As most people who have worked in Aerospace and Manufacturing know, marketing in our industry has always lagged behind the rest of the business world. We lean towards the traditional, placing ads in Aerospace publications, or attending trade shows, and firmly believe word of mouth and building relationships is more valuable than any marketing campaign.
Back in 2012 we decided to aggressively start marketing our company and capabilities. We began to see a shift in the industry, and realized that we needed to make Aero Gear stand out among our competitors. While we started with our overall branding, tagline, and digital presence (which we’ll get to in our next post!), our marketing agency also recommended we get involved with social media. As our global market continues to grow, we realize social strategy has become more important for today’s B2B companies, and manufacturers of all types are no exception.
At first we were hesitant to do anything social. We had the common misconception that social media meant Facebook. Sure, we had heard of LinkedIn, and a few of us knew what a blog was – but we didn’t know how it could be applied to Aero Gear. After many discussions and much deliberation, we decided to go ahead develop a LinkedIn strategy, and blog.
Committing ourselves to maintain a social presence was daunting at first. We understood that once we started, we had to stick with it. We began by training key employees on how to use and navigate LinkedIn. As predicted, the results were mixed. Many of our salesmen liked their way of networking, and using technology to do it seemed like “one more thing to fit in the day”. However, those who did embrace LinkedIn saw results, and lots of them. In a matter of weeks, we were getting meetings with people and companies we had been trying to get meetings with for months. It was working.
Next, we developed a Company Page on LinkedIn to post news, jobs, and company updates. Building a following was slow, we started out with a handful of followers, and currently stand at over 1,800. That’s 1,800 people who want to stay up to date on Aero Gear, 1,800 people we have the potential to talk to every time we post.
The last step (and perhaps the most intimidating) in our social media set up was the blog. Would we be able to write a blog post each month? What would we write about? Would people read it? We got to work and recruited employees from each department to brainstorm the topics that we could write about. The list was surprisingly long! Our first blog post was published on June 17th, 2013. We promoted it on our company LinkedIn page, our personal LinkedIn profiles, and even our website. People read it, and people are still reading our blog posts. Blogging has allowed us to showcase our expertise in many different areas. We’ve had our sales team write about new business development, our HR department discuss finding new talent, and even engineers write about the technical aspect of what we do.
About a year after starting our blog, we even got a call from a reporter at the Hartford Business Journal – he had found our blog online, and wanted to use us as a resource for an article he was writing about the Aerospace industry in Connecticut.
While many B2B and manufacturing companies may not initially see the value in social media, it has done wonders for Aero Gear. The feedback we get from customers, and more importantly prospective customers, has been overwhelmingly positive.