Here’s a challenge: suppose you are a manufacturer of machine tools. You’re not a consultant, you don’t sell to consumers, you’re not a marketer, so what does social media have to offer to improve YOUR sales?
I have argued that your customers and prospective customers are hungry for relevant, easily located information. Therefore every company should have a content strategy-a method for providing extra value to customers, especially when customers are shopping online. That doesn’t mean they are buying online, but they would much rather get information about your products (and those of your competitors) online than from your salespeople. Your customer is not “the company,” but rather the engineer or the factory manager or the purchasing agent or the tool-and-die maker who uses your products.
But if you don’t have a big marketing staff and if you don’t want to create new content, how could you provide them with relevant information to make their lives easier? How could your website become known as a “place to go to” when they are investigating?
One way is to offer a industry-relevant links and embedded content. Here’s what I found on my tour of social media sites looking for content about “machine tools.”
- First, I Googled machine tools blog and found CR4, “the engineer’s place for news and discussion.” The blog is up-to-date and the associated forums are very active. At the moment I landed there, 243 visitors were online! Link to this space and introduce your customers to some useful conversations.
- I went to Alltop and searched for “manufacturing.” Alltop is a site that aggregates the most popular blogs on a wide range of subjects. Link to that site and show your customers where to find relevant blogs.
- How about YouTube, the online site for sharing videos? What does that have to do with your company? Well, I found a series of five videos about machine tools and their history, Modern Marvels. YouTube videos can be embedded into your own website or blog (as illustrated below!)
- I tried SlideShare, the online site for sharing slide presentations, and found an analysis of the global machine tools market. Like YouTube, SlideShare permits you to embed content into your own blog or website.
- Searching Twitter @MachineTools, a stream of tweets about buying and selling used machine tools.
- On LinkedIn, I found a Machine Tools Group featuring discussions with 348 members.
- Turning to Facebook, I located Machine Tools Mart, whose CEO lives in India and offers global information about buying and selling machine tools.
- At amazon.com I searched for books on the machine tools topic. On the amazon.com site you can create your own list of favorites that you recommend (search for Listmania) and feature it in your profile. You can also create a bookstore on your website or feature books in your blog with direct links to amazon.com where your customers can buy them. Incidentally, you can earn a commission on those sales.
Please note, this post is not about machine tools. no matter what your B2B business, you can improve your sales position through social media, even by using social media very passively. Make your website, your blog, or your Facebook page a source of timely, relevant information. It will be relevant because YOU selected it, because YOU know what your customers are looking for.
Remember Danny DeVito in OPM (Other People’s Money)? Well, you can boost your sales strategy with OPC (Other People’s Content)!