Previously, we’ve discussed how manufacturers can utilize social media and drive leads through their websites. Creating a presence and a brand for your company on social media can be challenging, especially for manufacturers or companies that sell business to business. How can you boost awareness of your brand and attract customers? How do you promote products and services that are important and necessary but harder to market? How do you draw in an audience and make them want to hear what you have to say? One rule of thumb is to be an informer rather than a meformer. Here we’ll discuss what a meformer is and why you want to avoid this method of promotion and marketing.
We’ve all seen business accounts that do nothing but promote their own products or services. Their Twitter or Facebook feed operates as a free advertising channel. The problem with this social media strategy is that people don’t actually like advertising. In fact, most people will go out of their way to avoid advertising if they can. If they feel like they are being overtly manipulated or influenced, they will leave and never return.
What Is a Meformer?
Meformers are posters who share information that is primarily about themselves. Actors on Instagram are notorious for sharing stories, videos, and pictures of themselves taken at events, photoshoots, and on movie or televisions sets. The content is “Me me me me me!” If the content on your social media is primarily about your company and its products or services, you are a meformer. That’s not a good thing.
Why not? You might think that there’s nothing wrong with promoting your company, and there isn’t. If you don’t do it, no one else will, and your audience will not know what you have to offer. Social media should be a conversation, though, not a one way blast of promotion. You want your audience to respond positively to what you are sharing with them. Sometimes that response will be a like or a share on Facebook, sometimes it will be comment left, and sometimes it will be a smile or a nod that you don’t see but is still helpful for building your brand as a company they like and trust.
The other problem with meforming is that it centers around one subject, and that can get old fast. No one wants to listen to a broken record.
Be an Informer
A better strategy than meforming is to show how your company fits into your industry, your market, and the broader conversation. The work that some companies do is less accessible to a general audience than selling something like ice cream, for example. However, chances are that no matter what your company does, there are interesting aspects to it and how it influences the market, the world, and your audience. The trick is to figure out what those things are and share them with your audience.
What should you share? You can post articles about your industry and people in your industry. You can talk generally about what the concerns in your industry are and indirectly about how what you do solves a problem or problems. You can share photos and insights from professional conferences or about new items. Setting yourself up as knowledgeable in your field and able to solve problems is a great strategy for creating trust and interest. Ask your audience how they feel about any of the above. People enjoy being included and asked for their opinions.
This sort of interesting content should make up about 80% of your social media posts. The remaining 20% you can spend talking directly about what your company does and what it has to offer. You can tie in an article from the news with a related product or service your company offers. That builds interest in what you do and establishes it as worthwhile. You can highlight how your company works in tandem with your clients. This demonstrates how well you work with people. Take pictures and tag your clients in them. This is a great way to subtly alter content that is about your company into content that is about the larger world and your interaction with it.
Does this work? Yes. Using an informing rather than a meforming strategy has been shown to attract more interest and followers. One study at Stanford found that informers attracted twice as many followers as meformers on social media.
It may seem easier to market directly to your customers via your social media and a waste of time to post about things that will not result in sales. Social media is not primarily about sales, though. It’s about branding. It’s about building trust, interest, and awareness. When you have established those things, your audience will think of your company when they have a problem or need that you can solve. And that’s when sales happen. Be an informer, not a meformer.