Social media is the new Internet, are you prepared?
Access to the information highway has never been easier, anyone with a smartphone can quickly add their opinions online to a variety of social media platforms.
Here’s my TOP 5 Social Media sites for us, as printers:
Facebook – the social media giant remains atop the mountain, especially for adults. As the millenniums have favored other platforms, FB continues to attract the baby boomer generation.
Twitter – made for mobile, Twitter is the easiest to use and has a definitive second position. The doubling of the character count to 280 was a nice upgrade.
Instagram – the video/photo sharing platform launched in 2010 and has become immensely popular to the millenniums.
LinkedIn – the business/employment site is stable in the top social group. The ability to connect with “like-minded” business professionals has many advantages.
YouTube – the video platform has over 1 billion viewers a month!
How to effectively use social.
I believe that a top priority is to capture, create and occupy your business on all platforms, not just the top 5, all of them. Even if you do not use a social account, your business should still be in control of all its social presence.
Define your audience, understanding what social media your target audience is using will offer the best opportunity to be seen.
Create quality content and post regularly. Facebook allows scheduled posts, but Twitter and LinkedIn do not. I have folders/templates for creating content 2 weeks in advance. I take this data and copy/paste into our other social sites.
Always stay positive, promote your brand, services and products with upbeat information including photos and videos.
Respond to questions, reviews and feedback, without attacking or “trolling” anyone, in some timely manner, I believe responding within 36 hours, during your business hours, will suffice.
How to gain an audience.
Getting your messages seen, heard, liked and shared is important to your campaign. Here’s some tips on acquiring viewers.
Start with your family, friends and coworkers, ask them to follow your company page and share the data with their friends.
Search for your customers, starting with the most recent and then past customers.
Like, Follow and Share posts from campaigns you would like to do the same for you.
Create positive content about customers, if there is a story to tell, use it to help promote your client, they may reciprocate.
Paid content works for some, but not everyone, start with a small budget and monitor it for 6 to 8 weeks, tweaking the settings during the campaign. Measure the results and make a definitive decision if “Paid” is good for your business.
How to address being “Trolled”.
Bad PR will always find its way to social, here’s some ideas on how to minimize the damage.
Respond promptly, hiding from a mistake usually entices the “Trolls” to continue their attack.
Admit mistakes and show remorse, even if your company was not at fault, being transparent and remorseful will open people’s hearts faster.
Never be confrontational, that’s fuel to a fire and the “Trolls” will grow immensely and increase their fervor.
Offer remittance if possible, depending on the issue and other variables, refunds can go a long way to quieting the negativity.
Most social platforms offer notifications to help you stay atop of your activity. There are software programs designed specifically to manage numerous social campaigns through a single dashboard, Hootsuite is very popular.
Social is a moving target, we know it must be managed, it’s a part of your marketing effort. Having a dedicated person or department to manage your campaigns helps most printers improve. Consistency is important, so strive to stay active on the accounts you advertise.
One of the many things that Heritage Printing is known for is its magazines. With the CEO and owner, Joe Gass, having over thirty years of experience in the production of magazines, he has perfected the process: from the initial phone conversation, the proof, production, and delivery. Because of this experience and the guarantee to provide quality visual communication solutions, Heritage provides a piece of mind.
My interview with Joe provided great insight into his background and the magazine production process:
Bethany: What is your role in the magazine process?
Joe: “I’ve been consulting with clients about magazine printing for many years — probably about 30. I talk with them about what they are trying to achieve and go through the process of evaluating how they want to approach their markets and then I work up a quote for them.”
B: What should the client know when producing a magazine with Heritage?
J: “When they come to Heritage we are going to help them avoid land mines. We are going to be very clear and transparent about what is going on during the process and help them walk through some of the challenges they might have had with other companies in the past. Simply put, they will have a peace of mind. They will not have to worry about whether something was forgotten because we are constantly looking at all the different aspects. This is something that not every company does. Other companies might know about certain errors and not disclose them to the client until later when they can no longer make changes and perhaps disappointing the client.”
B: What is a popular order?
J: “Over the years we are finding that the quantities that people are wanting to produce are getting smaller. There seems to be a lot more magazines, but instead of tens of thousands of copies, it has gone down to thousands or hundreds — turning into micro-publishing. This is where Heritage thrives because we have the ability to come in and produce a quality piece that makes them unique and stand out against the competition. We can work with start-up publishers as well as ones that have been around a long time. We bring value either way.”
B: Can you explain the binding process?
J: We offer several ways to bind magazines, but two popular types are saddle stitched and perfect bind. It just depends on the page count and the type of the look you are going for. If you are doing something digitally, then we have the capability to do square stitch binding. Square stitch binding is cool because it allows the book to lay flat even if you have a lot of pages and it is not as pricey as perfect bind — we just stitch them in-line in the machine.
B: Why do you suggest Heritage for their magazine needs?
J: “Magazines are something that we are strategically capable of doing — we have the technology, both digital and offset, to be able to produce the finest award-winning quality all while doing it affordably. We also offer mailing services. Once their magazine is printed and they have mailing list subscribers, we can mail it out for them, so they do not have to worry about that aspect.”
B: What is your favorite magazine you have worked on?
J: “That’s a tough question. If I had to choose I would say the Heritage Printing monthly newsletter! It is an amazing piece with a lot of great tidbits about print, our clients, and products we use. It is truly fantastic.”
As you can tell from this interview, Joe is passionate about Heritage Printing and its clients. If you have any questions or concerns, Joe, or any of the Heritage staff, are more than happy to walk you through the printing process — to provide reassurance and peace with superior customer support.
As the world turns, so does Google and its algorithm of measuring (which directly impacts all of us). It was no surprise when the big G recently began sending responses to reviews back to the reviewer. For now, when you say thank you or make any comment to a review posted on your Google My Business listing, Google emails your comment to your customer.
Why is this important? I believe that it is, because it sends a message that you care about your customer. The big trend G has pushed is E.A.T. expertise, authoritativeness, trust. By responding, you indicate a measure of E.A.T. about your product, service and customers.
How to respond to reviews
Timing is important, so monitor your review activity and respond within 36 hours when possible, weekends and holidays excluded of course. A timely reply indicates you are aware of your client and tells Google that too. My average response time, during business hours, is 1 hour or less, after hours is 12 to 14 hours or less. My goal is to respond as quick as possible, I want to stay in front of our customer as long as possible, especially in a positive environment.
Responding to Reviews
The tone of your response is critical. I try to stay positive, with a short comment declaring our appreciation for their business. I never advise a confrontational comment. Engaging in a dramatic, online argument never provides any benefit for your business.
Responding to Reviews
Mention the reviewer by name in your reply. Everyone likes to hear their name in a positive manner, whether it be in person or online. Personalization has been a staple for print marketing, we call it variable data!
Be original, write a unique reply every time. Copy/Paste the same reply multiple times will be seen by Google, reviewers and potential customers, it diminishes the value of the message when you repeatedly send the same response.
4 Star reviews are not a bad thing, some individuals believe perfection is impossible, therefore their absolute best review will be a 4 star. I address these reviewers with a polite email asking what we could have done better to receive the additional star. If the customer is responding, we try to incorporate their suggestion, then I’ll email them back, asking if it’s possible to have the review improved to a 5 star.
I never ask twice, too many attempts to rectify only irritates, so once is enough. If your interaction with this individual is less than perfect, then let it go, he/she will not change their mind and you can only damage the relationship.
Responding to Reviews
Google has made review replies more interactive, I’m embracing this change and modifying our review system, I believe this is a true benefit, let’s take advantage of it.