Social MediaA quick search of Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube a year ago, may not have turned up the manufacturer or industrial brand you were looking for, however, that trend is slowly, yet certainly, changing.

Manufacturers, like other business-to-business companies, are finally starting to get on board with social media, using it increasingly for customer service and marketing purposes.

A recent Wall Street Journal blog highlights this growing trend in “industrial social media marketing.” The WSJ cites a September 2012 survey by Chief Marketer, a publication of Penton Media Inc., which reports that about 68 percent of companies that sell products or services to other businesses said they engaged in social media marketing, In contrast, 79 percent of consumer brands use social media for marketing purposes.

While many manufacturers are still hesitant to explore the power of social media for business purposes, others like electronics contract manufacturer Etratech Inc., have jumped in and been met with positive results. According to the WSJ, since creating accounts on Facebook, Google+ and YouTube over a year ago, the company reports shortened sales cycles directly due to their social media presence, specifically their YouTube videos that showcase their manufacturing facilities. In fact, Etratech was mentioned 30,000 times on Twitter in a year’s time, reports the WSJ.

While Etratech outsources its social media efforts to ThomasNet’s Social Media Program, other industrial companies like Caterpillar handle social media efforts mostly internally. Caterpillar has integrated its social media sites on the backend with Salesforce.com, so that customer inquiries on their social media sites can be directly pointed to a real-time call center. Tie-ins and innovations such as this is what WSJ’s Rachel King says industrial companies will need to do going forward—to integrate their social media efforts with their established business practices and processes to harness the true value social media has to offer.

Here at Flow Control, we often receive word about fluid handling-related companies rolling out Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and YouTube channels, and inviting us to check them out. We’re happy to interact with our readers and advertisers through these channels and look forward to seeing many more of our friends in industry join the ranks.

If you haven't visited our social media channels yet, we invite you to “like” us on Facebook, “follow” us on Twitter, watch us on YouTube, and get linked up with our growing professional group on LinkedIn! Social media is about making connections and a reminder that we're all in this together!