Are you convinced yet of the importance of learning about social media?
I've editorialized on the topic before, and I'm starting to notice that quite a few plastics companies have really jumped in with both feet. But many more are still afraid to take a first step.
For those who need convincing, let's recall a few examples from the past year of how companies like yours have used social media:
* When injection molder Plastikos Inc. decided to pursue the Plastics News Processor of the Year award, managers used social media to spread the word. The company ended up being nominated by 21 people, including customers, suppliers and community groups.
* Dow Chemical Co. made social media a centerpiece of its effort to get noticed at the K 2010 show. The company created a portal that linked its Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages. The result was 6,300 views of K-specific Dow videos, and 146 “Dow at K 2010” Facebook fans.
These companies, and others, have also established reputations as first-movers. Think about how that might help them attract talented new employees, or stay in touch with young customers and suppliers.
I've blogged about other company's efforts, including videos they've created for YouTube and blogs started by company executives, marketing managers and engineers. Some have been successful; some have been learning experiences.
Still, social media is a relatively new concept to most plastics companies. If you're like most managers, you may be perfectly comfortable sharing photos with friends on Facebook, or following a celebrity on Twitter, but you don't see the value of these tools in the business-to-business world.
Well, if you're interested in learning more, here's your chance to become your company's go-to expert on social marketing. I have three copies of Eric Schwartzman's book Social Marketing to the Business Customer, and I'd like to give them away to plastics firms.
Schwartzman is an online communications consultant in Topanga, Calif., who recently spoke at the Plastics News Executive Forum.
His speech was very well-received, and it continues to generate a lot of interest. My story on marketing was one of the most-read stories on PlasticsNews.com last week. Schwartzman gave what I described as “a dizzying introduction into social media,” with suggestions for companies interested in dipping their toes in the water.
Perhaps the biggest eye-opener was his demonstration of how some plastics companies are already using social media to get good sales leads, and how firms can use these tools to collect competitive information and research new technologies.
How can you do that at your company? A first step could be to read Schwartzman's book. And that's where the give-away comes in.
I'm asking “Plastics Blog” readers to share their most imaginative use of social media in a business-to-business application. It can be something you've seen, or something you've tried yourself.
I'll send a copy of Schwartzman's book to the three best examples. So visit the blog and post your entries in the comment section.
Loepp is Plastics News editor and author of “The Plastics Blog.”