your business but posting about yourself constantly will push people away rather than pull them in. I like using the Rule of 3, 1/3 promoting your product or services, 1/3 interacting with others, and 1/3 sharing industry news
Response: Create a social media strategy, don't just jump in and hope it works! Research your audiences, pull together personas & understand what they want to read and see then your content should reach the right people and your platforms will thrive a lot better!
Response: Give it a chance to succeed. Don't just dip your toe in the water. Commit to it and do it properly for a defined period of time, with the right resources and expertise behind it. Then review it and see if it was worthwhile
Response from Made in Britain member Excell Metal Spinning: It all begins with creating a marketing plan, producing a core strategy, develop buyer personas, identify your competitive positioning, create a brand strategy, clarify your marketing mix. With that information established, you should have identified who your audience is, where they are, their wants and needs, and finally what message you want to target them with #madeinbritainhour Social media may not be for everyone
Response from Made in Britain member Addison Precision: Know your own brand, use it as an extension of what you already do and be consistent across all platforms
Response from Made in Britain member European Springs and Pressings: everything that everyone else has said and be human. You’re might be marketing B2B or B2C but in both incidences the receiver is just like you & will respond to engaging posts that resonate at a human level
Made in Britain: This raises an interesting point. What is engaging (and maybe light-hearted) may be seen in one light to British people but completely differently to overseas readers. Is this something businesses should be careful about?
Response: Lost in translation is a serious issue, especially when using memes or humour. If using SM in different languages, make sure you write in those languages and not translate.
Response: Very true. I have worked for many years with the Translation industry. Training in website translation. What works in one country is often offensive in others. Know your customers and their cultures. The importance of Customer Experience
Response from Made in Britain member European Springs: Stick to engagement that adds value to your market & product - being too ‘humour’ led muddies the communication stream & not only international clients get ‘lost in translation’
Response: Do not use it to say how great you are. Tell stories of how you, your team, your technology, your business have helped people succeed. Avoid selling at all costs
Response: Be genuine with your output and look for social expertise in your business, there will likely be people very engaged with social media. ..and don't post product and price, people aren't generally viewing social media for this.
Response: Utilise a social media company that specialises in your industry. A company who is well known for managing celebrities' SM profiles may not market a Coil Winding company as well.
Made in Britain: This is very sensible advice when selecting a social media company/person to work for you......
Response: I do agree to this up to a point but my marketing background was as far removed from manufacturing as could be, so I've had to learn on the job and quickly! I do believe passion and enthusiasm, as well as knowledge, goes a long way towards SM success
Response: Say you had 2 companies both offering to do your SM, one specialising in manufacturing and the other specialising in TV personalities. Both offering the same level of service and price. Which would you choose?
Response: Yes of course tone of language is important and an industry specialist will have stats and expertise and understand and deliver in your marketplace. A good marketeer will be able to navigate this IMO. They have to be able to reflect the personality of your business in SM
Response: Tone of language and 'professionalism' is a huge learning curve for some on social media. The constant use of ! or even !! to make things seem important is something that has been commented on many times.
Response: It's a common misconception to think that anyone who has an account can do social media. My advice would be recruit a person/agency with expertise and experience - it will come at a cost but digital marketing is crucial to business so it's money well spent
Response: Learn, set objectives, Know your audience, plan and execute the plan. Review, adjust, test and repeat
Response from Made in Britain member Easify: Don't be a rockstar... Interact with people that interact with you. Too many times I see brands with relatively low follower count not even give a thumbs up or a like to a comment let alone reply to it. Followers aren't necessarily "fans"
Question three: How has Zoom/video meetings changed the way sales teams operate? Will this be a new way of working and is there a significant training need here?
Response from Made in Britain member Excell Metal Spinning: It's been the only way this year to meet our clients and even complete another ISO audit! I do think this will be used more often in the future, and will have a positive impact on the environment. Its easier to connect with our customers around the world
Response: Likewise with the ISO.
Response: Completely agree with you especially the sustainability element! With the Gov increasing pressure on companies to be environmentally friendly and socially responsible, I think zoom meetings will key in this area to reduce carbon footprints!
Response: Zoom/video tools have changed the landscape. Welcome to the world of hybrid communications, part digital, part face-2-face depending on location, geography & restrictions. Training is needed as the experience is changing & we lose a lot of non-verbal cues in the sales journey
Response from Made in Britain member Stitched Boxes: I've noticed it can be a huge struggle for people who aren't as tech-savvy. Video conference training would be a huge help there, strangely enough, I don't see a lot of training available
Made in Britain: There are two parts to the video call. The technical part and the personal bit. Market Accents was commenting on that. Do you think there is a need for training about "how to meet over zoom"?
