The Power of Participation: Why Twitter Chats Matter for Manufacturers

Author: Whitney Koch

Digital marketing strategies and social media platforms are ever-evolving. Despite its ups and downs, X (sometimes still referred to as Twitter) and its on-platform chats continue to be a powerful tool for businesses to engage with their audience, showcase expertise, and build meaningful relationships. For manufacturers, participation in these chats holds the potential to amplify brand presence, connect with industry peers and gain valuable insights. 

Ruby Rusine of Social Success Marketing, a B2B social media and SEO content marketing services agency, and her team led a recent #USAMfgHour chat on X about this topic. Along with industry experts and practitioners, host Rusine delved into the significance of manufacturers engaging in Twitter chats, exploring challenges, benefits and strategies to leverage this platform effectively. 

Overcoming Social Media Engagement Challenges

The chat began with a conversation about social media engagement and the biggest challenges manufacturers face in this aspect of marketing.

“From our observation, the same challenges that a lot of people face: relevance and consistency,” answered Anna and Susannah Scheller of  Capri Temporary Housing. “Most of us tend to forget the social aspect of social media when we’re posting for a company.”

Host Rusine affirmed the Schellers’ response.

“You’re absolutely right,” she said. “Relevance and consistency are definitely common hurdles for social media accounts, especially for businesses. It’s easy to get caught up in the mechanics of posting and forget the real people you’re trying to connect with.”

The Schellers agreed with host Rusine.

“People are the most important thing!” they exclaimed. “But it’s often so easy to lose sight of that when you’re working on platforms where you don’t actually see the people’s faces or know who you’re reaching.”

Nigel Packer of PelaTis Online recommended manufacturers take a strategic approach to social media engagement and listed four concrete ways they can do that.

“Use the search facility in the platform and find the conversations you want to get involved with. Create the conversations your customers want to be in. Pick specific times. Share and connect,” said Packer. 

To follow up on Packer’s response, host Rusine observed how social media users sometimes miss the mark when it comes to engagement.

“Interesting how some people say that engagement is dead on Twitter, right? ~> Search + Engage,” she said.

Whitney Koch of Keystone Click shared the top three challenges she has observed, which sparked a lively thread about the importance of communication and relationships.

“Not knowing which channel(s) they should be on. Spreading their (likely small) marketing team thin by being on too many platforms. Posting + ghosting – that is, they have no plan for responding to comments, interacting with followers, or keeping profiles current,” Koch stated.

Host Rusine noted that “posting and ghosting” seems to be the norm for businesses. “Would you agree?” she asked Koch.

“It does, which is unfortunate,” Koch replied to host Rusine. “Companies seem to forget it’s ‘social’ media.”

Kirsten Austin of DCSC, Inc. responded to Koch and observed how businesses sometimes treat marketing.

“… and [companies] cut marketing dollars. The last thing anyone wants to do is cut out marketing in times like these,” Austin emphasized. “If anything, you need to get seen, be seen, and be in the front.”

The Schellers affirmed Austin’s observation and commentary.

“Absolutely! Being front of mind with reliable relationships is crucial in an uncertain market,” they asserted.

Koch interjected in agreement and shared her concurring opinion. 

“💯 There’s great data out there about how a recession (which a lot of companies have been worried about) is NOT the time to cut back on marketing spend,” she stated.

Austin then shared an instance demonstrating how social media engagement can result in valuable connections and information that can help their bottom line.

“[H]ere is an example of a chat that can help manufacturers uncover money leaks straight out of the gate in other areas. This was led by Adam Baker [of Schooley Mitchell, cost reduction experts], and we appreciate @Radwell_Intl for being a team recap lead. There are SEVERAL good money tips” said Austin.

Seizing her moment, Austin shared her admiration for business owners who survived the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I give huge hats off to anyone who still is in business after the last few crazy years,” Austin raved. “You have a right to be seen and not be forgotten. If you’re still standing, you’re still in the game!  Plus you’re doing something very well.”

Amy Anderson brought the thread back to the concept of ghosting on social media. 

“Asynchronous communication is still communication. Ghosting is not!” Anderson proclaimed. “To some extent, folks ‘get’ that business accounts are not always available, but to never respond to your engagement opportunities is wasting your initial investment in Social.”

Concurring with Anderson, the Schellers replied: “Very true! The true value of social media comes in the relationships that are cultivated through interaction.”

