Overcoming Challenges and Connecting the Industry
BY CHRISTINE TORRES
Published April 01, 2021
Disruptions across all industries in the past year have made it necessary for manufacturers and others to communicate better through untapped and new technologies. “As a media brand for the industry, connecting is part of what we do and what we're passionate about,” said Rebekah Mechtensimer, sales and marketing manager at Empowering Pumps & Equipment. Connecting has become challenging, but also more important. Mechtensimer lead the chat on connecting the industry for this week’s #USAMfgHour on Twitter.
Methods of Communication
The world realized in a year like no other how important frontline communication is in industry and beyond. According to Hootsuite, the number of social media users jumped by 13% in just one year. The top platform was Facebook, then YouTube, according to Sprout Social’s statistics. Mechtensimer asked the group of manufacturers and supporters: What are some of your favorite apps and platforms to connect with people in the industry?
“Gene's favorite is Twitter of course. He is our Social Media Guru,” said Shannon Simpson of DuraTech. “He is such a genius-hence his name. Gene E. Uss. He also runs our ChatBot on our website. We also use LinkedIn and Facebook.”
“Twitter and most of our social media platforms are a big way to stay connected--also Zoom and Teams,” said Julie Basello of Radwell International.
“Typically, I enjoy using Twitter and LinkedIn,” said Ben Nordman of Obsidian Manufacturing. “Facebook a little bit with groups.”
“Linkedin and Twitter are big ones,” said Julianne Schaub of Striven Business Software. “We've also learned a lot about different industries from these platforms as well!”
“I prefer Twitter and Facebook. LinkedIn, not so much,” said JD Allen of Cleveland Deburring Machine Company.
“I love them all,” said Empowering Pumps founder Charli K. Matthews. “IG is still my favorite, because I am still learning how to master stories. It is a great creative challenge!”
How can we make our industry community stronger by connecting online?
“Forums, groups, and industry-related webinars and virtual meetings are all good places to build a network,” said Sue Nordman of Obsidian Manufacturing.
“Understand that all #socialmedia is a conversation,” said Dave Meyer of BizzyWeb. “It's not a place for spam, it's where you engage your audience with thoughtful, helpful info. Knowing your audience and their interests goes a long way. Help, help, help - not sell, sell, sell.”
“Well with COVID, everything is becoming virtual anyway, but it was already heading that way, I think,” said Obsidian Manufacturing. “It's the future of how business will be done though and is a great place to help each other succeed and find new business for ourselves.”
“Be consistent with your #community,” said John Buglino of Optessa. “I try to attend the same Twitter chats, clubhouse sessions, spaces, etc. I always share what I am doing to raise awareness even if no one else joins in.”
“Introductions of one to another is a great start,” said Rebecca Hart of Drive Source International/Dynamatic. “Also, knowing and understand what needs and challenges your connections have so those introductions can be meaningful.”
“The best way to make the community stronger by helping as many people as you can,” said Sam Gupta of ElevatIQ. “Help with jobs, leads, connections, intros. It will come back.”
“We have been consistently gathering around here on Thursdays to support each other,” said Ruby Rusine of Social Success Marketing. “We are keen on inviting manufacturing companies and encourage our regulars to host the chat so *they* get seen more.”
“Finding the right people through events, webinars, or here on social media,” said Striven. “It always helps if you have a genuine interest in what one another has to offer. I don't want to join a group just because of a large following. What's the quality of those interactions?”
“Groups and chats like these are a great way to grow and strengthen a community,” said Noah Katzenstein of Artus Corporation. “Also, don’t be afraid to like and follow back.”
“Share resources and advice,” said Gina Tabasso of Dar-Tech. “A few examples I have given and received within this group: analytics help, job search advice, video creation and podcast advice, guest blogs, and more.”
“Connecting online builds trust and partnership,” said Matthews. “We can see what is important to our connections. We can celebrate with them and help them make a bigger impact on things that matter to them the most!”
“Whatever the platform, be INCLUSIVE,” said Radwell. “So many groups are not, and it was such a refreshing change to meet the folks in this group because everyone was included and welcomed. That is massive when it comes to online connecting.”
“By actively engaging online,” said Mechtensimer of Empowering Pumps. “With all of the different social channels and apps out there it can be hard to keep up with them all. But it’s important to find one or two that have your core community on it that you make sure you keep up with and show up for.”
“This is a great reminder,” said DuraTech. “You can easily get caught up in too many and nurture the ones that help you the most.”
What are some of your favorite Manufacturing/Industry news resources?
“Relating to marketing, I really like HubSpot and Hootsuite for their marketing articles and information,” said Obsidian Manufacturing. “For manufacturing, I tend to go with Forbes.”
“I tend to look to @Gartner_inc, @industrydive @TheManufacturer @cscmp for the bulk of things,” said Buglino. “I also spend a lot of time on Twitter researching topics, companies, and news.”
“I subscribe to all industry pubs in coatings, inks, plastics, etc.,” said Dar-Tech. “I use my feed on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I get email from trade associations.”
“I’d have to go with Empowering Pumps and #pumptalk,” said Matthews. “I also love Twitter for news… I can get so much info in a very short time based on who I follow! #whoyoufollowmatters I also love its real-time capabilities via hashtags around events - like this one!”
“@EmpoweringPumps, @MFGTalkRadio, @IndustryWeek, @WisconsinMC, @MfrsNews, among others. We're always reading and listening,” said DSI/Dynamatic.
What are your favorite ways people/companies are educating people virtually about our industry?
“I simply love the sheer volume of content, of all types, that are being published by people/brands/companies,” said Buglino. “We need to continue to get over the 'curse of knowledge' and share what we know!”
“Good articles, a webinar if it is of value and not just sales-oriented, blogs,” said Dar-Tech. “I did a column on manufacturing in a local newspaper (and on their digital version) and learned so much during my research and interviews, too. Made good friends.”
“We just started producing educational videos and we have a webinar teed up for later this year,” said DSI/Dynamatic.
“Webinars, Podcasts, Virtual Trainings, Oh My! We also love a good live video on social,” said Empowering Pumps.
What type of digital resources has been the most beneficial to you during the pandemic?
“All online video platforms (we've used several) have been lifesavers,” said DSI/Dynamatic. “Without being able to be in person, it's the only way we've connected that's close to being in person.”
“Zoom is tops in all areas of my life. Teams. Email. Social media. And new technology like @headlinervideo @Animoto and @wavve to create video, video memes, and audiograms,” said Dar-Tech.
“Zoom/Slack for calls + staying connecting with my team,” said Buglino. “Been dabbling with a few video/animation makers to see what can be accomplished.”
“I just joined at the start of 2021, but honestly-Striven (genuine, not a plug), the company runs on the same software it sells,” said Striven. “We work from wherever & communicate with teammates, customers. We're efficient and it allows us time to invest in relationships we've made.”
“Zoom was key to keeping the whole team up to date and on the same page,” said Artus. “Social media was a great way for us to connect while trade shows and other in-person networking opportunities were shut down.”
“We love a good meme and there have been a LOT of them this past year, but webinars and video chats have emerged as a favorite for our audience,” said Empowering Pumps. “Without a doubt 2020 has taught us how important connection is, as individuals and as a community. With a mission to connect, inform, and educate the industry, we have been so very lucky to have such an amazing community to keep us moving and constantly inspired!”
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.