Last week, I, along with other Impact Washington staff members, attended the 2011 Manufacturing Innovations National Conference in Orlando, Florida. Other MEP centers from around the country, manufacturers and stakeholders in our community joined together to discuss and understand how we can help strengthen U.S. manufacturing in new and innovative ways. The ideas that were shared and the networking was invaluable. It’s a shame that we cannot get our community together more often to share ideas and insights…or can we?
As the Social Media Director at Impact Washington, my role is to utilize different online tools to engage with others in the manufacturing community. In a sense, we are trying to recreate the conversations we have on a daily basis with our clients and our partners in an online format available for all to participate in. It is our job to know what is going on with the U.S. manufacturing – struggles or successes manufacturers are experiencing, ways to bring jobs back home from overseas, new techniques for streamlining processes, and opportunities for growth, such as export. This information is out there and readily available; people are constantly talking about it and sharing opinions. We just need to know where to find it.
Tools like Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, blogs, and LinkedIn are all free methods to gather and exchange information with your community online. In a session we attended and participated in at our conference last week, CONNSTEP (our sister organization in Connecticut) and Site-Seeker, Inc. spoke about each of these tools and the benefits of utilizing Social Media Marketing in conjunction with your Marketing strategy. Some of the strategies included:
Creating a voice for your company. Personality is key, and it leads to building relationships.
Engaging in conversations with your community. Answer questions, help to solve problems, offer input when asked, and prove you are a knowledgeable resource.
Building your brand. The more people see your name and logo, the more likely they are to seek you out and do business with you.
Showing what it is that you do well. Use videos, testimonials, and informative blogs, and engage your audience in a variety of ways.
Networking. Networking events do not need to involve an expensive business trip across the country anymore. Engaging with others online is an affordable way to stay in touch and build relationships.
The key is to think about what it is that your organization has to offer to your community. Using social media, you can efffectively make information available to others and you can be an important voice in your community, and the more you do that, you will attract business and build relationships. As Seth Godin states it, “Conversations among the members of your marketplace happen whether you like it or not.” So jump right in and join them!
And if you’re not sure how to get started with social media, Impact Washington is here to lend you a hand. Contact me at (425) 438-1146 x109, or you can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join in the manufacturing conversation with Impact Washington: