The natural stone industry is filled with companies of all sizes, but we know that most are small-to-medium size companies. When it comes to marketing and training, I often hear about limited budgets and staff resources. This is where the power of being aligned with a trade association can become a huge resource to help fill the void. Allow me to highlight two programs the Natural Stone Institute is well known for and showcase the value that is at your fingertips.
Social Media Content
Even companies with a full-time social media manager are constantly looking for a steady source of good content to post. Sharing good content with your audience makes you an authority and offers a great impression about your company. Over the past three years, over 100 articles have been posted on www.usenaturalstone.org and social media posts are made weekly. Some posts are designed to inspire, while others focus on educating both consumers and design professionals. All articles are written by a talented team of writers who understand natural stone and are intended to be shared by the industry on a variety of platforms.
Recent article topics include:
- The difference between natural stone and manmade quartz surfaces
- Incorporating natural stone into kitchen and bath designs
- Using natural stone remnants
- Caring for quartzite and soapstone countertops
- The sustainability of natural stone
The library of articles covers every natural stone type and a good mix of residential and commercial uses.
If a company were to create the content found on our website and social media on its own, it would likely cost them over $15,000. So, I would like to recommend that you and your social media team:
- Visit www.usenaturalstone.org and its social media outlets frequently — new content is always available.
- Share the articles and posts.
- Do you have an article idea? We want to hear it.
- Send us your photos!
- Donate to this effort.
Training Resources Available Online
Managers also face the challenge of finding good content for training resources. While nothing replaces face-to-face or in-the-field training, there are many opportunities to offer training online. The Natural Stone University (www.uofstone.org) now has over 156 classes available online. Topics include safety, geology, business training and technical aspects of the industry.
All classes include learning objectives, vetted content, competency exams and certificates of completion. Similar to a traditional university, all classes are also recorded in a transcript so you have a record of activity. While these classes are housed on an online learning portal, your company has the option of using individual learning OR downloading a class and administering the course in a group setting. Some have referred to the University as their virtual human resources training module.
A member recently shared with me, “I researched the cost of purchasing training modules from another third-party provider, and there is no greater value than what I find on the Natural Stone University.” He applied a $50 value to each class. When I shared with him that most classes are free to members, he smiled and expressed gratitude for how we have made his life easier.
Take a few moments and look at the content available to you — I believe you will find there is tremendous value offered with your Natural Stone Institute membership. More content is being developed for you as we speak.
Join, get involved, and donate!