2013 SoMe Impact Awards – Middle Category

SBN Interactive proudly presents the Midwest Social Media Summit inaugural class of SoMe Impact Award winners! These awards recognize marketing executives who took a leap of faith into the groundbreaking world of social media and in doing so, drove substantial value for their companies.

Nominations were received from the Cleveland, Akron, Columbus and Pittsburgh regions across three categories — emerging, midsized and large industries. Throughout the nomination period, the breadth and number of entrants that were submitted blew us away. The strategies and innovations represented by these companies are world class, and we want to thank everyone who took the time to fill out surveys or contact us directly with nominations. Sorting through the fierce competition was not easy, but the 2013 SoMe Impact Award honorees are all deserving of the recognition.

While social media was once seen as a passing fad, it is clear that it is no longer enough to have Facebook or Twitter accounts — companies must actively engage their customers. The inaugural group of winners represented marketing executives who effectively used social media to make a meaningful difference at his or her organization. Ranging from companies who promote the social media initiatives of national organizations to those who have had successful special promotions that have garnered thousands of followers and millions of hits on YouTube, the first class of honorees demonstrate the milestones they have achieved in what is becoming the future of marketing. We are excited to announce the winners of the 2013 SoMe Impact Awards!

Here are the winners in the middle category: 


Kristie VanAuken

senior vice president and chief marketing and communications officer
Akron-Canton Airport

Before social media, there were few ways for an airport to interact with its customers, and building relationships was next to impossible. The growth of social media, however, has allowed businesses like the Akron-Canton Airport (CAK) to directly interact with its customers on an ongoing basis.

When CAK began using social media, its intended audience was tech-savvy travelers. Today, that audience has grown to include any traveler on a social media platform. In creating CAK’s social media program, the goal for Kristie VanAuken, senior vice president and chief marketing and communications officer, was to not only gain followers, but to engage and build a genuine relationship with them.

CAK was the first U.S. airport to have a Facebook group in 2007 and now has nearly 60,000 total likes, making it the third largest airport on Facebook. In 2008, it was also one of the first airports to start a Twitter account and now has more than 8,000 followers. CAK thanks customers and shows them the appreciation they deserve every day. It’s a simple strategy that has helped CAK set annual passenger records from 2010 to 2012, and more than double the number of travelers in the past 10 years.

CAK didn’t end its social media program with Facebook and Twitter. The airport has hundreds of YouTube videos, a blog on its website and continues to adapt to, and adopt, new social media such as Instagram and Pinterest.

Social media has become a cornerstone of the airport’s identity and brand strategy to engage travelers and keep them flying with CAK.

Twitter: @cakairport
Facebook: facebook.com/akroncantonairport


Elizabeth Boehm

interactive marketing manager
Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff

Years ago, society stayed connected through the big three in media — newspaper, radio and television — it’s a no-brainer that staying connected to each other through the Internet far surpasses what those big three offered. Today, friends and colleagues constantly bombarded each other with requests, status updates, photo tags, email forwards and links to videos.

Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff recognizes the importance of embracing these changes, and through the efforts of Elizabeth Boehm, interactive marketing manager, is working to have a strong grasp on the technologies driving these changes.

Social media tools the law firm utilizes include blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and others. The firm’s two Twitter feeds have seen a 50 percent increase in followers in 2013 alone, and the company’s LinkedIn page has seen an increase in audience of 20 percent.

Benesch is dedicated to building a deep understanding of its clients, their businesses and their industries. Its adoption of these social media tools has helped the firm achieve these goals with much more ease and efficiency. The lines of communication between the firm and its clients and vice versa are now always open, and anyone can reach out for legal advice.

In addition, these social media tools such as LinkedIn connect visitors to millions of business professionals and potential clients. They serve as a modern day Rolodex. Benesch uses these tools to stay in touch with clients, recruit talent, follow-up on leads, get referrals and, above all, build credibility.

Twitter: @BeneschLaw
Twitter: @OhioShaleUpdate
Facebook: facebook.com/BeneschLaw
LinkedIn: bit.ly/Benesch_Law


Ron Poff

manager of global marketing and brands
Mar-Bal Inc.

