Last May, MyPrintResource.com tackled a subject near and dear to many a printer's heart: social media marketing . Now, 10 months later, we revisit the topic to see what's new and what has changed: most notably, perhaps, how mobile apps continue to displace World Wide Web usage. Forrester Research...
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Last May, MyPrintResource.com tackled a subject near and dear to many a printer's heart: social media marketing. Now, 10 months later, we revisit the topic to see what's new and what has changed: most notably, perhaps, how mobile apps continue to displace World Wide Web usage. Forrester Research contends that mobile eventually will overtake both email and social. In the meantime, however, social media can be an important component of your printing company's integrated marketing mix and a valuable tool for your business if you use it right. Socially savvy shops are using it today to enhance their brands and to increase their profits.
As stated recently in a Wide-Format Imaging report (in the upcoming March issue), Forrester also is forecasting that marketers (including printing firms) will spend $77 billion on interactive marketing – as much as they do on TV advertising today—within four years. The combination of search marketing, display advertising, mobile marketing, email marketing, and social media is projected to grow to 35 percent of all advertising spend by 2017. Already, nine of every 10 small to medium-sized businesses use social media for marketing purposes, according to online magazine/blog Social Media Examiner's third annual "Social Media Marketing Industry Report," which measured responses of 3,300 marketing pros. Print businesses lag behind, but still more than one-third of U.S. printers (about 10,000 companies) are using social media for business, statistics compiled by research firm InfoTrends reveal. Here are three other interesting statistics upon which to ponder (also, see sidebar):
When a StrongMail study asked 925 marketers where they would spend their marketing dollars last year, 57 percent said they were increasing their social media spend.Your current and future customers are using social media almost daily: Nielson recently found 80 percent of Americans are using social media at least monthly. Soon to become a public company, the Facebook phenomenon hit 800 million active users in 2011, up from 500 million in 2010. (Note: There were only one million in 2004.)
The Social Print Experiment
Brown Printing, with web-offset plants in three states, has nearly 1,000 followers on Twitter. Continental Colorcraft in Los Angeles has about half that many. Tukaiz, near Chicago, has more than 1,200. Are these people, these followers, buying any printing? More than 60 percent of small businesses are landing new customers through social media activities (source: Social Media Marketing Industry Report). But what about print firms?
About two years ago, three partners set out to build a start-up digital printing company using only social media and Web 2.0 tools. Called the Social Print Experiment, the venture wrapped up last February, and here is some of what they learned. "Relying simply on Twitter, Facebook, and MailChimp marketing is okay as a supplement to a larger sales initiative, but it cannot be your sole source of business," wrote Andrew Simmons, one of the partners. "Feet on the street is still a very strong method to bring sales in."
In terms of expectations, Simmons added that "managing your social media stream, even through automation, is nearly a full-time job. You need to be able to respond to the Tweets that flow throughout the day with meaningful information, not just re-posting from an RSS feed. I spent a lot of time on Twitter and LinkedIn," he noted, "but not much on Facebook. Which translates to not as much time in front of prospects in the flesh, and you need that extra 'touch' with prospects since not everyone is completely comfortable conducting business through email and tweets."
Also, to have any chance of meaningful business from your social media stream, Simmons stressed, "You have to have qualified followers, just as you would have to have qualified prospects in the physical world. If all of your followers are asking you to join their Mafia family or download their real estate e-book, you aren't likely to get much business from them," he said. "I still prune our Twitter list regularly to weed out non-prospects. The number of followers we have now is around 7,200 people, and I limit our following of users to about 5 percent more than are following us."