Soon to be 60, Simpson is a proponent of lifelong learning, returning to school to earn a marketing degree just a few years ago. Her public relations counsel insists that social media enhances SEO and Google scores, and Foley of Grow Socially agrees. “This is how many people prefer to communicate,” Simpson acknowledged. “Driving up responses can’t be limited to one channel – it’s about all of them, including mobile. For me not to participate would be a huge mistake. I don’t want to become irrelevant.”
Plus, there’s the cross-pollination effect. Although it has not yet been scientifically confirmed, she thinks the company is luring more Twitter followers as a result of her biweekly Web blogs.
Print’s social network is akin to the rise of the Internet and digital production in the early 1990s, Simpson recalled. “We’re never going back,” she warned. “This is the new normal.”
As PIA’s Shaffer pointed out in her book, “Like it or not, your customers are talking about your company, your service, and your problem resolution on various social media tools already.”
Here’s a tip: Google Alerts are easy to set up. When’s the last time you “Googled” your company’s name?
Jones at Think Big said he tried the Facebook thing a couple years ago, “but it faded. We made mistakes early on,” he admitted. “We didn’t know what to do or have a strategy.” The misguided end result was a jumble of inconsistent information.
One takeaway from that experience is that it helps to have younger staffers, fresh out of college, who are comfortable with the whole social media culture. Alan Wright, 23, runs the firm’s large-format production as well as its Twitter feeds. And sales account manager Jessica Proctor, 24, is its “Facebook queen,” Jones noted. He added that Wright was “into Twitter on his own” before he was hired.
While SM analytics are not very effective in the early stages, Jones knows it can work. “In one week’s time, we landed a new customer – the Denver Browns minor league baseball team – all because of social media.”
Putting it in perspective, Twitter tweeter LithoLarry (aka Larry Williams, a sales rep for Lithographics, Inc. in Nashville), earlier this year tweeted, “I will not keep my head in the sand. Social Media is good.” Williams, who is 29 and grew up in his father’s printing business, added this in a blog post at www.litholarry.com: “It [social media] allows me to learn more and be aware of my surroundings. I use Twitter to catch up on articles and get advice from those I normally would not have an opportunity to speak with.”
You’ll never know what you’re missing if you don’t use social media. But your competition will! PN