Crafting Your Social Strategy: How Manufacturers Can Best Leverage Social Media

Author: Whitney Koch

Manufacturers aren’t typically known for having an engaging social media presence –  if they’re on social media at all, that is. For those looking to leverage social media platforms – which have become a crucial marketing tool in our increasingly digital world – determining the best strategy can be challenging.

During a recent #USAMfgHour chat on X, Kendie Farbo of Snaptron, an award-winning, manufacturer of tactile metal dome switches for electronics, led a discussion on how manufacturers can effectively use social media to showcase their processes, engage with audiences, and humanize their brands. This blog captures the key insights and practical tips from that conversation.

Leveraging Social Media to Highlight Manufacturing Processes

The chat began with host Farbo asking how manufacturers leverage social media to highlight their manufacturing processes and expertise. 

The power of video was emphasized by nearly all participants.

“A great way to do this is through videos that show the process of manufacturing,” answered Anna and Susannah Scheller of Capri Temporary Housing. “People seem to love to see how things are made, so sharing videos about the general process and specific aspects of it seems like a great way to leverage social media.”

“Yes! You are so right!” host Farbo exclaimed. “Behind-the-scenes content is so interesting.”

Illustrating host Farbo’s point, Ruby Rusine of Social Success Marketing chimed in: “Personally fascinated with how things are made here.” 

Nicole Kangos, who, like host Farbo, is with Snaptron, enthusiastically agreed with her. 

“And you can do this in an authentic way by sharing live video stories on platforms like Instagram or Facebook, for example,” she suggested.

In response to Kangos, Whitney Koch of Keystone Click tied live video to audience engagement.

“Going live is a great way to directly engage with your followers too!” she said. “I like how on Instagram you can save lives so they will live on your profile as well.”

Nigel Packer of PelaTis Online and other participants agreed that raw and spontaneous footage often performs better, especially in a market saturated with AI-generated content.

“It is so simple to go down to the shop floor and video a few minutes of part of the production facility and then post it on your preferred platforms,” he observed. “It does not have to be Hollywood quality, just tell the story.”

Host Farbo affirmed Nigel’s response.

“So simple, Nigel. Raw and spontaneous footage is so much more authentic and usually performs better,” she stated.

Replying to Packer, the Schellers commented: “Especially now with how AI is saturating the marketplace and making people doubt what is actually footage of someone or a place.”

“Video is a powerful visual tool on social media,” Kangos responded. “You can highlight your manufacturing processes, people, and differentiators through video.”

Koch enthusiastically agreed with the other participants on the power of video on social media but with a slight twist that generated several replies.

“Short-form video works so well for this,” she said. “It’s popular on social media channels and doesn’t require a lot of production or planning, necessarily. You can use your smartphone to capture something being made on the fly.”

The Schellers concurred with Koch.

“100%! Short-form videos are great for engaging with a manufacturer’s social fanbase,” they noted.

“Smartphones have made capturing videos like this so much easier and you are so right!” exclaimed host Farbo.

Tracy St. Clair of Integrated Logistics Services commented on the power of short-form video.

“I feel so much can be explained in a short informative video,” she remarked.

In response to St. Clair, Koch commented: “Making effective short content is not easy…you have to be really good at getting down to what is most important.”

Host Farbo agreed with Koch and emphasized that one can hone their short-form video skills over time.

“An art and skill of its own that only gets better the more you do it!” she exclaimed. “It’s so important to just get started!”

St. Clair shared a recommendation for short video content.

“I am thinking one target point per short video,” she suggested. “Something simple. People don’t like anything complicated.”

Rusine agreed with St. Clair’s recommendation, adding, “With digital overload and short attention spans, keeping it concise is key. Focus on one clear message per video for maximum impact.”

Taking a different take than the other participants in her answer, Rusine said to think of social media as “an extension of your storefront.” 

“It is the means to an end…not the end [sale],” she noted.

In addition to video, host Farbo encouraged manufacturers to use photos and live demonstrations on social media to showcase their processes. Doing so highlights “your craftsmanship, technology, and quality control, establishing yourself as an industry expert,” she said.

Engaging With Your Audience on Social Media

The conversation shifted to effective strategies manufacturers can implement to engage with their social media audiences.  

The Schellers had several recommendations for manufacturers for social media engagement.

“Creating connection points such as Q and As, hosting live videos, and introducing different people from different levels of the manufacturing process so social media peeps can get to know more than the C-suite employees,” they suggested.

Validating the Schellers’ answer, host Farbo exclaimed, “Absolutely! You are spot on! Finding ways to connect and valuing your audience is so important.”

Kirsten Austin of DCSC, Inc. had a different idea that would connect manufacturers’ website content to their social media. 

“I’m thinking of interesting blogs with relevant information. You can post them on multiple channels,” Austin noted.

Agreeing with Austin, host Farbo added, “Even better if those blogs can tell a story that connects to your audience!”

Rusine responded to host Farbo to share her appreciation for this content format.

“That’s what I love about blogs,” said Rusine.

