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FLEXO Magazine : February 2010
52 FLEXO FEBRUARY 2010 www.flexography.org • Who is my target market? (Do you want to sell deeper into your existing market? Or to a broader audience?) Figure 2 shows results of a Marketing Profs' survey of where people from differing market segments, as of Fall 2009, hang out online: Of FTA members with existing social media presence, here are some observations: Whether it's a blog, Twitter or a newsletter, be consistent: post regularly when you set up an account/ profile. If it's now January and the last post was in August, your audience will think you lost the only person who posted, or suddenly experienced some kind of tragedy---not good marketing. If you set up a profile in more than one, for example Twitter and LinkedIn, post and update status in both regularly. This is where it's good for the owner or GM to delegate who posts to what, and make a note of it so responsibility can be trans- ferred when/where appropriate. Generational differences beg to be understood. Owners, managers and valued employees sometimes need help in having the right attitude toward social media. This can be because of a fear of looking "dumb," or an "attitude" toward "kid stuff." Training and familiarity might be in order. In a reverse of the above, a tag and label or flexible packaging company that plans for the future can find some great, fresh talent through the colleges. Chip Tonkin, Clemson University, told us that today 's print providers are manufactur- ers and technicians, as opposed to artists. Employees with software and social media skills possess the savvy to keep the pressroom running smoothly. Search the tools themselves for candidates: Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Remember: strategies belong to C-Level, tactics can be assigned. Whoever your customer is, whatever the issue, whether it's HVAC pressroom control as Craig Shields talked about (see FLEXO Nov., page 44), Markus Klemm's discussion about system integration (see FLEXO Oct., page 52 and Nov., page 48), or the impor- tance of high-pro- file sustainability (with CPC's and retailers like Wal-Mart) as OEC's Brad Vette shared with us (see FLEXO Nov. page 54); you want to be your customer's solu- tions provider; as opposed to a competitor or new entrant to your market. In 2009, an unsatis- fied frequent flyer Tweeted his frustration at a flight delay, and the fact that he wasn't kept informed on the status of alternate flights. Imagine his surprise when Southwest Airlines (not the ticketed airline) contacted him to offer assistance getting him booked on another flight! This story clearly demonstrates how critical it is to listen and be ready to respond with solutions. SPOT CHECKS Consistent FTA-world "tweeters" include Badgerland Products, Lauterbach Group, EFI, P&G, Kraft, Coca-Cola (with accounts in several languages), PepsiCo, and Cognex (also Webinars). Xerox, hp, Epson and Frito Lay have multiple Twitter accounts. Mark Andy, QuadTech, DuraTech Industries, Great Northern Corp., FTA, and FTA Great Lakes have a strong presence on LinkedIn. Companies taking advantage of YouTube include Alcan Czech Republic, Bemis Inc. (news and history), Xerox, Bemis Flexible Packaging (on sustainability), Bemis-Curwood (demo/ products), Gallus, MPS, hp, W&H (clip from drupa), Brady Corp., Coating Excellence (Fox News interview), Great Lakes Packaging Corp., and Kraft. CONCLUSION Know yourself. Know your customer. Be present in the social media space they occupy. Share timely, relevant infor- mation (without giving away trade secrets). Social media is interactive---not static like a Web page. Use the tool you select to your advantage; invite feedback, poll/survey your audience, all of which can be helpful for product development. Good interaction with your audience can lead to customers who will be evangelists for you. Will social media go away like Y2K? It is unlikely, as Face- book and LinkedIn are already more than five years old. How- ever, social media is likely to morph and migrate increasingly to mobile. Let's be informed, connected, and ready to walk with our customers through that next "interchange." ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Mekelburg is a social media coach. She has presented the mechanics and strategy of using LinkedIn to small business in an academic setting and to job seekers. Having experi- ence in the corporate world, non-profit and small business, Mekelburg can relate to the needs, requirements and constraints of each; as well as propose strategies to help an individual or company stand out. She has found that working with individuals one-on-one is an effective way to identify strategy unique to each enterprise; and facilitates the client's implementation of social media. Mekelburg lives in Theresa, WI, near the Horicon Marsh with her husband Dick, and kitty, Jenga. She most recently worked at QuadTech, a Quad/Graphics subsidiary where she im- mersed herself in learning the unique characteristics of flexo- graphic printing. She enjoys connecting with people, following social media trends closely, reading and bird watching. For further information or questions, connect with her at www.linkedin.com/in/marymekelburg. Or follow Mary on twitter @Mary_Mekelburg. FIGURE 2. FIGURE 3. PLANTS & PROCESSES