Social Media for Print Businesses
To start we just want to say that we love every printer out there! And it’s why we want to address the topic of social media for the print industry because most print shops are not utilizing social media at all. One of our goals is to make social media easy and effective for print companies.
So let’s dig in to how to make social media marketing work for your print business.
Why Should a Print Business Use Social Media?
While everyone has their opinions on this the facts are that you can use social media for …
Visibility & Communication
Whether it’s for brand awareness or simply making announcements the easiest way to use social is for basic communication and creating content that anyone can access if they want it. While that doesn’t sound very compelling, it becomes most useful when paired with goals you can measure and execute against (which we’ll talk about later).
In the consumer goods space this has been getting used for a while, but just like them, your print shop can also serve customers on social media as well. This can range from doing quotes or answering customer questions on Facebook Messenger to responding to customer comments on LinkedIn posts. If that is the channel they want to connect on, it may be worth your time to make that channel available.
New business & Sales
This is a big one, because many think this is not possible on social, but the truth is that you can indeed generate new business from social media. Sales efforts will be different across each platform, but as long as you are posting sales focused messages and give the ability to your salesperson or team to engage with people on social then you are 100% guaranteed to generate new business on these channels.
What are Social Media Goals that Print Shops Should Use?
This is making sure that your company gets found. If no one ever hears of you then they will for sure never buy from you. There really doesn’t have to be a complex goal as it relates to brand awareness for print companies. Looking for an increase should be your primary goal when you first start out.
You can measure this by using the social media platform analytics and Google Analytics. More engagement & traffic and more specifically getting this from “new” people is the main KPI to know if more people are “seeing” your print company.
While you first need to be seen or found, the next step is getting people to remember you or associate your print company with a good option for printed products or services. Similar to awareness you really should focus on a goal other than increasing your awareness.
To measure brand recognition for a print business you can use Google Search Console to track brand keyword (the name of your print company) search volume AND in Google Analytics when looking at Direct Traffic increases. Both of these will give you good perspective on how many more people are looking for your brand name which means more people are knowing who you are.
Traffic to Your Social Profiles and Website
An easy to measure performance number is traffic. By using the social media platform analytics suites (free to any business page) and Google Analytics you can see how many people are viewing your social media posts, profile and how many are coming to your website from social media posts.
A good goal is to start small by looking to get a 5% to 10% increase in traffic month over month for 6 months and then evaluate what a good month over month goal would be good for you. After 12 months start measuring and setting goals using the same period year over year to stay seasonally consistent.
Getting leads from social media is extremely important! So using these as one of your goals makes sense.
The measurement of leads is done similarly to what you would do for traffic, but the majority of leads will happen on your website. So measuring the number of people that come from social media posts who fill out forms on your website or click to call your business from their cell phone will be your primary KPI.
A good goal here is to either evaluate a baseline from historic data if you have it and set a percentage increase like 10% – 25% to start or if you have no history look to volume at first. 10 to 25 leads per month over the first few months would be good and from there you can evaluate what will be best.
The ultimate goal, Getting more sales!
If you have an ecommerce print website then you can measure this online like you do leads, but most print business do not have this and rely on leads and sales professionals to quote and close new business. This is where tracking and evaluating sales from social media becomes very difficult.
You can ask sales team members to ask customers how they found them or try to manually track sales back to the leads that came in from social media, but these are wrought with inaccuracy and is very inefficient.
So our advice for this is to track overall sales growth and attribute some level of credit to your social media efforts if the KPI’s being tracked ask goals are all positive and sales are positive you can guarantee social had a big impact on sales if they are up.
Social Media Usage and The Print Buying Audience
A Pew Research Center study pulled the numbers for percentage of social media use across all social media platforms in the United States. You can view the breakdown below.
- Buyers using YouTube: 73%
- People using Facebook: 68%
- Users on Instagram: 35%
- Adults using Pinterest: 29%
- Individuals using Snapchat: 27%
- Buyers using LinkedIn: 25%
- Adults using Twitter: 24%
These results really are no surprise and the breakdown of age in the full report wasn’t a surprise either.
But what this does show is how important Social Media is to people, print buyers and your prospective customers.
They are on it and using it, which means you can connect with them and generate new business!
Which Social Media Platforms Are Best for Print Companies?
This depends on what you are promoting and what goals are a priority for you, BUT we can tell you that for Non-Paid Social Media you will do well with LinkedIn by posting to your company page, sharing that post individually as a person and then posting links to your website and blogs to LinkedIn Business Groups. You’ll also do well with with getting tons of visibility and engagement on Instagram with marketers and designers. For less high volume B2B printing you can rely on Facebook to help get you more attention and leads from “word of mouth” on the platform. YouTube is obviously a MUST DO if you have the capability of creating video content for your print business.
