Blending social media and print campaigns is something that companies are increasingly needing to learn how to do successfully to stay current with the times. Big media has caught on with live tweeting during TV shows and multiple hashtags being shown on episodes of the reality TV show Survivor to encourage interaction and opinion sharing with viewers. The same approach needs to be taken with print marketing to blend the worlds of print media and social networks together seamlessly.
Let’s explore how the social media world and print marketing can work congruently and successfully together for brand building and increased brand interaction.
When Print Comes Before Social
There are times when a customer will receive some print media before they ever consider jumping on their favorite social media channels. Perhaps they visited a booth at a trade convention and picked up print media that way, they heard about the company through a friend and requested a product brochure through the mail, or downloaded it online from your web site.
The assumption is that in this interconnected world we all now live in, social media comes before everything, but that’s simply not always the case. The reason is: It depends. Once the print media is in their hands, it’s important to encourage the customer to visit the social media channels that they prefer and interact more with the brand, sending a message on FB, posting an encouraging tweet directed at the company’s Twitter account, etc. When hearing from people directly, it’s often the best way to learn what the company is doing right and what the company is doing wrong which allows for quick adjustments.
Consistency Matters More Than Volume Posting
With social media interaction, the thinking is that more is better. More frequent posts on Facebook increase interaction, so goes the thinking. Tweet 15 times a day to boost the level of response. What is often discovered over time though, is that the consistency and the quality of the social media posts and replies/re-tweets tends to matter more.
Being consistent means posting on Facebook on a regular basis, in a somewhat predictable fashion and not sporadically with ineffective content. People want to be entertained, enlightened or just surprised by social media. A channel that’s always serious loses some of the people who are searching for the personality behind the company, or their company ‘voice’.
Keeping the Company ‘Voice’ The Same Throughout
We all have different voices in varied situations. Sometimes we’re serious, other times we’re playful. It’s important to find a balance for that and not go too far in online communications as even a deleted tweet will have been captured, re-tweeted and distributed far and wide. The posted tweet just never goes away fully. By offering a voice that people recognize in all company communications, from social media to print media and on the web site too, customers appreciate the consistency.
With greater consistency, the level of trust established between the brand and its customers only increases. Even when someone posts a complaint on a social channel, as long as the company handles it professionally and well, generally customers will be forgiving; we all make mistakes after all.
Social interactions matched with meaningful marketing materials provides good balance and enables you to use each channel of communication in different ways. A custom business envelope can say more than a 500-word Facebook post, or a tweet, ever could. Online print shops (like Company Folders) offer foil stamping and embossing to ensure that you achieve both the look and feel that can bring attention to your social media profiles.
Showcase Your Print Media Online for Higher Open Rates
Facebook has a clever feature that allows you to target Facebook ads to people on your direct mailing list. By using a Facebook advertisement to reach the people on the list who will receive direct mail within a given time frame, you can show the way the mailing looks on their computing device before they receive it.
By getting their attention, you plant a seed in their mind and just like recognizing a company logo once having seen it before, when the Facebook ad looks like the print media, it’s more likely to be opened and consumed quickly. Doing both is also a neat way to connect social accounts to physical mail in ways most companies fail to consider trying to do or are not aware that it’s even possible.
Have an Email List? Do They Use Social Media?
Every company should be working their email list to build it up and interact with their customers and prospective customers. Notify subscribers about a new product release, an updated version or a new blog post with important information about a product recall. Either way, staying in touch via email is important because unlike with social media accounts, the company has control over the email mailing list in a way that they never will via social media.
Using the email list to promote the social channels that the company uses is a great way to interact on a different level. The one-on-one and group communication methods used on social media are very different to the one directional email newsletter. Promoting social accounts prominently helps to encourage subscribers to get on board with their social usage. When they like what you have to say in your emails and the linked articles from your web site, they’re more likely to want a closer connection to interact when necessary or when they prefer it.
Choosing Social Platforms Wisely
For huge conglomerates, interacting across every major social media channel makes sense using the maxim: Be where the customers are. For smaller businesses, the situation is different because there are so many useful social media channels now and not enough time to use all of them. What is helpful for SMEs is that not every social channel is suitable for their business or the type of communication they wish to have with their audience. It also won’t be possible to match their company’s voice with every channel as some, like Instagram, won’t necessarily be suitable at all for serious business customers.
Don’t Hide Your Social Contact Info in Print Marketing
One of the mistakes that companies make is not ensuring their social media details are visible across all print marketing materials. It gets kind of forgotten or is barely a footnote, perhaps with the assumption that everyone is already obviously signed up.
For companies in a position to do so, offering an incentive to sign up to a social channel and supplying proof of it is a good way to encourage interaction. A coupon with a discount on their next purpose or exclusive early bird access to a forthcoming product launch are two ways to increase the number of people who read a mailing and jump on the social accounts.
Remembering to integrate social media and print marketing might seem like an obvious point, but often the people who create the print marketing are not the same ones who manage the social media accounts. A meeting of minds must happen to cross-pollinate the sign ups across print and digital successfully.
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