Industry 4.0 is one of the most important innovations in human history. It brought about dramatic changes in our daily lives.
This includes how we communicate as well as how we do business. This means that there are new opportunities to reach customers in new ways, through digital tools and social media, for example.
Social media marketing will become even more important as we move into the era of Industry 4.0.
In a world where technology plays an increasingly central role in all facets of our lives, the ability to connect with customers and followers through social media will be critical for businesses of all sizes.
And as the world becomes more connected, businesses that embrace social media marketing will have a huge competitive advantage over companies that don’t.
And while these marketing communication technologies seem overwhelming at first glance, it provides an opportunity for small and medium-sized manufacturers to leapfrog larger competitors.
In this article, we will cover:
- What is Industry 4.0? How did it all begin?
- How does Industry 4.0 impact social media marketing today?
- How does Industry 4.0 power up social media marketing of manufacturers?
- And most importantly, what steps should small-to medium-sized manufacturers take when starting their own social selling journey?
What is Industry 4.0?
The term “Industry 4.0” was publicly introduced in Germany as Industrie 4.0 in 2011 in the Hannover Fair in Germany. Since then, many industries around the world have adopted the term.
Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairperson of the World Economic Forum, explained that Industry 4.0 refers to any set of emerging technologies that are changing the way products are designed, manufactured and distributed.
These innovations include advanced analytics, machine learning, advanced robotics, 3D printing, artificial intelligence (AI), IoT, cloud computing, autonomous machines, big data, among others.
This new wave of digital transformation is based on four main pillars:
These four pillars aim to create a more efficient production process by increasing connectivity between machines, people, and data.
With these connected technologies, this means that the way products are designed, manufactured, distributed, sold – and marketed will change drastically.
All industries are being affected by these digital technologies, but the manufacturing and construction sectors are two areas where Industry 4.0 is having the biggest impact today and leading the pack in the trend of automation.
Industry 4.0 is already changing everything from product design to supply chain management. But what does this mean to your business in this age of digital disruption?
How does Industry 4.0 impact social media marketing for small and medium-sized manufacturers today?
Industry 4.0’s technology solutions allow us to leverage the power of automation and artificial intelligence to increase efficiency and reduce costs.
Before Industry 4.0, small and medium-sized manufacturers lacked the connected technologies we have today and relied on traditional methods of advertising like snail mail, newspapers, television, or billboards.
These methods can be ineffective and costly.
On average, traditional billboards cost anywhere between $750 per month and $14,000 or more...signpost.com
Whereas with social media done right, ads are cheaper and have far wider reach.
Besides that, you can do free word-of-mouth advertising before you even pay for ads!
Nowadays, with Industry 4.0, small and medium-sized manufacturing companies can easily connect with customers through social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, and many others.
They use these social networks to promote themselves, build brand awareness, create customer loyalty, develop strong relationships with their audience, enhance sales, and much more.
77% of U.S. companies use social media for these very reasons. (Source)
Not surprisingly, small business owners spend an average of 6 hours a week on social media, according to HubSpot.
Why is this significant?
Because it shows how much importance SMEs place on social media.
Compared to big corporations, small-to-mid-sized manufacturing enterprises rely heavily on word-of-mouth referrals.
That’s why it’s so important for them to have a strong presence in social media.
Hence, underscoring a study by SproutSocial that “91% of executives anticipate their company’s social media marketing budget will increase over the next three years, and the majority expect it will increase by more than 50%”
7 Ways Industry 4.0 is increasing the power of social media for small-to-medium manufacturers
In order to succeed at social media marketing, small and medium-sized manufacturers must first understand the implications of industry 4.0 on social media marketing.
This will give them a better understanding of the potential benefits of social media marketing for business continuity and help them make better decisions when choosing the right strategies for their companies.
1. Customer Experience
Under Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things (IoT) has become one of the most important trends in business today, but it’s not just about connecting smart devices–it’s also about connecting people.
As the internet technology becomes more pervasive, we’ll see an explosion of new opportunities to engage consumers and drive revenue growth.
A recent study by IBM revealed that companies who are able to incorporate effectively customer experience management (CEM) into their overall strategy enjoy higher levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Besides this, CEM helps improve operational efficiency, reduce costs, and optimize processes.
So using social media to talk to customers and connect with them on a personal level is an essential ingredient for success in the age of Industry 4.0.
2. Product Development and Innovation
It’s no secret that consumers love being involved in the decision-making process.
A key benefit of using social media is that it enables small-to-medium manufacturers to innovate faster because they can get feedback directly from their target audience.
By listening to feedback from customers, you can develop new ideas and test out prototypes earlier.
That means less time wasted developing a product and that you can make a product that your customers actually want.
This is especially true with emerging business or industrial technologies like Industry 4.0, which allows for new products and services to be developed and tested before ever reaching the market.
3. Deepen and expand business connections
Social networking sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram can be excellent tools for expanding and for deepening connections with business contacts, customers, and potential partners.
If you’ve ever attended a trade show, then you know how important it is to meet new contacts.
Social media platforms give you the ability to build relationships with potential customers and partners before you even step foot in the door.
