Before a recent social media workshop for owners and executives in the
printing industry I sent out three pre-workshop questions each
participant had to ponder and try to answer before the session started:
How does social media fit into your current marketing plan (if there
is one)? If there isn’t a plan, what would you like to get out of
What is going to be said, by whom, using which channels and why?
Could social media management be a service you could use to help your customers? If not, why not? If so, how?
The answers I got back were expected and it helped me develop the
content for the workshop. Here is an example of one of the responses:
don’t know that I am able to answer these questions. I want to know:
What social networking is
How a business [printer] can use it to his benefit
The step by step process to establish our social network.
that juncture I expect I would be more prepared to answer the
questions. I can tell you that we have a marketing plan; however,
social media marketing is not part of it. What I want from social media
marketing, like my overall marketing effort, is to develop more
What follows is an abbreviated Social Media
Survivors Guide you can use to help begin your journey in navigating
the challenges and opportunities around social media.
It? Social networking addresses the human need to
interact. Social media are methods and channels to interact with other
humans as part of a person’s network. Social networking isn’t new. The
ways in which it can get done: blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
and many more are very new to most. According to Wikipedia, social networking transforms
broadcast media monologues into social media dialogues.
We Do Anything? There is a video on the web worth watching as part of
your survival training. The Did You Know? video is currently in its
fourth version and describes global changes in the world, new
technologies, convergence and the way people behave. The video asks us
if we’re ready for the changes and I believe that sets up one of the
most important success behaviors in social networking and
business—having a plan. Developing a strategic approach to the
opportunity is better than haphazard tactical attempts. An even more
relevant reason to work on your strategy about how to deal with the
changes is because most of your customers are trying to figure this out
too, why not work on it together? Where
Does Social Media Fit In? I’m not trying to overwhelm you with videos,
but they are an effective medium along with print and there’s one you
don’t want to miss. Eric Qualman wrote Socialnomics, a brand new book
on social media. Eric developed a video that takes many of the social
media statistics and puts them in an engaging presentation on how we
are totally changing the way we communicate. The beginning of the video
asks “Is Social Media a Fad?” By the end you will see that some form of social
networking with new media tools will continue to grow in use and
Can a Business (Printer) Do About This? No one likes the first part but
it’s a good first step. Think strategically about what you could do.
Where are you, where do you want to be? Where is your current customer
and where are they going? And what about the customers you don’t
have…where are they going and can you meet them ahead of time or help
them get where they are going? It’s how you can win new business from
existing customers and new customers by identifying what they want and
having a process in place to deliver on it. That’s marketing.
second part to the question is a tactical one. It’s got a 4 part answer
according to Qualman and it works because I do something similar and
help others do the same:
Listening: Choose a social media channel and set up an account. Find out who is
saying what to whom and perhaps why. Following your customers,
customer’s customers, vendors, partners and competition can increase
your knowledge—and suck up a lot of time if you don’t watch it.
Interacting: Participating in conversations, sharing ideas,
asking questions, answering questions, exploring what can be done and
said are all part of this step.
Reacting: Make changes to
your social media approach, your business, your services, your customer
service…your whole mission can happen here. FedEx listens actively on
Twitter and follows up in minutes if someone Tweets about a bad FedEx
Selling: The first three steps will help you
identify what a business wants. Keiger Printing in Winston-Salem, NC uses Facebook, LinkedIn,
RSS, Delicious, Digg and more to show their customers they are
listening and creating dialogs about how they’ve helped their customers
beyond cost savings alone. They use case study content on their social
media channels to show what can be done. They can even ask for business
from some of those who follow them.
When you leverage social media so people find you, listen to you, and ask you if
you can do business with them—that’s a great indirect sales approach.
There’s less selling and more helping. You have the opportunity to get
paid for that help.
Four popular social media technologies for
you to investigate should include a blog (for writing complete thoughts
about trends, happenings, thoughts, challenges and more), LinkedIn (for
posting information about yourself and your business and network with
others who may be looking to find people like you or about topics you
may know about), Facebook (to interact with people personally and/or
professionally and create communities that are interested in common
goals or ideas) and Twitter (to share a quick thought or idea about who
you are, what you think, what you want others to know, what you can do
to help and follow how others are doing the same in their own way). How
you use these tools can help you find out things, get found and
identify new opportunities to grow your business in a new way. Once
you’ve started the journey you have experiences you can share. You
could even set up services to help others do the same in their business.
Share what you learn along the way in some new media…that’s what being social is all about.