Social Media for Printers

By on February 4th, 2013

Social Media is huge right now. HUGE. If you keep up with this blog, then you’ve likely already caught a few posts about social media. But here is one more; one that is specifically focused on printers and how they are using social media to achieve their business goals and communicate with customers.

I recently read a 2011 InfoTrends study on social media usage in the printing industry and was surprised to learn some of the findings. As of 2011, about 1/3 of print business had adopted social media and used it in their day-to-day business operations. I was at first surprised by how low the percentage was, but considering data was likely gathered for this study at the end of 2010, I would imagine the usage rate is significantly higher by now. What it also interesting is that print providing companies that were smaller in nature had the highest rate of social media adoption, while larger companies were less likely to engage in social networks. The most common networking platforms used are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and company blogs.

According to InfoTrends, the top business goals driving social media usage for printers are to engage with customers, promote their brand and generate leads. While technology is still advancing in terms of measuring the ROI on social media marketing, most respondent indicate that social networking is positive for their business and brand image. With that being said, social media is still a marketing initiative that should be approached in a strategic manner with well defined objectives and an operating plan.

One point that I want to get across here is that print providers who have not yet adopted social media usage, should seriously consider doing so. Not only is it a great way to engage with customers in a convenient and free manner, but it can be a great way to demonstrate expertise in communication. Print providers and marketing services providers attract B2B customers because of their ability to communicate with end users and effectively communicate a message that will move someone to purchase. Being able to do that in the online world signals to potential customers that a print/marketing services provider can do the same with a printed piece. Demonstrating expertise in both online and printed communications could provide the opportunities to manage both for customers. Not too bad of business proposition, eh?

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6 Responses to “Social Media for Printers”

  1. Tim Says:

    I agree with you and that we need to engage socially. We are on FB, LinkedIn, Twitter.
    I find it funny (interesting?) that when we post subjects on Marketing, Links to stories, and helpful Tips and Tricks for Photoshop users, we get less “Likes” and comments than when we post a picture of a coffee cup next to a stack of paper.

  2. Nicole Schappert Says:

    Tim – that is an interesting point, and something I’ve seen on our own B2B Facebook pages. I think it highlights the issue that posts that are “graphic” in nature – things like images and videos – garner more attention on Facebook while links to articles, stories, tips, press releases, and other websites translate better on Twitter. Not sure why this is the case… but I agree with your observation.

  3. Jim David Says:

    Good insight Nicole. After 10 years in printing I’ve launched a business that manages Social Media for many clients, including printers. Your point about printers being knowledgable about Social Media is very valid. Print customers want a vendor that understands all the communication methods available and how print best fits.

  4. Paul Sherfield Says:

    Could not agree with you more. Since using Twitter to direct people to new blogs on my, very specialised, web site, hits have gone from around 150 a month toover 400.

  5. David Pilcher Says:

    I agree with Tim. The most likes we get and engagement we see is for things more entertaining than informative.

  6. Nicole Schappert Says:

    Another idea to consider is to use your social media pages to direct customers to your company owned pages. We do this for a resources page we host specifically for printers. What is great is that we ask printers to register in order to access the resources (white papers, webinars, etc.). That way we can qualify them as leads and reach out to them specifically. Social Media is a HUGE part in driving traffic to the site, which essentially means that our social media sites help us develop leads.

    Paul – It’s great to hear your specific success with driving users to your blog via social media! It makes me think… “If you build it – and tweet it – they will come.”