Mar-Bal Inc., a B2B manufacturer of thermoset composites, launched its social media presence in late 2011 and early 2012. Mar-Bal has company pages on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and in mid-August launched a Twitter channel.

Even though most people relate social media with B2C companies, Mar-Bal and Ron Poff, its manager of global marketing and brands, saw an opportunity to increase brand awareness in the marketplace and increase content on the Web to drive search engine optimization and share credible and worthwhile news, links and other information to its audience.

Mar-Bal developed a social media strategy plan and implemented it in the summer of 2012. The company’s engagement and topic strategy has centered on its strengths, heritage, people and products. It also shares customer partner’s strengths and focuses on a “Made in the USA” and “USA manufacturing” drive.

Both competitors and industry association members have recognized Mar-Bal as an innovator and leader in social media. In fact, Poff was asked to speak at Composites 2013 about Mar-Bal’s journey with social media. The company now has more than 500 likes on Facebook, more than 250 followers on LinkedIn, and continues to grow its presence and content on Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.

Mar-Bal and Poff realize there is still a long road ahead to grow the brand and impact with social media. Both feel, however, that the company has made a strong start in the right direction.

Twitter: @MarBalOneSource
Facebook: facebook.com/MarBalInc
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/mar-bal-inc


Jessica Morris

marketing coordinator
Staffing Solutions Enterprises and Integrity Staffing Services

As marketing coordinator, Jessica Morris has overseen all social media and marketing initiatives on behalf of Staffing Solutions Enterprises and Integrity Staffing Services. That includes laying the groundwork and steadily building social media followings and marketing initiatives as a one-person team for both companies.

Throughout her tenure, it has become her objective to not only gain likes and followers on social media, but provide outlets to create two-way conversations and relationships, while cultivating a sense of community with employees, clients, colleagues, prospects and friends, by showcasing the brand and employment opportunities.

This year, Morris developed a 40-week campaign to showcase Staffing Solutions’ rich history of community engagement, personal success stories and business milestones over the past 40 years. Using her creative content marketing skills and expertise, she created a “social story” that was designed to promote user-engagement, accessibility and reveal the character, integrity and light-hearted personalities of staff. Within eight weeks of the campaign’s launch, Facebook likes and engagement increased by nearly 40 percent.

Morris has also overseen the Integrity website redesign and launch. Integrity’s Facebook page experienced a 60 percent growth from cross-traffic by communicating with assignment employees on a more personal and accessible level within a six-month time frame.

Furthermore, as the talent pool continues to shrink with a recovering economy, using new social media and recruitment tactics attracts high quality candidates and differentiates both Staffing Solutions and Integrity from other staffing firms.

Facebook: facebook.com/StaffingSolutionsEnterprises
Twitter: @IntegrityStaff1
Facebook: facebook.com/IntegrityStaff


Dana Foster

marketing manager

According to a 2011 study by the Harvard Business Review, manufacturers were among the bottom three of least active users of social media — and Thogus was no exception. There was no dedicated marketing personnel and only nascent use of social media without a clear strategy developed to harness it effectively. This changed when Dana Foster joined the company as marketing manager in 2011.

Thogus wanted to create a sales plan to “own our backyard,” focused on developing Thogus in the Northeast Ohio area. Foster saw an opportunity too not only promote Thogus as a manufacturing leader in the local area, but nationally as well.

Foster’s strategy utilized Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook with clear focuses on each platform. Facebook helped display the Thogus culture as it relates to the company’s brand. In the past two months alone, the number of likes to the Thogus page has grown 30 percent.

Thogus’ Twitter account is used to help promote customers, as well as foster relationships with other people in the manufacturing sector. Since 2011, the number of Twitter followers has grown more than 1,200 percent to 640 followers.

LinkedIn has proven to be the driving force behind traffic to the Thogus website. Since implementing a new strategy at the start of 2013, visits to the Thogus LinkedIn page have quadrupled and unique visits have tripled.

In just two years, Foster has grown Thogus’ social media presence and brand awareness, positioning the company as a marketing leader in the plastics processing industry.

Twitter: @Thogus
Facebook: facebook.com/Thogus
LinkedIn: linkd.in/1bDpGFk