Representor Winter 2020 - Guest Feature

Social media playbook: A 10-minute approach for manufacturers’ reps

by Patrick Knoelke
Managing Director and Founder
Spyre Group

Patrick Knoelke is managing director and founder of Spyre Group, a design and technology firm focused on building sales tools and cloud-based solutions to help sales teams engage their customers. Spyre Group is a Silver Microsoft Partner and an ERA Recognized Resource.

For more information about Spyre Group, visit www.spyregroup.com/reps. Patrick can be reached at pknoelke@spyregroup.com, or at 913-499-6014.

There are only two real outcomes from B2B marketing: generate leads for the sales team or increase brand/product awareness in the marketplace. Social media’s purpose is the latter.

I would bet most of you can’t directly correlate any revenues earned from anything on social media, so you wonder why to spend any effort on it at all. Here’s the truth for companies selling in the business-to-business (B2B) environment: You probably won’t ever realize revenues from social media.

There are only two real outcomes from B2B marketing: generate leads for the sales team or increase brand/product awareness in the marketplace. Social media’s purpose is the latter.

Technical sales organizations are hired to be in front of customers to increase visibility to products and generate sales opportunities. Social media is only a small part of increasing visibility to the marketplace. The key is using an approach that helps your lines, but doesn’t waste your time.

The rep approach

For starters, only focus on LinkedIn. Have each person at your firm spend 10 to 15 minutes per week on LinkedIn to help promote your manufacturers visibility to your network, but only if your manufacturers are generating content for their company. For example, one of your lines posts an update about a case study or whitepaper on their company page, each person in your firm “Likes” or “Comments” on it. That’s it. This process can help create visibility of their update and company through the feeds of people you’re connected to.

Do

• “Follow” every company page for the manufacturers you represent.
• “Connect” with every regional manager and other people you work with at your manufacturers.
• “Connect” with customers you have a working relationship with.
• “Like” and “Comment” on your manufacturers’ company updates and posts.
• Post any events, trainings, meetings your team attends, if you have a picture.
• Join all industry association groups your organization is a member of.
• Update your company page and each person’s profile every year.

Don’t

• Don’t spend any effort on platforms other than LinkedIn.
• Don’t post about any products, unless you have a story about assisting in the product development.
• Don’t spend more than 15 minutes a week on social media.
• Don’t offer to be your manufacturers digital marketing team.

A rep’s primary job is to be in front of customers, so this realistic approach to using social media will help increase visibility for your lines without expelling much effort away from your primary function. So, keep your process simple and make your entire team participate. It will increase visibility for your manufacturers while supporting their marketing efforts. This will demonstrate your commitment to your partnerships, with a chance it may indirectly lead to more sales opportunities.

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