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Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Social Media Case Study: Ozarc Gas

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Last month, Ozarc Gas sponsored the Northeast Arkansas Weld-A-Thon, a welding competition involving area high school and vo-tech welding students. Over the past three years, the event has steadily grown to include 36 students from 12 area schools, giving these young welders a place to show off their skills and learn more about the welding industry. One of the most unique aspects of the 2012 event was Ozarc’s use of social media in conjunction with the event. I spoke with Ozarc sales rep and event coordinator Nick Garner about the experience. Here’s an excerpt from our conversation:

What is the goal of the Weld-A-Thon?
Our goal is to get students interested in welding and show them that this isn’t just a grease-monkey job. It’s a job that’s in demand, and if you’re good at it, you can make excellent wages. We want to get the students excited about welding, so that it’s not just something they do in their high school ag class. We want to help them further their skills and go on in the welding industry.

Ozarc Gas uses Twitter to promote 2012 Weld-A-ThonI enjoyed following along on Twitter. What was the impetus behind live tweeting the event?
I think this industry is behind when it comes to social media. A lot of the current activity on Facebook and Twitter is limited to vendors, and you don’t see many competitions like this taking advantage of social media.

What role does social media play in furthering the goals of the Weld-A-Thon?
Social media is a great way to get the word out about the competition and give these kids the recognition they deserve. Even though these kids are in high school, they possess welding skills that are beyond my abilities. I know I couldn’t do some of the things they are doing. It’s awesome to see. We’re hoping to get more and more exposure for the event through social media. We hope to reach more schools this way.

What was the experience like using social media with the event for the first time?
It was the most fun I’ve had at the competition yet. In addition to the Twitter feed, we posted photos of the event on Facebook. At the end of the competition, we reminded everyone about the Twitter feed and the Facebook page where they can go and look at the pictures. We handed out fliers encouraging participants to like Ozarc Gas on Facebook and tied it in with a welding hood giveaway.

Have you seen results from your efforts?
We’ve seen more followers on Facebook. Giving away the welding hood provided a little more motivation for people to like our page. During the competition, I saw more followers on Twitter from within the welding industry.

Can we look for you to be live tweeting again next year?
Definitely. Next year, I want to try to get the schools involved and get them following on social media, especially the students. We plan to advertise the social media aspect more before the competition next year and really promote that to the students.

For Ozarc Gas, social media is proving to be a great way to promote the the Weld-A-Thon and welding industry in general. And while this particular use may not result in immediate sales revenues, it helps create and strengthen relationships between Ozarc and local schools and students. As Garner admits, there are a few tweaks to be made for next year’s event. With additional promotion, Ozarc hopes to draw in even more students and boost event participation. This in turn provides additional exposure to Ozarc’s propylene cutting demos at the event and introduces more schools to the process.

To see how Garner took advantage of social media for 2012 Northeast Arkansas Weld-A-Thon, take a look at the photos on Ozarc Gas’ Facebook page and see the tweets from February 17 on www.twitter.com/cryogasman.

Your Customers Are Doing It. Are You?

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Dive Into Social Media SuccessLinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, blogs…whether you use all or some of them (if you’re reading this, you’re doing at least one), there’s no denying that social media has an important place in marketing. A new survey of small businesses by American Express OPEN and SEMPO shows that social media trails only company websites as the favored online business marketing tactic.

In talking to GAWDA members about how they plan to market their companies, the number one response is word of mouth. You’re not alone. According to the OPEN/SEMPO survey, 82 percent of respondents say that they rely on word of mouth to attract new customers. Well guess what? Social media is word of mouth!

Those of you who are already on social media, I want to hear about it. Specifically, I want to know if social media has ever led to a sale for your company. Maybe someone responded to a tweet or a blog. Maybe you connected with an old friend on LinkedIn or Facebook, only to find out that person is a potential customer. Whatever the case may be, please share your social media success stories.

To support your social media efforts, Welding & Gases Today has added a new section to its website specifically for articles on social media. In this section, there are great articles on LinkedIn, best blogging practices, Twitter and other platforms. Check it out, there’s some great stuff there, and it’s only going to continue to grow.

