Intense market competition means that printing companies cannot remain successful by doing things the same way now as they did only a few years ago, Weaver says there are new marketing opportunities
No matter what types of marketing initiatives you may undertake, it is critical to communicate to clients and prospects in a way that is convenient, modern, and engaging and social networking presents a powerful opportunity to communicate.
Today businesses of all types are using social media tools to advance their corporate brands, generate revenue and increase client loyalty, and the speed of adoption of social media is simply amazing.
There are three major social networking sites that have become the leaders for business development: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
As of February 2012 Facebook has more than 845 million users worldwide, and half of them log in every day. Users create a personal profile, add other users as friends, and exchange messages, including automatic notifications when they update their profile. Additionally, users may join common-interest user groups, organised by workplace, school or college, or other characteristics.
A Facebook page is a business, brand or organisation’s space on Facebook. Any Facebook user can indicate they like that page and publish comments or participate in conversations through that page. The page administrator can upload video, and images to that page, as well as send and update messages and information to everyone who has liked that page. In April 2011, Facebook launched a new portal for marketers and creative agencies to help them develop brand promotions on Facebook.
Twitter is an online microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text based messages, known as tweets. In 2011 it had over 300 million users worldwide, handling over 1.6 million search queries per day.
Once you create your business’s Twitter profile you can publish updates whenever you want, about any topic you wish, as well as sharing links to interesting web pages.
An important part of using Twitter effectively is to connect with users through the follower feature, which allows you to read the thoughts of people you are interested in connecting with. Likewise, when people follow you, your updates appear on their Twitter home page, making it easy for them to view and possibly re-tweet your interesting posts to their followers also. That level of exposure is invaluable in terms of building brand awareness and developing a relationship with an online audience.
LinkedIn is a business related network that currently has over 150 million professionals registered. These users are able to maintain and develop a list of contact details of people with whom they have some level of relationship or connection.
Linkedin allows you to market your business indirectly by connecting with targeted audiences and to share your expertise, which leads to stronger relationships and word-of mouth marketing about you and your business.
A recent survey of nearly 3000 people in the US who use social media found that 50 per cent of users actively seek purchase advice and 50 per cent of users actively give advice on social networks.
Of those surveyed, 60 per cent indicated that they are more likely to take action on a product, service, or brand recommended by a social contact and 59 per cent who follow a company or brand are more likely to recommend that company or brand; 58 per cent are more likely to buy the products of that company themselves; 53 per cent use social networks at least frequently to provide feedback to a brand or retailer; and 53 per cent say that companies should communicate using social networks at least once a week.
More than half of people using social media expect regular communications from the companies they engage with. Regardless of the size of the company or its type of operation, you need a strategy for a printing business’s venture into social media. Any social-media strategy should consider all of the groups that your organisation needs to communicate with and how a social-media strategy can be integrated with your other marketing strategies.
Using social media can help reduce marketing and communication costs and facilitate faster communication. The social networks discussed here do not cost money, only the time that you invest to use these tools. That means telling your clients about the new capabilities you have with your new equipment, telling prospects about a successful project you’ve done recently, and finding prospects is all free.
Some ideas for tweets, Facebook posts, or LinkedIn Group communications:
Get your clients and prospects interacting with you by fielding frequently asked questions about your products or services.
Advise prospects and clients about the best ways that clients use your services.
Celebrate the completion of interesting or different projects.
Write about any new or interesting technologies.
Introduce and welcome new employees.
Celebrate business milestones and anniversaries.
Many printing organisations are using social-networking sites as business-building tools, so if you are not, you definitely need to develop a strategy for social media that helps your company achieve its business goals.