Monthly Archives: March 2012

Social Media Sites Industrial Marketers Can’t Ignore in 2012

Social Media for Industrial Companies

While 2011 was the year where social media finally hit critical mass for manufacturers and distributors, it’s use is certainly exploding this year. Social icons and pages for the industrial market are popping up everywhere.

Many have already plotted and executed (or at least considered) strategies for LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and blogging. (If you haven’t yet – stop reading, get these set up, then come back when you’re done. This will still be here.) Assuming you do have the essentials in place – now what?

Google+ – As If You Had a Choice

Google_While Google+ was off to a rough start, Google’s power and plans are too huge to be ignored. Its usage experienced an unprecedented rate of growth for a social site, with over 600,000 people signing up daily in December 2011 alone!  Now that brand pages have been up and running for a while, allowing companies to have their own presence, there’s no excuse to avoid this platform.

Still not convinced? Google, the undisputed leader in search, is also integrating Google+ data as part of its search algorithm. Simply put – a strong presence will boost exposure through improved search results. Think of this as that “contact at Google” you’ve been looking for.

Further, it’s shaping up to be a lot more than a marketing and traffic driving tool, Google is looking to change how businesses perform essential tasks – communication, collaboration and much more.  Features such as Docs allow for document sharing across an office, the country or world. The Huddles function allows people to meet virtually and get business done. What do these tools mean? Save time, money, and increase efficiency. No wonder it’s taking off so quickly! Not to mention, Google has invested a fortune into this and needs it to pay off. So why not get your share?

Pinterest – More Addictive Than Crack?

Pinterest LogoThis is the new kid on the block that suddenly everyone wants to hang out with. Cool, fun, sophisticated yet simple; and unbelievably habit forming. Essentially, Pinterest is an online bulletin board (yes, the cork kind!) Users share clickable images of “the things they love” on their boards, arranged by topic, with links to their source pages. Not sure how this public refrigerator concept applies to your business? I know it’s a bit of a stretch – but I’m thinking sexy product shots, application examples, machines in motion, or just about any image that raises an eyebrow. While the current demographic is primarily females sharing fashion, travel or design ideas along with sumptuous recipes and hunky men – exposure for retail products is firmly taking hold. Keep in mind that industrial companies are always last to the marketing party – it’s likely just a matter of time before this hits critical mass for manufacturing and distribution companies. Smells like opportunity to me. So why not get there early?

YouTube – ‘Cause We’re All Lazy

You-Tube-LogoYou might be thinking – really, Flip? Isn’t this old news? Yes and no. YouTube has been around for a while, but most don’t realize that YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google, which gives YouTube content priority in searches. As we get more passive, begging “don’t make me read this, just inject it into my head”, it’s no wonder. Reading or talking about manufacturing processes can be dull – but watching them? Different story… Robots expeditiously doing the work of humans (sorry, humans), sparks flying, raw material in – finished parts out. Exciting stuff! (If you are not intrigued by such things, you either made a bad career move or you’re reading the wrong blog.)

So, What’s on The Horizon?

If I were a gambling man, which I am on occasion, I’d throw a few chips down on Quora. Tumblr is growing in popularity too, and the list will grow as time ticks by. If you are thinking – wait, this is too much – I agree. But keep in mind that social channels emerge and go viral based on a need – and they appeal to different interests and behaviors from various angles. Yet, I don’t imagine all of the sites will be viable forever (remember MySpace?). It only makes sense to put your billboard up on the well travelled highways for now, and get ready to move them as the traffic patterns evolve.

Go stake your claim, and remember to enjoy the journey!

Image Credit: jscreationzs /
Phil Paranicas


The Value of ThomasNet

“The only thing constant in life is change.”

— François de La Rochefoucauld, a noted French author of maxims and memoirs.
September 15, 1613 – March 17, 1680

I’ve often quoted this quote and I think it’s particularly relevant when discussing the value of ThomasNet … with one exception. As a company we continually change – innovate actually – to meet the ever-changing needs and expectations of industrial buyers and suppliers. But the exception that I refer to is “our constant” – our core goal and value to the marketplace – connecting these buyers and suppliers to do business with one another…no matter where they are or how they want or need to connect. Today there are lots of trendy terms about “customer engagement”, “asset or content management”, “change agents” and the like, but at the end of the day….what ThomasNet is all about is helping buyers buy from suppliers and suppliers sell to buyers. And, after 100 years, we know how to do that very well! Of course, today and moving forward, how we’re helping buyers and suppliers do business together continues to evolve. Whether it’s with CADPublishing, web strategy technologies and Social Media or transforming product searching and certification and diversity supplier sourcing, our unique position in working intimately with both sides of this business equation affords us with the intelligence to innovate and be on the forefront of many technologies and functionalities to facilitate these business relationships. And we share what we learn via newsletters, white papers and research briefs.

Okay, I give in, let’s use one of those trendy terms, “ROI” (return on investment). Why, because time and money matter and in many companies, the effective use of time and money is how success is defined. And you know what; ThomasNet is one of those companies. And to that end, we’re not only about helping engineers and buyers find trusted suppliers on – the only free platform for sourcing components, equipment, MRO products, raw materials and custom manufacturing services – and providing sales and marketing solutions for OEMs and product manufacturers, distributors and resellers, service companies, and custom fabricators – we’re about demonstrating ROI with facts and figures. Transparency about what we deliver and how it’s working is integral to our commitment and success in connecting industrial buyers and suppliers.

About Susan Orr

Susan’s mission is to collaborate with industrial companies by sharing knowledge that allows them to make informed decisions about how they go to market. As the Sr. Director, Partner Program Management at ThomasNet, Susan is responsible for overall program management including partner on-boarding, operational integration, collaborative marketing and demand generation strategies and programs.

Ms. Orr joined Thomas in 1999 as the Director of Internet Marketing for Thomas Register online. In 2004, Orr was named the Director of Product Marketing for Thomas’s Web Solutions offerings. She was appointed Director of Strategic Marketing in 2005 and Senior Director in 2008. Before joining Thomas, Ms. Orr served as the Director of Marketing for Programmer’s Paradise. She holds a master’s degree in Communications and History and a bachelor’s degree in Communications, both from Monmouth University. You can reach Susan at

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