Kangos took it a step further, challenging participants to consider how blog content can be repurposed for social media. 

“Visuals are also important. Can your blog be made into an infographic or a short video?” she asked.

St. Clair’s recommendation doubles as a learning opportunity for manufacturers, who can use the information they gather to shape future social media content.

“I am thinking polls. Show where the viewers’ interests are,” St. Clair said.

Kangos advocated manufacturers conduct audience research to ensure they’re on the appropriate channels and already understand how to reach their audience. 

“Finding your audience first is the most important thing,” Kangos stated. “Which channels are they using, and how are they using them? Polls, especially on channels like LinkedIn and Twitter, are an easy way to engage with your audience.” 

“If you’re on a social media platform that allows livestreaming, you should take advantage of that,” Koch advised.

Packer’s response highlighted the importance of the “social” aspect of social media.

“Get the conversations going. Make sure you are there to respond and make it a two-way street,” he said. “Others will join in as there is nothing better than listening in to others’ conversation, then adding your own 3 cents worth.”

To transition the conversation, host Farbo shared her top recommendations for manufacturers, which aligned with the responses from the chat participants.

  • Respond to comments, messages, and mentions
  • Initiate conversations through questions, polls, and seeking feedback
  • Q&A sessions and live chats can enhance direct interaction

Replying to host Farbo, Koch expressed her satisfaction with the recommendations.

“I like that you included responding to comments, messages, and mentions. I feel that is an often overlooked piece of the social media puzzle,” said Koch.

“Engagement with your audience is important!” host Farbo declared.

Humanizing Your Brand

The chat then delved deeper into social media engagement, discussing how manufacturers can humanize their brands to connect with their audiences on a personal level.

“Showcase employees’ hobbies and passions,” Rusine encouraged.

“I love a good ‘Meet the Team’ feature,” host Farbo said in response to Rusine. “Especially when it shows the employee outside of work!”

In the same vein, Packer recommended this: “Feature your suppliers, staff, and clients on your posts. Demonstrate why they work with the human side of the business. Personal stories are always a big hit with people especially how you started, the struggles, and the rewards. Inspiring others.”

Kangos agreed with Packer, adding, “Storytelling around your brand is so important to do. We often get this right on our websites, but are we doing that on our social channels, too.”

Also in agreement was Rusine, who advised focusing “on the ‘it’s not about you’ mantra when doing social.”

More participants expressed the importance of including employees in social media content.

“[S]howcasing employees, showing behind-the-scenes content and sharing personal stories,” St. Clair said.

“If you get your employees, especially SMEs, engaged on your channels, they can present a more realistic representation of your brand,” noted Kangos.

Sometimes it can be a challenge to get employees to participate in the creation of social media content. The Schellers offered an idea that could help them feel more at ease on camera.

“A great way to do this is to create ‘characters’ and skits around different aspects and departments of manufacturing, which humanizes the whole process,” they said. “Especially if done through videos, it can be super effective.”

To humanize their brand, host Farbo urged manufacturers to not just feature employees but also share their stories and those of product creators (e.g., engineers, designers, fabricators, etc.). Additionally, social media is an ideal channel for highlighting company culture. Beyond that, manufacturing companies should lean into “user-generated content, testimonials, and success stories to illustrate their product’s impact.”

How to Balance Promotional Content on Social Media

It can be easy to fall into the trap of sharing self-promotional, sales-related content on social media. Participants discussed how manufacturers can showcase their products on social media without coming across as overly promotional.

“[P]ost relevant content regularly and interact with the followers to make it more personable,” counseled St. Clair.

“Interacting with your followers and other relevant accounts is a great strategy!” host Farbo concurred.

“I like panel discussions for this,” said Koch. “They allow you to showcase your overall expertise and build your K-L-T [Know-Like-Trust] Factor without being overtly sales-y or product-focused.”

Austin highlighted the importance of educating your audience.

“Offering educational advice or explanations is very helpful!” she emphasized. “It’s OK to promo (sic) your business but intertwine it in a mutually beneficial manner. Don’t make it all about you! Help others whenever you can. Share other’s materials too if you can.”

The Schellers enthusiastically agreed with Austin, stating: “Yes! Sharing other people’s material is a great way to set yourself up as a helpful voice, not just a self-promoter.”

To drive home Austin’s point, host Farbo replied, “It is absolutely all about your audience and the more you position your social channels that way the better!”

Hearkening back to the discussion about the importance of video at the start of the chat, Packer explained how the medium could be used to effectively showcase products in a non-promotional way.   

“Video case studies. Interview everyone in the process from the client to the person who did the work to the CEO of the client company on why they were with you. A short 5 minutes can be used time and again,” he said.

Regardless of content type, Rusine shared a helpful reminder to keep manufacturers on track when creating and sharing content on social media.

“When posting [a] blog, think of what your customer will get out of it. When posting [a] product feature, what’s in it for them? When posting a video, what’s in it for them? When posting an image, what’s in it for them? When posting everything, what’s in it for them?” she advised.

