Today I was part of a wonderful discussion on #PrintChat, which is a Twitter-based chat room populated by some very bright minds in the print world, some from as far as Australia, New Zealand and New Jersey! It’s a great hour to share ideas, methods, information, and sometimes silliness. Today’s topic was about CRM (Customer Relationship Management), but when the question was asked what data was collected, some wise person suggested social media contact information. The room lit up (well, figuratively) due to the simple fact that we were all in there BECAUSE of social media! But when asked who used Social Media (SoMe) as a marketing tool, not many shared that they do.
SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE PRINT WORLD AS A MARKETING TOOL
My perception is that we use SoMe for many things: Facebook so we can keep in touch with family or friends; Twitter so we can drop a quick thought or link to a photo or webpage; Pinterest so we can show others the creative ideas we have, or things we like; and LinkedIn as a business tool to build networks with clients, prospective clients and colleagues. Google Plus is quickly becoming popular due to it’s tie-in to Google itself, making searches for a company with a Google Plus page show up easier. All of these are excellent platforms to use to market yourself and your print company.
WHAT YOU REALLY CAN’T EXPECT SOCIAL MEDIA TO DO
I believe, though, that there is a misconception about using SoMe as a marketing tool, and so many companies, while having an active SoMe presence, really don’t capitalize on it. But, from what research I have done, most print marketing experts say the same thing: “You can’t sell on Social Media.” And that is true. You really cannot. SoMe does not take the place of a phone call, or a well-crafted email. SoMe does not help your sales team or you as a sales rep sell better. It cannot and should not be depended upon as a way of contacting clients. That is best left to phone calls, emails, or if pre-arranged, a visit (notice I didn’t say “drive by” visit. Those kind are annoying).
WHAT TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA FOR IN MARKETING
However, that does not mean a print sales rep cannot use Social Media as a TOOL for selling. It can be and should be a very powerful tool. But you have to use it in three ways to make it effective:
- First, make sure what you’re posting if of interest to your intended audience. Content should be geared towards highlighting a product or service you offer that is DIFFERENT than what other print service providers offer. Suggestions to post would be new equipment, or a new process, news of upcoming seminars or educational classes, or tips on how to set up files for successful printing.
- Do NOT try to sell anything! I cannot emphasize this one enough. The point is NOT to sell, but to inform and create perceived value. Don’t go on and say “It’s FREE magenta Monday!” or “The 505th like will get 10% off on their next printing job!”
- The final, and most important reason to market with Social Media is to engage the follower, and make them desire to follow you, and to encourage others to follow you, and return often. Why? Because they get value from the content you post. The more they are engaged on SoMe, the more your brand name is visited and viewed, which increases the SEO for you.
The question asked today about how to use Social Media came up with some interesting tips, two of which I’ll share here.
- When you contact a prospect or client, invite them (and I use that word “invite” deliberately) to follow you on Social Media. There are two reasons to do this: one, content is of value to them, so steer them towards that content; second, as the Millennial generation becomes the buying generation in business, giving them other sources to check on you and your product or service is vital to them.
- And, when contacting your prospect or client, ask if you can get THEIR Social Media profiles. Most CRMs these days have fields to add Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or even Pinterest, so if you capture that information, you can use SoMe as a means of reaching out and engaging them in a targeted fashion.
As the technological era continues to grow by leaps and bounds, keeping on top of Social Media is vital in order to grow and engage clients and prospects. It can be done very simply, and there are wonderful tools (HootSuite for one) that allow you to manage all your Social Media content across all the platforms. Print sales reps who have embraced social media find it to be a new and exciting source to talk about themselves, and their services.
You may join the chats every Wednesday at 4 PM EST at on Twitter @PrintChat. The chats are moderated by Deborah Corn of Print Media Centr, and Sandy Hubbard of Help Print Thrive. I recommend you use this link to Nurph to log in and join the chat.