Canadian Biomass Magazine

Canadian Biomass at PFI: Social media for the pellet industry

July 30, 2012
By John Tenpenny

July 30, 2012, Manshantucket, CT - Promoting the wood pellet industry and reaching customers is about increasing value and letting people know about it – according to some experts at the annual PFI Conference.

In a session titled “Marketing Strategies for the promotion of the industry: determining and reaching target audiences” several speakers discussed how to use social media as well as getting value from the wood pellet product by increasing product performance during production, while at the same time decreasing production costs.

John Nelson, of BBI International, told the audience that social media is something “you need to be doing,” but added, “remember, it’s just one tool in your tool belt.”

However according to
an informal survey he conducted prior to the event, not everyone is there yet. A check of conference attendees by Nelson revealed that only 47% have a LinkedIn account.

That’s something which has to change, as he said social media is trending up, while other means of marketing communication, such as email are headed in the other direction.

“Where are people online? I need to be there,” Nelson said.

He shared five social media tactics with conference attendees, including the need to combine content marketing with a social media strategy, using Q&A forums to get known as an expert in your field and leveraging your customers’ connections on LinkedIn by joining groups.

The use of video was also touched upon by Nelson, who emphasized its importance by noting that a video is 50 times more likely than a text page on the same topic to appear on Google’s first page of search results.
Michael Holloway of Certified Labs told the conference that value comes from production and product – “they’re one and the same.”

He said high performance and low cost equals value. And for wood pellet producers that means they must remain consistent in performance or quality of their product, with things such as density, size and percentage of water content. Producers must also have “recognized value” in customers’ eyes, for such things as lower emissions.

Holloway also touted social media, telling attendees to “promote your value.”

“If you change your company, you can change your industry.”

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