Strategies for Print and Mail Success in a Tightening Market: Strategy Two – Embrace Social Media
Social media refers to a group of platforms that are used to connect people with each other. Originally intended for person-to-person interactions, they are now businesses across the globe to promote products and services, engage customers and reduce marketing costs. For print and mail shops, incorporating social media marketing campaigns and other engagements is necessary to reach new customers and retain existing ones in this digital age.
Why You Must Have a Social Media Presence
Many print and mail shops undervalue the benefits of having an active and effective social media presence but it is one of the best things you can do to reach your audience. Here are 5 strong reasons why you must actively embrace these platforms:
- Connect with Millennials. Millennials are people aged 22 to37 and they are employees, business owners and entrepreneurs. They are a becoming a driving force in the decision making process in many companies and they rely on social media recommendations of products and services to choose a vendor. If you don’t have a presence, you won’t be considered for a job.
- Increase Sales. Social Media posts drive targeted traffic and increase sales. It is used to research products, understand the vendor/company and make a connection.
- True Engagement. These platforms provide instant access to your target market group, allows for direct engagement, i.e. they can ask questions, post reviews, etc. and you can respond, and it helps you get noticed.
- Social Media. Your competition is almost certainly already on social media, capturing the marketing unchallenged. You need to be present on select sites so that people know they have choices when it comes to local print and mail shops.
- Stretch Marketing Dollars. Signing up and using these platforms is free. With an effective marketing plan with scheduled posts and good interaction, this is all you need. Yes, you can spend money to promote posts or conduct advertising campaigns but it isn’t necessary for success.
Utilizing social media to promote a business used to be a small part of a company’s marketing campaign. Now it’s the key component around which all else is built. The reason is simple – it works to increase sales.
Primary Social Media Platforms
There are several social media platforms available for use in promoting your business. Each one draws specific market segments and requires targeted forms of interaction to have the greatest impact. Small and mid-sized companies do not need to be on every platform, but they should conduct research to identify those that are likely to yield the best results. We highly recommend:
- As we discussed before, this is a business to business engagement platform that is home to most local, regional, national and global companies. Primary company decision makers use this site, which means that you can cut through the lower management levels and connect directly with the person who can say yes.
- This granddaddy of the social media platform is still very much relevant today. Using this platform will connect you with the over 2.2 billion people who log into it each day. Also, having a Facebook profile and active page increases your local SEO with Google, which means that your website will be a higher result on a page during a search. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain from using this site.
- They say that a picture paints a thousand words and this is why businesses that sell products are on Pinterest. It is a great place to post photos quality work that you’ve printed, though you will need to block out the client’s information or have their permission to post. Another key reason to be on Pinterest is that engaged couples use this site twice as much as other platforms when planning their wedding, including invitations, place cards, announcements, etc. If these deliverables are a part of your business, you need to be on this site.
- If you want to engage Millennials, Twitter is the place to be. This is a quick and easy-to-use platform that allows you to share information and engagement without spending a lot of time. Also, nearly 75% of Twitter users follow small businesses and you could be one of them.
There are more social media you could use but these are the ones that are most practical and engaging for print and mail shops.
For social media sites to be a powerful marketing tool for your print and mail shop, you need to do several things:
- Be Active. Post regularly and share more than just promotions. The more personally connected someone feels toward your business, the more loyal they will be.
- Cross-Promote. Tweet about your new Facebook post. Share a LinkedIn marketing piece on Facebook. This extends the reach of your pieces, boosts SEO and increases engagement.
- Curate Content. You don’t need to write everything yourself. Find a piece that your audience will enjoy, explain why you are sharing it and post it. Be sure to give the originator credit for the work, but it’s a win-win for both of you so don’t be shy.
- Respond to Questions, Concerns, Complaints, and Compliments. Every time someone leaves a comment on your platforms, respond. Thank them for their interest, answer questions, appreciate positive feedback and respond appropriately to complaints. Most complaints are removed from a platform once the responder feels that the issue has been resolved and most people who receive a positive response to their own posts are more likely to repost it on their account – which means more people are now reading it.
- Hire help. If you know that social media isn’t something you are comfortable with and no one in your shop has this expertise, hire someone to do it for you. This can be a freelancer or part-time position, it doesn’t matter as long as the content reflects your business and is truly engaging.
Do you have to be on social media to promote your business? No. Is it the best way to increase sales and engagement for low cost? Yes. Don’t wait until the time is right to select sites and get started. That time is already past and you need to get started now.