Trees are a natural resource that many companies procure for a variety of reasons including fuel, construction, landscaping, art, medicine, and food. Some sectors of the forestry industry have remained the same for more than a hundred years, while other sectors have embraced new technology. The latest technology is digital marketing and social media marketing.
Forestry Industry’s Lack of Social Media Marketing
The forestry industry hasn’t accepted social media marketing as a primary way to advertise their business. In a study conducted in 2011 by the U.S. Forest Service, only 9.1% of hardwood producers use social media to market their business. There are only 500 pages on Facebook dedicated to wood and lumber products as of 2011.
When asked why they wouldn’t use social media, hardwood producers gave the following responses:
- Liability/legal issues
- Too complex and it takes too much time
- Office conflict and distractions
- No expertise in social media
- Isn’t an effective way to communicate
- Isn’t a priority
Although hardwood producers may not accept social media marketing, there are advantages.
When asked how they would use social media, hardwood producers gave the following responses:
- Grow sales and profits
- Affordable marketing method
- Establish connections with customers
- Distribute information
Digital Marketing and the Forestry Industry
All the benefits of social media marketing are due to the vast connections made by hundreds of millions of people on the Internet. The most popular website is Facebook.
Facebook Integration with Website
More than 100 million websites are integrated with Facebook, as of 2011. Users can log-in to their account and access many features while browsing a website. For example, users can post messages and discuss various topics while visiting a website. The posts would be visible on Facebook.
The advantage for the business is that potential customers can easily view their website and respond to it. If the visitor likes it, they can easily click the Like button. This would eventually be seen by their friends, which may lead to a sale in the future.
The forestry industry could benefit from Facebook, if they allow their websites to be integrated into Facebook.
Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter
Pictures are the best way for the forestry industry to take advantage of social media marketing. There are two popular photo-sharing websites on the Internet – Pinterest and Instagram. Businesses can post professional or trendy pictures that would attract people on the Internet. And those people can share it with their friends. Eventually, someone that needs a product will click over to their website and he or she may purchase something.
Twitter can be used to send pictures around the world as well. If enough people view it, it may become a trending topic, which could lead to millions of additional views. The process starts with re-tweets by followers.
The forestry industry could promote their products directly on these three websites.
Another digital marketing trend is content marketing. Pictures are one type of content. Another type is articles and blogs. An article that covers a particular topic related to the forestry industry can be displayed on a company website. Visitors can read it and learn something new. Articles also entertain the visitor and provide an incentive to return to the website. This could help the business grow its audience and eventually, they could take advantage of a new stream of revenue – advertising revenue.
On the webpage, companies can add social media buttons so that readers can share the article with their friends.
Most companies have a blog on their website. It may be updated once a month, but it usually covers business related news and company initiatives. This keeps the public informed. Maintaining a blog is another way to utilize social media marketing.
Search Engine Optimization
Most people use search engines to find things on the Internet. Google is the biggest search engine. It is used to find all sorts of things. The results page lists webpages that match the query.
To take advantage of this potential audience, companies can optimize their website for search engines. There are a couple of ways to do this including adding a keyword-rich title to webpages, adding keyword-rich meta descriptions to webpages, and adding relevant tags. Search engines will be able to find webpages that have this information.
Another way to attract search engines is by publishing articles with keywords that are frequently searched. For the forestry industry, some examples include:
- Wood floors
- Price of timber
A lot of people use smartphones, and they download a lot of apps from the Apple App Store and Google Play store. They also browse the Internet with a data connection, either through a cellular provider or through a Wi-Fi connection.
Companies in the forestry industry could make apps. If they are lucky, the app could become popular. In-app purchases is the goal, which are purchases made by users while using the app. This is common in gaming apps, but this sales strategy could be modified for other types of apps. Or, the company could create a stand-alone shopping app.
Mobile web browsing is another sector the forestry industry should target. When people engage in activities related to the forestry industry, they are likely to search on smartphones for information. Optimizing websites and webpages for mobile devices is one solution. AMP is a new optimization tool for articles on mobile web browsers.
Companies in the forestry industry could purchase digital ads from ad companies. These ads would appear on websites that are related to forestry. For example, there could be an ad for lumber that displays the cost per square foot and the name of the supplier on a home improvement website. Visitors to the website may click on it and be directed to the suppliers website.
Digital ads could be displayed on mobile devices as well. This is usually done through apps. There are several ad companies that sell ad space for apps. An ad for a lumber supplier would be displayed in an app for home improvement.
Another option is old-fashioned email marketing. Send a well-written message that catches the attention of the recipient. The title should be interesting and the message should have links to your website. It should offer something, perhaps a discount. Include a picture as well.
The best way to collect email addresses is by visiting the websites of potential customers. This is especially true if you are selling to another business. Most businesses will have their email address listed on their website. Build a list with as many email addresses as possible and send the message to them.
You can also set up an account with an email marketing campaign tool such as Mail Chimp or Constant Contact to keep your list of subscribers in one place making it easier for people to be added to your lists and receive your emails without having to type each one individually.
The ultimate goal is to create brand awareness. Customers need to know that your company exists so that they can call or visit your store. Ads, emails, articles, blogs, pictures, and social media connections help build brand awareness.