Printers challenge me about social media from time to time. Why should they participate? What’s in it for them? Some have tried it – and abandoned it – after months, because they didn’t see results. I take it they meant sales.
I think they’re missing the bigger picture. For printers, social isn’t a sales tool, though it could have a positive impact on your business if done well.
Social media is key for printers for several reasons:
- It expands your reach and grows your community. “Social is the most powerful marketing channel because it is a vast, connected, and even sometimes intimate network.” Good content spreads beyond first-generation engagement (your Twitter or YouTube followers, your FB friends, your LinkedIn followers). Social’s shareable nature makes it unique.
- It breathes personality into your company. Think of social media as casual Friday – every day. Leave your buttoned-down self at home. You’re encouraged to be interesting and funny on social media. Your posts and comments will paint a picture of who you really are. Your community gets to know you one post, video, image or tweet at a time. The more interesting you are, the more people want to connect with you and read more from you.
- It gives you a platform to create and share attention-grabbing visuals and content. Printers are in the “visuals” business: there’s no excuse not to include images in your social conversations. Share latest projects. Show off specialty finishes, papers, folds, inks, and formats. Start a series of intriguing tools-of-the-trade to spark conversations. Turn it into a contest. Feature customers. Feature employees. Bring the outside world into your company with visuals.
- You’ll learn things. You’ll come across news stories and other posts that apply to your business. You may come across a potential employee, speaker, or partner. You’ll hear about new technologies, trends and events that you might not hear about elsewhere. It’s educational and inspirational.
Just last week, an article in the Boston Sunday Globe nailed this whole “why do social media” issue. The article is an excerpt from a larger piece by Jay I. Sinha, Associate Professor of Marketing at Temple University’s business school.
The author suggests that social media gives brands an emotional identity. Many companies have become disengaged from customers and their audience. Thanks to social media, we can counter that dehumanization by talking to and with customers, sharing a bit more of our personalities, and in a real sense, softening our brand’s image.
On social media, companies can make personal connections with customers and prospects, using “upbeat, light-hearted posts, direct replies and witty remarks.”
When you think about social media, don’t get hung up on hard sales numbers. Social pays off in different ways. When it’s done correctly, your community will grow. Community members will reach out to you when they need your expertise. By that time, they’ll feel like you’re an old friend.
(c) 2015 Margie Dana