July-August 2016

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36 PalletCentral • July-August 2016 f you're in business, you've had the discussion about social media and its importance to your bottom line. The wooden pallet and packaging industry is relationship driven, so you would think social media and the pallet industry would be a natural fit. Yet, try finding pallet manufacturers and brokers with active social media pages. Researching this story, I found only two out of fifty companies that consistently used their social media channels for marketing. Out of those fifty companies, most didn't have a social media account with LinkedIn, Twitter, FaceBook or SnapChat. The very few that did have accounts, had not published new material in months or in some cases years. 'That's because our industry is relationship-based,' you say. 'We do business over the phone, in-person and through email.' Your tried-and-true sales tactics are relevant and proven, but that's no reason to neglect social media as an area of potential business growth. Social networking sites aren't going away and in fact it's just the opposite. In fact, sixty-five percent of U.S. adults use social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, according to a study from the Pew Research Center. Ten years ago, that figure was seven percent. The question is not "If ", but when and how will you take advantage of social media tools? If you really want to build relationships with customers, you have to go where they go. And increasingly, they are online. The two companies profiled for this story are models for the industry. Take some lessons from them, dig for a nugget or two, and you'll be off to a good start. Nazareth Pallet Founded more than 30 years ago, Nazareth Pallet wanted to build recognition for its already strong brand. After experimenting with print advertising, billboards and radio ads, the company switched gears. "In todays' world, it's obvious that it is all about social media," says Ken Laga, senior accounts executive. The company appointed an in-house employee to focus on social media part-time. Nazareth Pallet learned quickly that gaining business through a social media strategy was far more than a part- time job. "We immediately learned we were only touching the surface, so we hired a professional company rather than take the time to learn as we go," says Laga. "When we went to the pros, it was because we wanted to stop experimenting." The outside firm reviewed the company's efforts, helped define goals, and then launched their tailor-made social media program within a matter of months. Now Laga says he spends about 4 to 6 hours a month maintaining the program, primarily overseeing the project. The vendor spends 25 to 30 hours conducting research and creating articles and content. In addition to publishing blog posts on its website, Nazareth Pallet MARKETING Business Blog By Andrew Brown Social Media & The Pallet Business I

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