Social media vital — and fun

Joseph Nieckarz

Published: August 9, 2013 3:55 pm ET
Updated: August 13, 2013 4:51 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Education & Training

Some plastics manufacturers are blogging, posting and building their professional online communities, and enjoying the spoils of being early adopters. Yet, many of their peers are still slow to embrace social media, even though their competitors are doing so.

Those that believe in it, engage in it and take advantage of it assess the value of social media against a different set of criteria than those that don't. The converted view it as an ongoing networking opportunity. For them, it isn't a new way to build relationships and reputations but an old and easier way to build them — thanks to the Internet.

Think back to the last trade show you attended. You were communicating just by being there. Your presence alone said your company is alive and well and that you were ready to do business with new customers. As you attended breakout sessions or panel discussions you began to form relationships with other participants. You were building your community.

Did you make any immediate sales? No. And yet the time out of the office, not to mention travel costs, were a well-spent investment in your company and future growth.

This is exactly how social media works, except that you don't have to take two days out of the office and pony up for a hotel room, airfare and entry fees. And because it's online, you have access to an unlimited number of potential community members — not just those that attend the same events.

As with offline professional communities, online communities should comprise the same mix of industry professionals you'd find at the show: vendors, customers, prospects, subcontractors, parts and materials provi¬d-

ders,¬ R&D people — anyone and everyone that somehow touches your realm of the industry.

But how and where do you find an online community? Actually, your online community finds you. Via LinkedIn, Twitter, blogging. You get it started by seeding the clouds. Join related LinkedIn communities and set up one for your company to cross pollinate members. Use tools like followerwonk to target potential participants. Go through your emails, even that old Rolodex, make a list and then go to LinkedIn and look them up. Send them an invite and then get ready to join the conversation. Once you get connected, you'll be amazed how quickly it takes off.

The idea is to put yourself in the role of editor; not marketer. In doing so, you'll become the facilitator of engagement among your community members as well as its leading voice. Keep it up and you'll be a "thought" leader before you know it.

Marketing's most valuable currency is a shared passion and by engaging your professional brethren through social media you can network and make important connections and contacts all year long — no airfare or hotel room necessary. Instead of being a keynote speaker for 20 minutes every six months or so, you can be a keynote speaker on an ongoing basis.

And just as with a trade event, you will eventually get an email or a call or a referral that does lead to business. So get on LinkedIn, start a blog or begin following and tweeting on Twitter. Not only will it pay off, here's another insider's secret. Once you get into it, it's really fun.

Joseph Nieckarz is product manager for ThomasNet of New York.


Social media vital — and fun

Joseph Nieckarz

Published: August 9, 2013 3:55 pm ET
Updated: August 13, 2013 4:51 pm ET

Post Your Comments

Back to story

Market Reports

Market Data Book - Rankings & Lists

A one-stop download of Plastic News' exclusive annual lists and processor rankings containing essential data including sales, employees, end markets, materials and more.
EXCLUSIVE EXCEL FEATURE: full mailing address details for available plant locations.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report provides analysis and discussions of economic and political conditions, market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies. In addition, there are reviews of 25 leading thermoformers in the packaging segment, assessing their growth initiatives and performance metrics over 10 years.

Learn more

Mold Making and Tooling Review and Outlook 2014 North America

This report provides in-depth analysis of the mold and toolmaking market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats, the latest developments in production and labor and equipment trends impacting moldmakers.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

May 6, 2014 - May 8, 2014Plastics in Medical Devices 2014

May 12, 2014 - May 12, 2014Plastics News Brazil Pharma Summit

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 3, 2015 - February 7, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events