With forms to fill, sales to uphold and red tape to wade through, managing your Social Media profiles can fall to the bottom of your to-do list. Like any company, there are massive opportunities to grow your print business through social media. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter should be leveraged to discover new customers and keep existing ones engaged. In the 2015 Sales Best Practices Study from research institute MHI Global, companies rated social media as the most effective way to identify key decision makers and new business opportunities.
So, why does social media have such an impact on how customers relate to a business? John Gerzema has a theory that Social Media gives businesses validity. In his recent TED talk, “the post-crisis consumer”, he outlines that customers no longer hide from purchasing as they did during the credit-crunch, but now crave value and research each business and product. Having a strong presence on social media gives credibility to your print business; customers can see reviews, leave feedback and see you announcing any offers or updates on the business. A study conducted by Texas Tech University even found that businesses who engage on social media and regularly post enjoy higher loyalty from their customers.
This guide as part of our Digital Marketing Course for Local Printers will show you how to use social media to find more print buyers and keep your current customers coming back. You’ll learn how to use social media to increase and most importantly, grow your business.
1. Define Your Target Audience to Find Where They Are
The first step in your Social Media strategy is to define what sort of customers you are going after. Our eBook, Print Customers and Where to Find Them, outlines some of the most lucrative print-buying industries and will provide a good starting point when deciding which potential customers to target.
Now, research which social media channels they use. Schools and Academies, for example, may not be very active on Facebook, while restaurants and cafes generally have large followings on social media. Charities and tourism will likely have a strong Twitter presence to keep in contact with supporters, while professional Estate Agencies would be more active on LinkedIn. Make sure your profiles on these sites are up to date and contain your most recent photos and information.
If you’re struggling to maintain various social media channels at once, Hootsuite is a free social media platform which allows you to post to a selection of sites at once. It’s a great way to keep your profiles updated with less effort or complications on your part.
2. Introduce Yourself Through Social Media to Increase Chances of Buying
Businesses can be wary of cold calls. Have you ever had a less-than-welcome response when you have approached a new business? Engaging with potential customers on social media before you offer your services can increase the likelihood of you bringing them on as a new customer. A whopping 72% of people are more likely to purchase from a business if they have interacted with them on Twitter. Furthermore, Twitter reported a 30% lift in recommendations from followers after following & interacting with them on Twitter.
Make a list of businesses and organisations in your area who you’d like to bring on as customers. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin and interact; like their photos, share their posts or join in with conversations that they’re having. Building an online rapport will lay the foundations of your relationship before they’ve purchased from you.
Businesses often use social media as a forum when they need suppliers. A quick search in the Twitter search bar can pull up a host of customers asking for recommendations for printers which you can leverage and introduce yourself.
If you’re struggling to find potential customers, search for relevant hashtags on social media. These could include your local area, any print related terms or industry specific related terms. A customer of a competitor may have uploaded an image of their freshly printed business cards onto Twitter with the hashtag #BusinessCards and #Newcastle, for example. Programmes such as Hootsuite also offer a free hashtag tracking tool to help you discover what customers near you are searching for.
3. Run a Competition to Engage With Current Customers and Get In Front of New Ones.
“Like and share” competitions are a popular form of social media marketing as it requires little effort from you. By asking your customers to “like and share” a post for a chance to win a prize such as £X worth of print, you are leveraging their profiles to get free exposure to their audience. Your competition could well show up on the news feed of a customer with the intention of buying print.
4. Share Your Customer’s Print to Build Loyalty
Build loyalty with your current customers and ask them if you can upload their finished print onto your social media channels and tag them. If any flyer designs stand out or if a customer has ordered an impressive array of products for their latest campaign, upload it. The post will serve as a positive reminder of your business post-purchase. If they then share the post on their page, you’ll benefit from a free recommendation to their audience too.
Encourage your own customers to do the same. You could seal their packaging with a sticker that says “Share your order on social @yourname” or even pop in a flyer with the same message. This will be a recommendation of your services in itself!
5. Announce any offers or new products
73% of people follow businesses to get updates on future products. If you’re planning on running a sale or have introduced a design service to your print shop, social media will ensure the message is sent directly to an audience who is interested and engaged. 75% of companies that sold and promoted their products on social media reported an increase in sales in 12 months. Remember, your customers may only buy print a few times a year. Consistently showcasing your services will keep your business in the forefront of their mind so when they need print, they’re more likely to buy from you.
Remember to include images with your updates. Facebook posts with images see 2.3X more engagement than those without images.
6. Use paid advertising to target potential customers in your area.
Social Media advertising has unprecedented targeting options. You can advertise to specific businesses and organisations in your area who you know have a print spend. Facebook advertising allows you to target adverts by industry or job title locally so your print shop is seen by who you want. Twitter advertising lets you target people who already follow your competitors or other local businesses. You can even target by company size and job title on LinkedIn!
Targeting means your marketing budget isn’t put to waste. You can control your monthly or weekly spend whatever your allowance and can pause whenever you want.
7. Use Your Social Media Pages to be Found on Google
Many Social Media pages rank on Google search either just below or sometimes, above a company’s website when searching for their name. Our Twitter page, for example, ranks 3rd when you google Route1Print under our actual website and our TrustPilot listing.
Social Media channels can be preferred by users if they’re researching your company as they feel more personal. Of course, if customers are using your Facebook or Twitter page as their first point of contact, you’ll want to make sure it’s up to date and full of useful information
Keeping your Social Media profiles up to date can evidently play a huge part in finding and retaining customers. Buyers are expecting to engage with businesses more than ever before, and Social Media gives you the opportunity to do this.