Concluding this portion of the chat, host Rusine listed common challenges to social media engagement and how chats on X like #USAMfgHour can help overcome them.

“Common challenges include limited time, finding relevant conversations, and measuring ROI. Twitter chats address these by providing a focused discussion with a specific hashtag.”

Unveiling the Benefits of Twitter Chat Participation

Moving the discussion from the topic of challenges to wins, host Rusine asked participants to name the benefits manufacturers can reap when they participate in Twitter chats.

Packer sprung in with his answer.

“Seeing – being seen. Hearing – being heard. Learning  – educating others. Growing – growing others. The benefits are multifaceted if you are willing to invest the time and thought,” he said. 

“Love this way of framing it!” gushed host Rusine in response to Packer. “Social media truly is a powerful tool for reciprocal growth.”

Replying to Packer, the Schellers added: “It’s rare when you can find a resource for marketing that provides such reciprocal benefits, spot on.”

“I think manufacturers do not understand the amount of exposure you get out here on X,” noted Austin. “Even within our own #USAMfgHour Community, we’ve networked, helped people find suppliers, jobs, etc. Also as a benefit, we actually learn many things manufacturers can implement in their operations. Money savings, efficiencies, resources, etc.”

In response, the Schellers extolled Austin’s answer, stating: “What a comprehensive answer. The benefits are extensive..!”

Additionally, host Rusine shared a potential challenge preventing manufacturers from benefitting from Twitter chats. 

“Resource constraints may be one of the many factors too,” she said.

The Schellers chimed in with their own response.

“Increased connection to different people and showing that there is more to the company than just a brand and logo!” they exclaimed. “It increases visibility over different topics and humanizes the brand.”

“Spot on!” host Rusine said to affirm the Schellers’ comment. “Increased connection and humanizing the brand are exactly what we’re aiming for.”

Koch told how her involvement with the #USAMfgHour Twitter chat benefitted her former employer and herself.

“I got to know #USAMfgHour when I was with my former company,” Koch explained. “Managing our socials, Twitter was our worst-performing channel. Once I got involved in the chat, we gained a lot of traction & some great opportunities to collaborate. It was also a big help to me personally.”

“Empathy,” asserted Anderson. “Discussing relevant topics helps manufacturers rise from the natural tunnel vision of creating excellent products and see a broader picture to enhance their business. These chats are a quick Community of Practice/Lunch and Learn type opportunity!”

Expounding on Anderson’s assertion, host Rusine described another benefit for manufacturers.

“You’re right, manufacturers can get laser-focused on product excellence,” she said. “Social media lets them see the world through their customers’ eyes, understanding their needs, concerns, and how the products are actually used.”

To conclude, host Rusine listed the “wins” she and her team have observed and experienced for themselves.

  • Build brand awareness & industry expertise
  • Connect with potential customers & partners
  • Share best practices & learn from peers
  • Address industry challenges & advocate for change

“I love the learning part!” Koch replied. “It’s wonderful to know with certainty that you will learn something new during #USAMfgHour each week.”

Strengthening Customer Relationships Through Chat Participation

With chat participants recognizing the benefits of Twitter chats, especially for gathering industry and customer insights, host Rusine asked how manufacturers could leverage chat participation to build stronger customer relationships. 

“Other than on different platforms, I have not seen manufacturers organise (sic) Q&A hour with their customers,” Packer observed.

Packer’s observation was well-received by participants.

“Hint to manufacturers,” host Rusine commented.

“Fantastic idea!” exclaimed the Schellers. “Q&A done right can be so valuable for both parties involved.”

“Love the Q&A idea!” echoed Koch. “I had suggested to my previous employer that we organize virtual lunch & learns and hold regular ‘office hours’ for customers.” 

Manufacturers do not always have to be leading the conversation though, according to Koch.

“I think Twitter chats are a great opportunity for you to learn your customers’ industries better,” she said. “That will help you learn their lingo/jargon and be better able to address their pain points.”

“You hit the nail on the head, Whit!” host Rusine certified. 

The Schellers view Twitter chats as an opportunity to foster customer relationships.

“[T]hey could be used as a great place to form greater connections with customers and develop relationships that go deeper than transactions,” said the Schellers.

“Absolutely!” host Rusine agreed. “Social media can be so much more than just a sales channel. It’s a virtual handshake, a chance to build real connections and communities around your brand.”

Some manufacturers struggle to understand the significance of an active social media presence. Koch shared how marketers could leverage the relationship-building aspect of social media to gain leadership buy-in.

