These days, social media are sort of like websites: Just about every company seems to be engaging customers and prospects online. The vast majority are posting on Facebook (a substantial amount for business purposes), tweeting on Twitter, networking on LinkedIn, sharing photos on Pinterest (see...
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Here’s a shout out to printers who are doing social right and getting a return on their investments in time and resources:
Consider that 30 years ago, there were 4.6 billion people in the world—and not a single mobile-phone subscriber. Today, the world population is around seven billion, and there are some 6billion mobile cellular-phone subscriptions, according to an MIT report. Some 64 percent of smartphone users now access social networking sites or blogs almost every day.
This is a big part of the reason why progressive print service providers (PSPs) are migrating into the mobile space. In late May, for example, Tukaiz of Franklin Park, IL, near Chicago, spun off TKML into a Web and mobile application development subsidiary. Its developers have been using multiple languages to build enterprise-level software solutions for the past eight years.
“In building a comprehensive team spanning from business analysts to end-to-end testing personnel, we have been able to develop a professional process that brings speed, efficiency, and accuracy to our clients’ evolving application development needs,” said James Hasan, TKML director of data applications. “This new venture facilitates our growth and allows us to provide an even higher level of focus on developing Web and mobile solutions.”
TKML employs a Ruby on Rails platform. Rails is an open-source, full-stack web application framework for the Ruby programming language. Its benefits lie in the speed and ease of use that developers working within the environment are able to deploy. Changes made to applications are immediately applied, avoiding the time-consuming steps normally associated with the Web development cycle. Because of this, Rails is often the methodology of choice for highly interactive applications like online directories, online e-commerce, local couponing, and cloud-based project collaboration. As one of the largest Ruby on Rails shops in Chicago, TKML includes a versatile team of nearly 30 engineers, user experience experts, and launch-strategy specialists.
“The decision to build a data applications team several years ago came with the shifting trend toward digital marketing methods,” added Dan Defino, Tukaiz VP and managing director. “Because that trend is growing at such a fast pace, we saw an opportunity to invest in our highly coveted team of developers to provide seamless software solutions that relieve a lot of the pain points involved in implementing integrated marketing campaigns. We wanted to make it easier for our clients to use advanced technology to engage their audiences.”
Paul Strack also knows how critical engagement is. For him, social media is all about educating and sharing information. From North Little Rock, AR, the president of CustomXM Cross-Media Communications, tweets daily on Twitter about current industry trends such as web-to-print and mobile marketing strategies. Formerly known as Custom Printing Co., the now 50-year-old firm rebranded five years ago.
“The integration of digital printing, database technology, and the Internet forever changed the face of marketing,” said Strack, son of the firm’s founder. He seized the Twitter craze in 2009 to introduce his newly branded company to a whole new audience of advertising, marketing, and public relations people. (His flock has grown to more than 1,400 followers now.) Today, the six hours or so he spends tweeting each week generate about $100,000 in sales, Strack figured, which represents some five percent of his firm’s $2 million in annual sales. That’s a pretty decent ROI. “I try posting at different times of the day, but it’s nothing constant,” he added.
“We’ve experimented with contests, too, but it has to be the right offer,” explained Strack, who acknowledged that CustomXM needs to improve its engagement tactics on Facebook. He is adamant that overt, hard-selling does not work well on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform. “I know some people think a lot of time is wasted on social media, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” he noted. “You just need to be disciplined.”