Like Rusine, Amy Anderson said content should focus on serving the needs of your audience.

“Focus on the problems your product solves; the community involvement you support; BE HELPFUL,” Anderson said.

The Schellers had a different take on how to connect with your audience.

“Perhaps finding an interesting angle on it that appeals to human nature? Like how slime stores found the ASMR side of content to promote their products,” they said. 

(Here’s an example of an online slime store that leverages ASMR for context.)

Host Farbo distilled participants’ recommendations into this list. Here are five ways manufacturers can authentically showcase products:

  1. Through storytelling
  2. Demonstrating production processes
  3. Highlighting product features
  4. Showing real-life use
  5. Collaborating with influencers or experts for additional credibility

Measuring the Effectiveness of Social Media

Each social media platform has its analytics, and with so many metrics, it can be easy to lose sight of what matters most. Participants shared their recommendations for manufacturers wanting to measure the effectiveness of their social media presence.

The Schellers noted that the metrics depend on the social media goals.

“This is a tricky one ’cause it kind of depends on what your goal with the social media is,” they said. “Tracking how it affects sales is difficult at best, but most social media platforms have engagement analysis tools if you’re looking to simply boost engagement.”

“That’s the million-dollar question!” Koch exclaimed. “The effects of social media are tricky because you often can’t measure them directly. With clients, I like to look at metrics across all their platforms (social + website), to see how they are affecting each other.”

Anderson emphasized the importance of qualitative metrics.

“[S]ocial media is a long game and the metrics are not always obvious. But failing to engage in social media you have initiated can have a very poor qualitative outcome,” she said.

“What a stellar response,” the Schellers commented in response to Anderson. “So often we forget that social media is just like any relationship: it takes time and usually takes longer than even an in-person friendship would to develop.”

For manufacturers wanting to track specific metrics, St. Clair listed her recommendations: “Follower growth, CTR, reach and impressions, engagements, conversion rates, web traffic and content performance.”

Though host Farbo stated manufacturers should track social media metrics like engagement rate, reach, and conversion rate, it’s important to also measure website traffic from social media on your website’s analytics platform. Why? “These metrics gauge content resonance, social media reach, and impact on business goals like leads and sales,” host Farbo said.

Prioritizing Social Media Channels

Finally, the participants discussed how manufacturers should decide which social media channels to prioritize for their brand presence.

Koch stressed the importance of research.

“Use that [research] to build out your customer persona, and from there you will know where they spend their time & like to get their information,” she said.

The Schellers retweeted Koch’s response and added: “Perfect answer. Research is the basis for understanding which platforms are best to engage on for your company. Find where your target market is, then go there! And if you’re a smaller company, start where you’re comfortable and then expand to where your market is.” 

Social media channels aren’t static. Algorithms change constantly. Facebook used to be the platform for young people but has since fallen out of favor with users in that generation. Twitter became X in 2023. TikTok could be banned in the United States. These examples illustrate the importance of not relying solely on social media.

“Balancing where your customers like to get their information with a platform you can use effectively and consistently is a major trick of social media,” Anderson said. “This is another great reason for having content on your owned platform that social media endeavors can point to.”

To help manufacturers determine which channels they should focus their time on, Rusine shared this research-backed article she published on LinkedIn: “This should help one decide where to be at or nix efforts (depending on the resources),” she added.

Packer brought up customer personas and how they affect the type of content best suited for each social media platform.

“Each platform has a different type of customer. This makes it essential to adjust the post to suit the customer persona of that platform,” Packer said. “For some FB [Facebook] is good for finding new employees. For others, LI [LinkedIn] is great for finding customers. Whilst X is great for the fast conversations that start the buying journey off for the client. Just like we are doing here on #USAMfgHour.”

“I think where they feel the majority of their prospects and customers are. For instance, we do X and LinkedIn but not Facebook at this time,” said Austin.

“I believe this goes back to audience engagement and how your followers on each platform interact,” commented St. Clair.

Host Farbo’s recommendation was in line with participants’ responses.

“When deciding on channels, prioritize based on brand alignment, audience activity, and direct insights from customers,” she advised. “Researching demographics and preferences ensures efforts are focused where they’ll have greater impact for engagement and reach.”


Leveraging social media effectively can significantly enhance a manufacturer’s brand positioning. By showcasing manufacturing processes, engaging with audiences, humanizing the brand, showcasing products authentically, tracking relevant metrics, and prioritizing the right channels, manufacturers can create a strong social media presence that resonates with their target audience.

About #USAMfgHour

Anyone who champions U.S. manufacturing can join in on a new conversation each week on Twitter using the hashtag #USAMfgHour. The chat starts at 11 a.m. Pacific Standard Time/2 p.m. Eastern. Share positive blog posts, helpful articles, news, important information, accomplishments, events, and more with other manufacturers and supporters from throughout the country.

Are you interested in hosting a #USAMfgHour chat? Contact organizers @DCSCinc, @SocialSMktg, and @KeystoneClick.

To learn more about how Keystone Click can help you level up your online presence, contact us.