However, a company does not have to be featured on television to establish expertise and build prestige. One approach Strongwell takes is to promote case studies outlining successful applications of its products.
Last year, Strongwell published a case study about a pedestrian bridge it created over the Mountains to the Sea Trail in Boone, N.C., in 2016. Trail bridges are typically wooden and therefore susceptible to rotting and corrosion. However, Strongwell’s case study was not simply a side-by-side comparison of composites and wood. According to Myers, what really made the application stand out was that their products’ light weight allowed them to be prepackaged, helicoptered in, erected onsite and put together just as easily as a wooden bridge.
Since publishing that case study, Strongwell has received several phone calls from potential clients who are interested in building a similar bridge. Those type of calls, Myers says, can turn into business opportunities.
Another way to demonstrate expertise, according to Hedger, is to share and comment on relevant news stories that highlight what is possible with FRP. Sometimes, that means advocating for products and applications that do not come from your own company. Hedger says that sharing content that promotes the entire industry can help build relationships and establish a business as a thought leader.
“By doing that, you’re expanding the message,” says Hedger. That, in turn, increases a company’s ability to be seen as a reliable source for information on composite material solutions. “If the solution happens to be one of your products, great. If it’s not and you’re still helping [another] person out, then later on when they need a solution that is your product, they’re more likely to come back to you.”
However, Myers warns that won’t happen unless the content has a clear call to action. Businesses need to make sure they have a healthy balance of educational and actionable social media activity.
“You can spend so much time on social media and yet never accomplish anything,” Myers says. “Don’t make it all about education … like the student who goes to college for 15 years but has no job at the end.”
A Personal Touch
Another way to build relationships through social media is by showing your business’s personality. For example, Strongwell likes to use humor. Every Wednesday, the company posts a meme – a humorous image that is copied with slight variations and spread rapidly by Internet users – related to composites. One popular meme pays homage to a famous scene in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” where the Grail Knight warns the protagonists to “choose wisely.” Strongwell edited the meme to say, “Choose your next building material wisely.”