Response: I'd say so, even for the personal part, particularly for managers. Reading the room and individual people can be difficult or even impossible on Zoom. Certain interactions may be interpreted as rude or offensive when that isn't the intention at all.
Response: I would add how to conduct the #customerjourney using video tool
Made in Britain: Many people have been "thrust" into doing these meetings without any training. Do you have any idea as to what the common mistakes are?
Response: I think this is a topic for a webinar/fireside chat!
Response: Completely agree. Training schemes focussing should now be focussing on this. There will be a captive audience out there for certain
Response: Our external sales team have been using Microsoft teams to conduct meetings where they would usually go to site! It's been really helpful with meeting overseas where we wouldn't necessarily be able to do site visits even before the pandemic
Response: Are there any challenges in closing?
Response: Not that we've seen! I think the thing is many are more inclined to have multiple meetings to discuss various things because it's so easy to jump on a video call. So it may take longer, but building up relationships is vital!
Response: I think it depends how they largely operated before. If it was heavily telephone-based then the opportunity to shift to video is a great one as it can build better relationships. If video is replacing in-person meetings then it will be more challenging
Response: I think it was something that could’ve been implemented years ago to make work/office travel less stressful. COVID just kickstarted it and I think this is the new normal
Response: Great way to communicate! Has a massive positive impact on our planet too! Less emissions! Although Sales people should still make first contact face to face. A lot can be done by zoom/video calls, with some training
Response: It has pretty much been the only possible way. Its great to get everyone on a call to discuss a project, it saves on time and not travelling is great for the environment but I have do say I do miss the interaction
Made in Britain: Is this something that has changed in a big way - meetings are more inclusive now as people don't need to be there in person and so it is easier to get everyone "together"?
Response: It is a blessing and a curse. The quality and purpose of some meetings can be questionable just because they are so easy to setup. Most have been really useful and inclusive as some clients are shielding
Response: This is a really good point - you could argue that it's become a bit too easy. Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should.
Response: There's two sides to everything. It's quicker to set meetings up (gets things done) but then if its easy to have meetings we have too many?
Response: Zoom etiquette training is a definite requirement for many I have seen reported in the press and social media. They have provided some very amusing video clips that make them famous... even if they did not want to be
Response: We haven't needed to utilise video calling for our Sales team although we obtained all of the necessary equipment to do so. I've found that it is great for internal meetings; everyone is on the same page then with opportunities to speak up
Question four: Have customers changed their way of buying and evaluating providers/products since the pandemic? And will this be the future?
Response from Made in Britain member Excell Metal Spinning: We've definitely seen a rise in sales, particularly from organisations that are now bringing their manufacturing to UK shores! The impact of the pandemic has taken its toll on supply chains from abroad and now with a potential no deal brexit in sight
Response from Made in Britain member European Springs and Pressings: Seeing the same here
Response from Made in Britain member Stitched Boxes: I think people are more interested in the reviews, which can be hit and miss amongst products. What if your products had 1 review and it was 1-star but it was simply due to a courier error? Now your customers will just see that 1-star review.
Response from Made in Britain member Excell Metal Spinning: The bane of selling on Amazon, you could receive 3 stars yet the actual text from said review could be amazing! Unfortunately they will only see the stars! I've seen this happen to many organisations selling on platforms like Amazon and Etsy
Made in Britain: We had a discussion previously with Hardy UK about the need to touch and feel products. Do some customers need to physically see a product before buying?
Response from Made in Britain member Stitched Boxes: I think it's all dependent on the industry and the client. I.e. If I wanted to buy a simple 2x4 for a small build, it wouldn't be necessary. Sometimes that is the case with our boxes, luckily that margin is low so it hasn't affected us.
Response from Made in Britain member Alltrade Printers: For our customers we now send out a digitally produced proof of the physical product as press passes are not possible although if needed we arrange a socially distanced press pass
Response: There is a lot of study on how #customers are changing their #behaviours, obviously depending on the industry sectors. They are looking for more information and validation online, & will evaluate you based on your online/digital footprint before they have even spoken to you.
Response: Its got busier. The markets we are dealing with have been growing (energy and automation) and also new areas opening up with enquires from South America, Africa and further afield
Response: Our business is custom automated machines and enquiries have risen a lot, we think that lots of business owners are toying with the idea of using automation to allow for continued production and putting people a bit further apart.
Response from Made in Britain member European Springs and Pressings: certainly hearing & seeing evidence of UK #manufacture being key to supply chain values more & securing growth because of it
Response from Made in Britain member Alltrade Printers: Yes. Our existing customers leave us to produce their products for them and they know and trust us to produce it.
Phew! Told you it was a long one. It’s the kind of thing that happens when you discuss social media on social media. We hope you took something away from it.
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