CAMX Concludes with a Look at Social Media’s Impact on the Industry

The closing luncheon at CAMX 2017 featured a diverse panel of composites industry professionals using social media to grow and expand their businesses.

December 14, 2017 (Orlando, Fla.) – The fourth annual CAMX – The Composites and Advanced Materials Expo concluded today with a panel session titled “It’s a Digital World,” focusing on the increasing use of social media in all aspects of business in the composites industry. The panel, moderated by Marcy Offner, Director of Marketing Communication at Composites One, was created to help CAMX attendees understand the importance of digital engagement in today’s business landscape.

The panel featured a diverse range of composites professionals with varying expertise. In addition to Offner, the panelists included Jeff Sloan, Editor-in-Chief at CompositesWorld; Peter Hedger Jr., Director of Marketing and Communication at Magnum Venus Products; Jennifer Fielding, PhD., Program Manager at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL); and Brian Leftwich, Marketing and Communications Specialist at Mar-Bal.

During the discussion, Fielding highlighted an example of how AFRL developed a multifaceted media strategy to promote its partnership with America Makes – a public-private consortium dedicated to developing solutions for 3-D printing and workforce development. AFRL created a video series called ‘America Makes Moments’ – 30 second to 3-minute video segments highlighting the partnership’s technical work.

“People on social media have a relatively short attention span, so being able to give them a quick snapshot of technology that’s being developed is really important,” said Fielding.

The panel also took time to address the growing use of social media in the composites industry and how it can be used to leverage efforts in recruitment and workforce development.

“We need to engage with the universities, high school and grammar schools to get students aware of what composites are,” said Hedger. “All of these kids are on social media. Let’s start sharing interesting stories with them.”

Additionally, social media can be used to promote products, increase brand awareness, and explain the advantages of composites over traditional materials.

While many composites industry leaders understand the impact of social media on business, widespread industry adoption has been slow for a number of reasons, according to the panel. There are still a number of myths that exist about digital platforms and their business value. Some still believe that social media primarily exists for personal promotion. Others believe that integrating new media means displacing old media. As the panel explained, neither of those sentiments are true.

“A lot of us see social media as a promotional tool, but it’s so much more than that,” said Sloan.