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Individual Highlight

Social Media Use in the Forest Products Industry is a New Way to do Business

Photo of Examples of popular social media platforms now being used in the forest products industry. Iris Montague, USDA Forest ServiceExamples of popular social media platforms now being used in the forest products industry. Iris Montague, USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : Forest Service researchers analyzed the Internet and social media usage of forest products producers in major forest-products producing states to determine which web strategies were most used and what factors determined internet and/or social media use. They found that more and more companies were incorporating web-sites and social media use into marketing strategies to help remain competitive and that Facebook was most heavily used. While it seems that smaller wood product firms would benefit greatly from using the internet and social media in marketing strategies, it appears that larger, consumer-product-oriented firms are more likely to embrace these marketing concepts.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Montague, Iris B.  
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2013
Highlight ID : 491


Recent economic downturns have required U.S. businesses to change their strategies. Forest products businesses especially have been affected by the economy, and the resulting collapse of the housing market. These companies have had to develop innovative strategies to conduct business and sell products competitively. Forest Service scientists wanted to know if forest products businesses were adopting social media networking into business strategies. They found larger companies are often early adopters of technology and therefore often have a competitive advantage over smaller firms. The research confirms that company size is the dominant factor affecting whether U.S. forest products companies have developed web-sites and were using social media to market their products in 2012; larger companies were more likely to have embraced the tactics. During market downturns, the use of social media affords companies a cost-effective means of reaching and expanding their customer base. The implications of these findings are significant for smaller firms that thrive on intimate relationship with their customer base and who do not have access to the capital needed to implement large scale marketing programs. Social media gives them the opportunity to expand and develop those relationships that are essential to success.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Kathryn Arano, West Virginia University
  • National Hardwood Lumber Association

Program Areas