In any 20 minute period, up to 1,000,000 links are shared on Facebook. There are many many more facts like this which reinforce what a juggernaut social media has become. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Stumbleupon, Foursquare and others – the web is now driven by social.
Near enough everyone is on Facebook or Twitter whether they’re 16 or 61 – it’s infiltrated almost every generation of society.
What does this mean for your print business? Are there social media opportunities you can be taking advantage of in order to grow your business?
The answer is a resounding yes! People aren’t just using social media as a way to tell others what they had for breakfast, it is fast becoming a way to get recommendations from trusted peers and business associates when making purchasing decisions.
There are also early indications which show that Google is working social signals into its ranking algorithm which means that if you aren’t looking at exploring social media then you might be missing out.
Here are our 3 top social media tips for printers:
#1 -Social listening
This is the practice of monitoring social media and conversations online and participating where applicable. This might be a customer offering positive feedback on your products or services, it could be a prospective client asking their followers a question about your business or seeking reviews of the products you offer.
It could even be a prospective buyer who has no idea about your business but is looking for a solution you offer. All of these situations present the perfect opportunity to engage in a non-intrusive way to offer your advice, thank them for their feedback or address any queries they might have.
Social Mention is a free and very easy tool to use which enables you to ‘listen in’ on the social web. It sources data from much of the known universe including Facebook, Twitter, Google, blogs and more.
#2 -Be interesting
It is easy said than done but remember that with social media comes a more conversational environment; people aren’t looking to be hard sold, they want to be engaged with. Produce interesting content on your blog and share via social media channels or you could run specific events on your social media profiles and encourage interaction through things like surveys or prize draws.
#3 – Convert likes into sales
There is no shortage of ‘experts’ out there telling you social media is for kids and that you’ll never get any business from it. They’re either mis-informed or haven’t been doing it right because social media with strategy can lead to significantly higher sales…HubSpot surveyed small and medium sized business owners, 62% of whom concurred that social media had become a more important lead source over the past 12 months.
How do you convert more likes and fans into sales then? Traditionally a lead for your business may have come in via an outbound channel for example you employ a telesales team or you have been sending out direct mail – these leads were typically handled in a hard-sell fashion whereby you or your team got on the phone and attempted to create a solution and close the sale.
Leads that arrive via social media require much softer conversion tactics. It is wise to slowly lead the prospect through the conversion funnel from Facebook fan > to whitepaper reader > to blog subscriber > to customer. This developing loyalty to your business before they even become a customer means that they will likely stay as a customer for much longer than a traditional lead that is sold to and then perhaps never nurtured again.
This social media thing might seem like a lot of hard work but it is definitely worth it. Handling social media as a marketing channel correctly can lead to greater lead quality which not only generates more sales but sales of much higher volumes and profit margins.