Social media has created a lot of excitement over the past year. Internet tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs, and Google+ can provide an individual or business access to an audience of literally millions. What began as a social phenomenon among college students has spilled over to the business world to help companies get new leads for their products and services.
Printing companies aren’t ignoring this new way to communicate with customers and market their services. They are using social media to build relationships with their customers. They share information that helps establish their company as an expert resource. Printers can now monitor what customers are saying about them. Social media is being used to increase the printer’s presence on search engines to get better rankings in Internet searches and drive more prospects to their websites. Its use helps develop a trustworthiness so customers will think of them first when printing is needed. In essence, social media gets printers more leads that they can turn into customers.
A new twist
Social media also provides printers with new products and services to sell. The same skill set they use to produce printed products is used in social media and Internet services. Printers have always played an important part in the communications process for their customers. By integrating social media and Internet services, they can help customers make their printed messages more relevant and powerful.
Why should a printer provide social media services? It is because social media services create the need for more printing and design services. Many printers already have a strong relationship with their customers’ marketing departments. They are already designing, writing copy, and printing marketing collateral. It is an easy transition to go from the protector of the customer’s brand and message in print to the guardian of other communication vehicles that promote the same message.
Customers need to have their brand unified across the communications tools they are using. Printers can help customers ensure that the content and the look and feel of their marketing message is reinforced. Who better than a printer to make sure that the message, colors, and logos look the same in print as they do on a computer screen? Professional design is needed for Facebook welcome pages. Blogs need to look like the printed marketing materials. E-broadcast newsletters must mirror style. The printer is best suited to make sure the customer’s image is properly displayed.
Customers who attempt to do their own social media quickly find that creating and broadcasting content is labor intensive. Like so many other services that printers offer, social media is something that customers give to printers to do because they find it too time consuming and complex to do it themselves. The printer can ensure a consistent and uniformed message is being pushed to customers’ clients on a regular basis because the message is the same as the printed message.
Social media is offering new chargeable services for printing companies. Printers can charge to create and design Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-In accounts for their customers. They can charge to create and post content for customers and to build an audience online. Customers will pay for the professional look to make their sites stand out in the crowd.
Printers can also bill for writing and scheduling the postings. They can provide a billable service to follow the conversations about the customer online and report their findings to the customer. Bad news can spread quickly over social media channels. It is valuable for the customer to have someone constantly monitoring the traffic to help avoid embarrassing or damaging information.
Social media support also opens up other revenue possibilities for the printer. Printers are selling more direct mail to drive people to their customers’ websites or social media sites. Additional print collateral is needed to support on the online messages. Some printers are even offering website provider services to give customers better control over their entire message distribution system.
Most importantly, almost all the information that is shared in print is broadcast over the Internet, and almost all of the information broadcast on the Web must have printed collateral to support it. As a customer’s online activities increase, that customer will need more printing to support the activities.
Print continues to be the primary marketing tool used by most businesses. Social media is just other tool to reach prospects and customers and to get leads. By integrating print with social media, a business can have greater success reaching the audience they want with the message they want. Printers know print. Adding social media to the mix only increases the value of print and positions the printing company as a communication and marketing expert.