This is the second installment of our series on B2B social media for reusable packaging. To read the first installment, click here.
B2B social media marketing for the business world might be on the rise as a whole, but when you drill down to a specific industry, the question becomes, Is it a good investment yet? Social media offers a low-cost tactic for engaging large groups of key audiences, but if the audiences aren’t there yet (or they’re really only there for recreational/social activity), that’s not a budget well spent.
A quick survey of the reusable packaging, however, shows that the reusable packing industry is quickly finding its place and its market within social media. The key, at this point, is to choose your strategies selectively: go where your people are.
LinkedIn vs. Facebook
LinkedIn, as the business-focused social media site, is probably the most obvious place to start with any B2B social media, and reusable packaging appears to be no exception. Reusable Packaging Association, which functions as a hub for the industry, joining supply chain partners, including manufacturers, poolers, distributors, retailers, educators, and policymakers, operates a LinkedIn page with more than a 1,000 members.
Other related groups with LinkedIn pages include Wooden, Plastic and Steel Pallets of America; Packaging Professionals; Bulk Container Professionals; Institute of Packaging Professionals; Green Packaging Forum; and National Wooden Pallet & Container Association.
Facebook is a different story. With a few notable exceptions, reusable packaging companies are less prevalent on Facebook. Some companies and organizations have placeholder-types of Facebook pages, which are automatically generated profiles that give business details but aren’t managed or maintained as ongoing promotional or communications channels. The positive news there is that these automatically generated profiles result from user searches, which means that there is a demonstrated interest in these companies and their products/services.
Twitter Moving Up
Some manufacturers are also utilizing social media to deliver targeted marketing for specific products or services. Rehrig Pacific of Atlanta, Ga., operates a Twitter feed aimed at promoting its PUBKEG, an all-plastic, low-cost alternative to conventional, returnable kegs.
But reusable packaging is more than just a single-message strategy for companies that offer that type of product. A quick key word search on Twitter (using the terms “reusable packaging,” of course) reveals a whole list of reusable packaging-related posts:
• Formech Inc, announcing its customer Kellogg’s use of new reusable plastic cereal packaging.
• Cold Chain IQ promoting an interview with DHL’s Martin Wegner: Implementing Cost-Effective Reusable Shipping Systems. http://www.coldchainiq.com/packaging-shipping-systems/videos/dhl-s-martin-wegner-reusauble-shipping-systems/
• An announcement by a Dallas small-business association about a workshop to “Boost Freight Efficiency with Reusable Transport Packaging.” https://packagingrevolution.net/boost-freight-efficiency-with-reusable-transport-packaging-texas-workshop/
• Regal Equipment, Inc, promoting its company blog post about the promising future (and recent growth) of reusable packaging.
New Social Media Ideas
While Pinterest and Instagram might not present a strategic social media network for most B2B marketing, one new social media network offers a new angle: a way to share news as well as expertise. Quora is a Q&A site that has gained a reputation as the “smart” new social media, being driven, ostensibly, by a search for knowledge, rather than funny pet photos and clever quips. Quora presents companies a chance to present their expertise and products as answers to other user’s questions or to start a dialogue that could deliver meaningful market research.
Social Media Works
Even in industries that currently show minimal participation, social media will continue to grow. For one thing, social media is becoming a way of life for a majority of people, so it’s bound to find an expression in people’s jobs as well as social lives. But even more importantly, social media offers a communication channel like no other. Companies can use social media to reach all segments of their audiences – end users, developers, supply chain partners, etc. – at once. Social media, in a way, is the ultimate conference call, and people are happily, eagerly logging on.