The seventh myth of print sales: social media is bad news for print

Posted by Matthew Parker

Have you noticed how print has always been under threat? First it was radio. Then it was television. After that, the Internet came along. Now it’s social media that is threatening to put an end to print.

Despite these continuous threats, print has always survived. It continues to be a very effective channel for communicating with people.

Will social media bring an end to this? Will it be the change that kills off print? I believe the reverse is true.

Social media offers the print industry some fantastic opportunities

Print companies can do well in a world of social media

Print companies can do well in a world of social media

Print companies that see social media as an opportunity will be able to build more involved relationships with their customers. They will have a new channel with which to talk to prospects. This means they will be able to control their sales pipeline better. They will do this because they will be able to achieve more for their customers.

Print companies that see social media as a threat will not be able to achieve the same results for customers. They will also miss out on new opportunities to engage with customers and prospects. They will end up seeing many of their customers leaving as they search for more innovative suppliers. The ones that stay will only be interested in buying on price.

These may seem big claims to make. So let’s look at some of the supporting evidence. Here are three reasons why social media is a great opportunity for the print industry.

Social media is a great sales channel

I now get a large amount of work from social media. It is not unusual for me to get clients I do not know ringing me up. And, despite the fact that we have has no dialogue in person, they are ready to buy. This is because they have been engaging with my social media presence.

Done correctly, social media can be a very powerful extra sales channel. However, the majority of printers do not use social media. Many of those that do, used it in what I call a full selling mode. This activity actually encourages commodity buying.  But the printers who use social media well are attracting worthwhile new clients.

However, social media offers more spent just a new selling channel for printers.

Print integrates with social media

It is now easy and cost-effective to create printed pieces that integrate directly in social media channels. The use of QR codes and intelligent print recognition meaning that it is easy for users to scan printed pieces with mobile devices. Users can be directly connected with social media channels and with special offers.

Print can actually drive social media activity for its clients. Better still, this activity allows a print project to prove its return on investment.

Some people question the value of this. Social media can seem a very crowded arena. That print has the answer to this issue as well.

Print stands out

These days, print is sometimes seen as an unusual method of communication. Therefore, it makes more of an impression on the prospect. I am connected to thousands of people through social media. With the best will in the world, it is impossible to keep up with all of them.

In contrast, I do not receive thousands of printed pieces through my letterbox. Printed marketing stays in my mind for longer. There are numerous case studies of how print has outperformed e-communication in response levels.

Some print companies still feel that social media has no opportunity for them.

Printers should stick to what they know

With the right sales strategy, print companies can provide so much more than just ink on paper. Print companies can evolve into trusted communications advisers for their clients.

That gives them an excellent opportunity to sell new services.

Let’s look as a real-life example of how social media created new sales opportunities

One printer I know has worked hard with a major football club. They have used a mix of social media and print to communicate with their customers. Part of the offering was to create pictures of football and the club. These were personalised with subscribers’ names.

This campaign resulted in season-ticket sales increasing substantially. The club also saw more engagement from its members as a result of the campaign.

The printer did pretty well also. Not only did they make a good sale with the integrated campaign, but they also increased the amount of print they produced. This was because they were producing more personalised pictures for individual subscribers.

If you are not already embracing social media, you should start work on this now.

Here are three social media action points

  1. Review your personal social media presence. Make sure that you are present and active at least on Twitter and LinkedIn.
  2. Review your company social media presence. Is it publishing interesting content on a regular basis?
  3. Start researching integrated offerings. It’s time to develop the sort of services for your clients.

Those who say that social media is killing print are wrong

Social media is giving print new life.

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5 Responses to The seventh myth of print sales: social media is bad news for print

  • A great article that I wholeheartedly agree with! Social media exists to help printers, to make their presence known and to help build relationships with clients. It also is a great way to share content – blogs, recorded webinars, etc. – and to make printers thought leaders in their industry.

  • Mario Lima says:

    Great blog series! This blog in particular was the most relevant to me as the newly appointed Director of Social Media of my company. But I’ve forwarded the series to all the people in my sales department – definitely worth their time to read!

    Thanks for providing great content for us to absorb and learn from!

    • Matthew Parker says:

      Thanks Mario – I’m delighted you found it useful. There will be a round up post next week.

      Matthew

  • Very well written. We tend to view anything new as a fad and with a certain degree of suspicion which prevents us from being open to the benefits. Printers are as it is reeling from being told print is under threat from Radio, internet, now offset is under threat from digital, etc. Add to that the threat from social media which makes printers wonder where is the next threat coming from? This article nicely explains how you can leverage social media to help increase your business. Social Media can surely benefit provided one knows how to use. A must read for printers.

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