While the composites industry is starting to make greater strides in social media, there is still plenty of room for growth. Myers believes more companies should allow and encourage their customer-facing staff to be seen publicly on social media. That way, the team can be seen more as competent and capable.
Strongwell has several of its salespeople on LinkedIn who have been trained to generate content that could be interesting to a potential customer, such as case studies and new product developments. The company’s president and CEO, David Oakley, is an active publisher as well and recently shared his thoughts on the evolution of workforce development in the composites industry.
Another relatively untapped element of social media strategy is live broadcasting. According to Leftwich, Facebook Live and Instagram Live present tremendous opportunities to make a company’s story more dynamic. He says events like the grand opening of Mar-Bal’s new facility in Painesville, Ohio, later this year could be a great starting point for Mar-Bal’s live broadcasts. Moving forward, he thinks live broadcasting could add significant value to a company’s trade show experience and that Mar-Bal may use it in on the show floor at a future event.
Craig says that one aspect of social media that most companies do not even consider is internal use on secure platforms. He believes that private social media has great potential as a tool for workplace collaboration, especially for companies that already tread cautiously when it comes to external communication. Craig believes the next step in workplace innovation is a transition from traditional training portals with “reams of reading” to live social conversations that can inspire new ideas.
“There’s so much opportunity in that area,” Craig says. “A funny thing happens when people learn to share more internally. They tend to share more and learn how to listen more effectively externally.”
One way businesses can start doing more with internal social media is through more interactive onboarding. For example, in sales, a company could task some veteran salespeople to record videos offering advice to new salespeople. After the video, the new employees can comment and create their own response videos. That way, Craig says, the business can get a sense of its complete knowledge bank in a way that encourages interaction with other people.
“Is there a big banner on top of that that says ‘social media?’” says Craig. “No. This is about an HR department saying, ‘Hey, how do we bring people up to speed faster?’ But we’re using some of the concepts and ideas that we’ve learned in external social media and we’re bringing it inside.”