If you are using paid social media ads then again LinkedIn reigns supreme and all other platforms won’t even come close to the ROI you’ll get from this social channel.
Can Print and Social Media Work Together?
Of course print and social media have their own individual advantages, but if done right print can actually drive more social media engagement which will lead to more conversions and sales. It’s important that you as a print company do these things as well, but you can use these ideas as examples on social media to cross promote using print and social together!
Check out these ideas businesses (including yours) can use to merge print and social media:
- Add social media “buttons” and hashtags to printed pieces like brochures, booklets or business cards.
- Use personalized URLs (PURLs) to direct customers to social media profile pages.
- Use positive social media reviews and comments as testimonials on sales kits or pamphlets.
- Print large creative signage that encourages people to take photos of themselves (Selfie) or others and post to social.
- And the list could go on, but you get the idea!
Which Social Media Platforms Should A Print Business Use?
We talked earlier in the article about the “Best” social platforms to use, but what about the rest, which ones should you use? Here we’ll share with you not only which ones to use, but which ones NOT to use so you aren’t wasting your time.
Social Media Platforms Printers SHOULD Use
Each of those social platforms work well at getting your message out and engaging with customers in a simple expected way.
Social Media Platforms Printers Should NOT Use
Or either of these newcomers
These social platforms are not integrated well and do not work with business services like printing. Many marketers will argue otherwise, but it’s unfortunately true. We understand hedging against the future and getting on platforms early and that marketers love cool shiny things, but you just cannot win on these platforms as a printer. It’s not worth the time, effort or investment.
Print Social Media Accounts You Should Follow on Twitter
You could call these people influencers and this is by no means an exhaustive list, but we wanted to share some accounts we like that you could follow now and get tremendously value from in viewing what they do and gaining inspiration to help move your print business forward on social media.
What About Using Hashtags on Instagram for Printers?
Here’s the thing. Hashtags were originally created as a way to organize content on these platforms, but they quickly morphed into a discovery tool for users. What’s this means is that using certain hashtags can get your print company found more often by customers or partners easily. They’ll find you, engage with you and do more business with you.
You could easily promote products or services with hashtags such as #SignPrinting or #GraphicDesign as well as trending industry tags like #PrintEnvy or #PrintChat.
This same idea and tactic works on Twitter and to a degree Facebook as well.
Twitter will be better for peer to peer conversations while Instagram is best for the visual inspiration and uplifting commentary.
What Types of Social Posts Should Print Companies Share?
While this could be unlimited we’ve pulled a few ideas together that you’ll find work pretty well for you business.
The Product Highlight or Coming Soon
Showcase a printed piece or service. Pretty straightforward.
If something new is coming available tease people online with it and get theme interested to build buzz
Share Your Blog Posts
If you are a print company doing digital marketing then creating blog content is a must and if you are writing blog posts then you should be sharing them on social media. If your blog posts are good then these social posts will do well!
Share Industry News
Is there a new technology or piece of equipment customers should know about?
A new technique that is being used which customers would find valuable?
Is something trending that your customers could start doing?
This goes back to brand awareness, but posting content that shows who you or your people work well at connecting with customers personally
Have team member highlight posts
Show your internal office chili cook off
Attend a tradeshow or event? Show what happened and who you met.
Answer Your Customers Questions
We talked about this a little earlier as well, but answering questions from customers builds a lot of valuable visibility
Potential customers may ask questions about potential work to understand capability, costs or turnaround times
Existing customers may check in on orders or ask about capabilities as well
Answering these will be beneficial to them, but also to future visitors of your social profiles
Run A Poll
The fact is people just love polls. They see them and they take them.
What could a print shop run as a poll on social media? Favorite Color, Postcards vs Letters, etc.
Just make it fun!
Videos / Time-Lapse of Work
If your print company can do video then making any type of video content is great for social media
For print work a time lapse video is hypnotic, people can’t stop watching it
If you do any installation work that will engage and captivate EVERY time!
Testimonial Social Posts
This is kind of an old school recommendation but posting testimonials creates trust and proof to potential customers that you’re the real deal and can get the work done well.
Give Stuff Away
Everyone loves a giveaway!
You could literally give away things like gift cards or products like speakers or headphones
You could also do value add giveaways like 100 free brochures on orders of 1,000 or more
Holiday Social Posts
While these aren’t the highest performing they show people you’re present and staying engaged
It’s also a great way to share holiday promos
Or let people know your facility is closed on specific holidays as well
What Should Your Print Company Do Now on Social Media?
We covered a lot of stuff here in this article but our hope is that it sparked inspiration as well as laid a practical go to guide for you to start posting online, generating more traffic, leads and sales as well measuring how effectively you’re doing the work.
Now it’s time to just go do it!