Social Media Regulations…From FDA

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

FDA's social media regulationsAmong the more unusual regulations that we might see in 2011, FDA is slated to publish draft guidance on the use of social media. Yes, you read that correctly. A recent message from the Division of Drug Marketing, Advertising, and Communications (DDMAC) says that the division has “been researching draft guidance topics on the following issues related to Internet/social media promotion of FDA-regulated medical products:

• Responding to unsolicited requests
• Fulfilling regulatory requirements when using tools associated with space limitations
• Fulfilling post-marketing submission requirements
• Online communications for which manufacturers, packers, or distributors are accountable
• Use of links on the Internet
• Correcting misinformation”   (via EyeOnFDA.com)

The agency is targeting a publish date of 1st Quarter 2011, so we should see this very soon. One bullet points specifically to the online communications of distributors, so this will impact those GAWDA members who manufacture or distribute medical gases.

I was surprised to learn that the FDA was stepping into the realms of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, et al, but it does make sense to a certain extent—social media are largely unregulated. We’re in a new age with social media, and with it come unique challenges. Bullet #2 raises an intriguing point: how do you meet regulations when Twitter limits your characters?

I’m still undecided on this, but I want to hear what you think: Has the FDA overstepped its bounds, or do you welcome the idea of social media guidelines? What social media issues would you like guidance on?

Phone Apps for Gases and Welding Distributors

Monday, August 9th, 2010
What app would you like to see?
Photo: liewcf

A recent editorial in the New York Times compiled twitter responses to the question: what cell phone app doesn’t exist but should? With the number of apps, it’s a little hard even just to think of what cell phone apps don’t exist. There are even optimized routing apps to help figure out the quickest delivery route, but what about “an app that maps out my grocery list in the supermarket to give me an optimized shopping path?” (as suggested by one NYT reader).

I am extending the question to you, but with a focus: What phone app should exist that would help gases and welding distributors?

Maybe it’s something for inventory. Maybe it’s for salespeople (an app to find customers would be nice). How about a GAWDAwiki app to search industry terms quicker from your phone? Maybe an app could manage your cylinder tracking or CRM.

There are endless possibilities, and it’s completely up to you. Get your creative juices flowing and let me know what app could make your life easier, allow you to develop better customer relationships or improve your business in some way.

Also, what phone apps do exist that you use in your business? How do you use them?

Leave a comment and share your app ideas and examples. I look forward to hearing what you come up with.

Marketing lessons learned from a 104-year-old woman

Friday, July 30th, 2010

The world’s oldest Twitter user, Ivy Bean, passed away this week at the age of 104. According to MSNBC, she got turned onto Twitter when she reached her friend limit on Facebook. She had around 60,000 followers on Twitter.

I mention Mrs. Bean for two reasons. She shows us all that it’s never too late to learn something new. And maybe just as important, Bean shows us that marketing yourself doesn’t always have to take the form of selling yourself. While she probably had no interests in marketing herself, Bean developed a massive following from simple gestures. And perhaps it is the very fact that she did not seek to sell herself that drew people to Mrs. Bean.

For a company, a Twitter account can be a great way to market yourself but, as Bean shows, the best way to market yourself on Twitter is by not marketing yourself. On Twitter and off, by taking a simple interest in people, you can develop relationships. By caring about your followers, your followers will care about you.

Bean made headlines from her nursing home by doing a simple thing, a practice that millions of other people did. She attracted a following because she her true interest was in connecting with people. And even at the age of 104, she wasn’t afraid to try out new technology that could provide an efficient means to the often evasive end of getting people to care.

How To Use Job Sites As A Networking Tool

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Recently I came across an article about how to buy technology for small businesses. The article has a lot of great points, but there is one tip that struck me as entirely innovative.

Article author Gene Marks points out that hardware reviews are readily available in magazines, but when it comes to business software applications and services, it can be hard to find reliable testimonies. What to do? Marks says to log onto job search sites such as Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com and search for the software’s name in job postings.

With any luck, you’ll come across a company seeking candidates familiar with your software, which means that the company uses the software. Then, call up the company and ask them what they think: Do they like the software? What has their experience been like? How’s the tech support? Many companies will be glad to help, and best of all, they have nothing to gain by being dishonest.

This is a brilliant and innovative way to use networking to your benefit. Taking advantage of other people’s experience is one of the most tried and true ways to get ahead in any industry. Maybe it’s the colleague who has worked in the business for thirty years that you turn to; but who says you are limited to those people to which you have direct access?

Think outside the box—learn from anyone you can. In my experience, everyone in GAWDA, from green salespeople up to the company presidents, is willing and happy to share their knowledge and experiences. This is the greatest resource the association has, so why not use it? With technology, networking is easier than ever, thanks to sites like LinkedIn and Twitter. Based on Marks’ advice, you could even add job search sites to that list.