“Personal relationships are so important. I think this is a great way to frame the importance of social media engagement for old-school manufacturers who believe relationship-building can only happen face-to-face,” suggested Koch.

“Personal relationships developed here is (sic) so undervalued,” host Rusine lamented. “And yet companies pay $$$$ to pay or get in one of the many networking events.”

Host Rusine drove this home with her final response:

“Twitter chats foster a sense of community. By directly addressing customer questions and concerns, manufacturers demonstrate transparency and build trust. This two-way communication strengthens brand loyalty.”

Leveraging Chats for Subtle Selling and Expert Positioning

Though manufacturers can listen and learn from Twitter chats, they can also embrace subtle selling and use them as an opportunity to showcase their expertise.

Host Rusine asked participants to describe how manufacturers can use Twitter chats to promote their products or services. 

“Hosting a Twitter chat is an ideal way to showcase industry expertise without being overtly sales-y,” stated Koch. “You can build your K-L-T (Know-Like-Trust) factor that way, which could lead to future sales.”

Koch followed up her answer with a reminder to manufacturers: “But remember that social media marketing is not going to lead to a $1 million sale overnight! It’s a long game,” she emphasized.

“It’s part of a several-pronged business approach,” Austin said, agreeing with Koch. “There is never really just one long shot.”

“Truth,” host Rusine declared. “Great reminder. Definitely not going to get a client with one single tweet. It’s a long game.”

“It is one of the many steps in the journey,” Packer added. “If you don’t make this step, you will not get to your destination.”

Though individual tweets typically have a short shelf life, Twitter chats have staying power, especially when recaps are posted online. Austin shared her personal experience as a longtime co-chair of the #USAMfgHour chat.

“[W]e’ve had a great round of manufacturing companies and champions lead chats,” Austin said. “All with very good information. All lasting a long time out here with content and information available. HINT Recaps. #USAMfgHour, Bookmark this page!

“I’m currently working on a series of engagement conversations for a client,” said Packer. “It involves a range of digital assets for the launch of a new suite of services for the UK construction industry. Much of it is for the customers of the client’s client.”

Aside from hosting a Twitter chat about a topic in an area of expertise, the Schellers offered another way for manufacturers to help prospects along the buying journey. 

“[F]inding good chats to provide insightful answers is a great way to be front of mind before people buy,” the Schellers said.

Host Rusine agreed.

“Hosting a Twitter chat is a fantastic way to establish yourself as an expert and build brand awareness,” she commented. “Becoming a valuable contributor in existing chats can be a goldmine too!

However manufacturers choose to sell in Twitter chats, host Rusine advises them to do it subtly.

“Provide valuable insight as a reliable source of information. When relevant, offer solutions your company provides w/o being pushy. People will be more receptive to learning about your offerings if they see you as a helpful industry expert,” she said. 

Measuring Success in Twitter Chat Participation

As with any marketing tactic, it’s necessary to decide how to measure it. To close the conversation, host Rusine asked participants to suggest how manufacturers can measure the success of their participation in Twitter chats.

“Oh, this is a tough one,” the Schellers admitted. “Like any kind of marketing, it’s hard to have clear-cut ‘this is where this is coming from’ pieces of data. Especially since it can take years for relationships formed through marketing like Twitter/X Chats to produce anything.”

Sympathizing with the Schellers, host Rusine said: “For sure it is not linear, and with so many data (sic) we now have access, data overload is inevitable.”

“You can look at Twitter metrics to track how engagement changes over time,” Koch proposed. “But of course, it’s important to first set some SMART goals so you are clear on what you’re trying to achieve with your participation.”

“Absolutely essential to have a clear roadmap before diving into the social media sea,” concurred host Rusine.

Host Rusine’s recommendation to manufacturers is to host a Twitter chat themselves. Along with Austin, host Rusine has been a co-chair of #USAMfgHour since its inception in 2020. From her leadership and hosting experience, she has seen firsthand how being a chat host drives results.

“Witness the engagement skyrocket compared to regular days with built-in Twitter metrics!” host Rusine enthused.


This #USAMfgHour chat illustrated the transformative potential of Twitter chats for manufacturers. Twitter chats are a valuable platform for manufacturers to amplify brand awareness and, more importantly, foster meaningful connections. 

By engaging strategically, sharing their expertise, and prioritizing customer relationships, manufacturers can harness the power of Twitter chats to drive growth and success in the digital age.

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.