Friday, November 9th, 2018 | 8 min read
When most people think of brands winning at social media, a few standouts often come to mind (Wendy’s and Oreo, we’re looking at you!). But the food industry isn’t the only one excelling at social. In fact, there are shining examples in a number of sectors – including manufacturing.
The industrial sector has faced a number of challenges in recent years. With the manufacturing skills-gap becoming more pressing as older workers retire, there’s a critical need to attract and retain younger workers in the field.
For better or worse, manufacturing is largely perceived as dull, dirty, and very much a man’s line of work. and while recent developments have changed this image a bit, serious misperceptions remain.
Fortunately, smart manufacturers are using social media to change the way people view the companies that power our world.
General Electric has come a long way since its founding in 1892. While it has maintained core focuses in lighting, transportation, and power transmission, among other product streams, the products themselves have evolved significantly over time.
With modern technology changing the industrial landscape, GE has taken to social media to promote its modern innovations.
GE’s Instagram feed is a great example of how the company appeals to the masses. The brand regularly posts industrial products with an artistic flair: Aircraft engines become a swirl of movement; offshore wind turbines are framed by romantic sunsets; and women on the shopfloor show that manufacturing is no longer a man’s world.
Swipe through to see a few of the showstoppers at last week’s Farnborough Airshow. From the world’s first engine made with 3D-printed fuel nozzles to the first commercial engine with carbon-fiber composite fan blades, these engines were built using the latest advances in manufacturing. Now they can soar through the sky with greater efficiency than was possible before. To discover more behind-the-scenes innovation, head to the link in our bio. Thanks for following our journey! #Farnborough #FIA18 #GEatFIA #GEnX #aviation #ICYMI
A post shared by GE (@generalelectric) on
Before the blades for our Haliade 150-6MW wind turbines are complete, they’re coated with a special paint. This new pro blade ﬁnishing system is only applied on the exit side of the blade where wind jumps off. Wind speeds can reach up to 300 kilometers per hour — faster than the takeoff speed of a Boeing 747. Photographer @nk7 captured the process at @lmwindpower’s facility in Castellón, Spain. To see the facility in action, head to our Story Highlights. #Merkur #Haliade #renewables #turbines #innovationthatexcites
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The company posts captivating photos with detailed captions that explain the technological innovation behind each shot. It understands that Instagram is driven by strong visuals, and captures everyday scenes in compelling ways.
There are few companies that have as much market diversity as The Dow Chemical Company. With a product range that spans transportation, energy, agriculture, packaging, electronics, and more, Dow plays a big role in our daily routines.
So, how does such a large corporation relate to its followers on a human level? It focuses on the human element within its own business.
While many brands post stodgy announcements on their LinkedIn pages, Dow typically posts updates focused on its people. Even if the news is about the company itself, Dow selects a human representative as the face and voice behind the news.
And while Dow features content that relates to material science and products, it tends to tie those updates to current events. For example, during Pride Month, the company highlighted Under Armour’s Pride Edition HOVR shoes, which use Dow foam for comfort and performance.
As the world’s leading steel and mining company, ArcelorMittal is a literal heavyweight in the industrial sector.
Its materials are used in everything from cars, airplanes, construction materials, infrastructure, and household appliances. Any company that uses steel in its products knows ArcelorMittal.
While it’s a leader in somewhat staid industry, ArcelorMittal understands the value of social media.
On Twitter, the brand showcases unique applications for its materials and highlights the need for safety in manufacturing. It also regularly retweets content from the company’s international divisions along with third-party accounts that tweet about steel.
👨🏭👀Because #safety is about day-to-day vigilance, we checked again this morning the reactivity and knowledge of our suppliers in case of an emergency within confined spaces #morningsurprise #SafetyFirst #ZeroAccident #SafetyCulture #valuechain #Belval #Luxembourg pic.twitter.com/qEhINa1XF0
— ArcelorMittal Lux (@ArcelorMittal_L) August 1, 2018
— ArcelorMittal (@ArcelorMittal) July 30, 2018
ArcelorMittal also uses Twitter to position itself in unexpected ways. For example, while the brand is most known for structural steel, it’s also a leader in recycling, turning manufacturing waste into fertilizer for farmers.
Normally, you wouldn’t look at a vehicle and immediately know its brand based on color alone. However, when it comes to heavy equipment, it’s a fair assumption that anything painted Caterpillar Yellow is a member of the Cat Products family.
As a leading supplier of machinery that builds, destroys, and everything in between, Caterpillar is a recognized fixture in forestry, construction, agriculture, and more.
Growing a strong following on YouTube can be a challenge for industrial companies. Caterpillar has found that the secret sauce combines training, safety, and #BuiltForIt Trials.
Cat Products regularly posts product demos, maintenance how-to’s, and examples of Cat equipment performing unexpected jobs – like building a highly elaborate sand castle. The posts regularly get millions of views, so it’s clear that Caterpillar is doing something right.
As a utility company that provides customers throughout North America with modern comforts such as heat and electricity, Direct Energy has a strong customer base. Its services, which include HVAC, plumbing, and electrical maintenance, are all things we use every day without much thought – until something goes wrong, that is. Even so, this is one utility company that goes out of its way to make sure its customers feel appreciated and heard.
It’s no secret that navigating customer support menus over the phone is one of consumers’ most-hated pastimes. The rise of social has both provided a venue to voice that frustration, as well as a new platform to get problems solved.
Direct Energy’s care representatives personally respond to customers’ posts and work with them to address their issues.
Oh, we are happy to hear that you have been taken care of. Thank you for letting us know! Please know you can use this channel in the future if you have any further questions or concerns. Have a nice day! -Eleanor
— Direct Energy (@DirectEnergy) November 8, 2018
Hello Jen, my name is Tanya and I work out of the Direct Energy Edmonton office. Please private message me the address and I will investigate the situation to determine what's occurred. Thank you – Tanya
— Direct Energy (@DirectEnergy) November 5, 2018
As one of the world’s largest energy delivery systems, Con Edison is a household name throughout New York City and Westchester County, NY, where it provides electricity, gas, and steam services.
With millions of built-in customers, why would a brand like Con Ed need social media at all, let alone a comprehensive presence? It all boils down to customer care, which the company excels at online.
Utility companies often get a bad rap online. If somebody’s tweeting to their electric or gas provider, it’s more than likely due to a problem or outage. To combat this issue, ConEdison takes a proactive approach to social media with regular posts to keep followers in the loop.
The brand’s community managers respond to customers directly and post real-time updates about repairs, weather advisories, safety tips, and more.
— Con Edison (@ConEdison) January 31, 2019
Before severe weather strikes, be prepared. We're keeping watch and staying ready. Text REG to 688243 to get updates about power outages at your home or business. #Safetyfirst #StormSafety pic.twitter.com/ZRhYtqyLfT
— Con Edison (@ConEdison) January 18, 2019
For centuries, industrial companies have been at the forefront of global innovation. So while most observers may not associate steel and chemical production with whip-smart social media strategies, it’s not exactly surprising that big manufacturers are establishing unique voices across the digital landscape.
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