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FLEXO Magazine : February 2010
www.flexography.org FEBRUARY 2010 FLEXO 51 WHAT'S NEW IN CONNECTIVITY? A newer phenomenon (already three to four years old) that's getting atten- tion is social media. Since the printing industry in general leans toward the traditional, many are exercising caution in this communication arena. In the cur- rent economy, hovering in the shadow of consolidations, efficiency demands and sustainability efforts, it is more important than ever for printers to do two things: 1. Understand the tools (Twitter, etc.) and their respective implementa- tion strategies. 2. Designate a C-level or officer of the company to determine strat- egy and delegate tactics. The concern of many print manag- ers is setting a policy for employees. Whether you're a designer, supplier, printer or academic, a good place to start is to look at guidelines that have been established by those companies leading the way. Google "Intel social media Guidelines" to find a set of stan- dards already established. Regarding the tools themselves (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, various blogs), Web-based groups have already put together some pretty fantastic tutorials for each one. Webinars, outlines, research, case stud- ies or charts can be found from a variety of sources---Marketing Profs, Mashable, Web Worker Daily, Social Media Today, or Duct Tape Marketing, to name a few. SOCIAL MEDIA AND FLEXO The following statistics and observa- tions are based on a review of FLEXO magazine's 2009 issues (articles as well as ½ or full-page advertisers). In an effort to reach out to and support the flexographic printing community, the FTA has launched a pilot local group called FTA Great Lakes (the states around Lake Michigan), so the printer focus was narrowed down to the 37 Wisconsin FTA- member printers. Here are the statistics: five printers have Twitter accounts. Adjacent groupings on Twitter: four of 25 suppliers; two of five ink suppliers; zero of 10 OEMs (narrow or wide web flexo); five of six Digital press OEM's; six of 10 Associations; six of six CPC's. These numbers are not all inclusive; however, it is a good representation. Figure 1 shows results of a Marketing Profs survey of a cross section of mar- keters who maintain profiles on various networks. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? Of the four recognized basic social media tools, and in this instance five (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blog, YouTube), Twitter was selected because there's increasing buzz around it. This does not mean that you should automat- ically set up a Twitter account. Remem- ber the "two things?" Understand them first. Each one has a different value proposition for you. Questions to ask yourself: •WhatamIbestat? FIGURE 1. PLANTS & PROCESSES