4. Actionable business intelligence
With the rise of Industry 4.0 comes the need for the business environment to be more data-driven to thrive.
That’s why many are turning to social media’s business analytics to help them make smarter business decisions.
85% of executives report that social data will be a primary source of business intelligence for their company moving forward.sproutsocial
With so much data available, it becomes crucial for businesses to collect and analyze it quickly and efficiently. Doing so can help them understand their customers and what they want better, which will result in better marketing strategies and a higher success rate.
Luckily, social media provides access to all kinds of actionable intelligence.
However, collecting data is not as simple as one might think.
It requires a lot of effort, time, and money.
In fact, according to a recent report by Forrester Research, only about half of all companies have a plan in place to capture social data.
If this is a challenge for you, I suggest you contact social media consulting companies, *cough* like ours, that have the experience of gathering and analyzing data relevant to your business success.
5. Improved lead generation
In an interview with Business News Daily, Abdul Muhammad, chief digital officer and partner at rbb Communications, said, “People are on social media all day, every day – brands must go where the people are.”
Leads can be generated through various channels, including social media.
With the connected technology, you have access to tools and artificial intelligence (AI) that can help your manufacturing company target your audience based on location, age, gender, interests, and other real-time data.
You can use that information through paid advertising to scale your marketing efforts.
6. Competitive information at your fingertips
In the past, it was difficult to obtain accurate information about a competitor’s marketing strategies and operations.
However, with Industry 4.0, it is now possible to get real-time data about a competitor’s marketing activities.
This enables you to analyze their strengths and weaknesses, so that you can take steps to improve your own business model.
According to Crayon’s 2021 State of Competitive Intelligence, 96% of businesses say their competitors’ social media accounts are valuable sources of intel.sproutsocial
By keeping up with the competition, you can step up your marketing game and continuously improve your strategies and business processes. That’s thanks to our advanced technologies!
7. Better understanding of customer behavior
The rise of Industry 4.0 has led to the development of intelligent systems in many aspects of industry that can predict future trends.
These systems use artificial intelligence to analyze large amounts of data and provide insights to inform decision making.
According to a recent report published by McKinsey & Company, approximately 50% of companies expect to deploy advanced analytics technology over the next two years. This includes using predictive analytics.
Predictive Analytics: A Quick Primer
In simple terms, predictive analytics is the process of analyzing data and making predictions based on that analysis.
We can use predictive analytics for anything, from predicting the weather to predicting customer behavior.
For instance, you can use predictive analytics to determine which products or services will sell well.
You can also use predictive analytics to identify potential problems before they occur.
These insights can be used to make better decisions and improve overall performance.
The right steps to get started
Now that we have laid the basics out, how can manufacturers get started with social media marketing under Industry 4.0? How can you make sure your company is represented in the best possible light?
- Define your goals. What are your objectives? Do you want to generate more leads? Increase brand awareness? Generate more sales? Determine what your ultimate goal is.
- Identify your target market. Who are your ideal clients? How old are they? Where do they live? What industries do they belong to?
- Develop a strong message. Your social media messages should reflect your company’s values and culture. Be authentic and genuine. You want to build trust and credibility.
- Create an engaging content plan. Content is king! Make sure you post regularly and consistently. Plan your content around your overall marketing strategy.
- Use the right platforms. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc., have become essential parts of our lives.
You need to develop strategies to leverage these platforms effectively.
Each one is different because of users and nature of the platform.
Choose the right platform based on your industry and the type of audience you want to reach.
- Engage with influencers. Influencer marketing is one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your website or increase engagement on social media.
You can find influencers within your niche through online research. Reach out to them directly and ask for recommendations.
- Monitor your performance. Set up Google Analytics and other tracking software so you know which posts perform best. Learn from your mistakes and improve.
- Measure results. Manufacturers need to measure social media results in order to understand how well the social media campaigns are performing.
You can use this information to determine whether you need to make any changes to your campaigns or to your overall marketing strategy.
Measuring social media results can help manufacturers track the success of their campaigns over time and determine which channels are most effective for reaching their target audience.
- Repeat. Once you’ve mastered social media marketing, keep repeating the same steps until you achieve success.
Moving forward in the Age of Industry 4.0
The rise of Industry 4.0 has made it easier for small and medium-sized manufacturers to connect with their consumers through social media.
By providing your business with a powerful communication channel it also gives you access to a vast base of prospective customers.
However, simply posting content on social media platforms does not guarantee results without a well thought-out strategy.
On top of that, your company will still need to monitor trends, analyze data, and engage in social media to reach potential clients.
If you have come to the point where you feel social media is becoming out of your depth, consider outsourcing your social media management to a professional social media marketing agency, like ours, who can take all of that burden off of your shoulders.
In our case, we like to work with companies who already have been in the trenches of social media. We can help you take it to the next level. We help companies:
- Improve business intelligence using analytics
- Meet business customers wherever they are in their purchasing journey using social media
- Increase engagement and drive traffic back to your website
- Manage multiple social media channels, and more!
We take pride in working with small to medium-sized manufacturers by making their social media work from start to finish. Our goal is simple: to make sure your business succeeds.