#UKvUSA: How can you connect with print buyers on social media?

Two continents: US and UK. Two different buying backgrounds: procurement and agency. Two alternative ways of looking at things. I’m delighted to have teamed up with Deborah Corn from PrintMediaCentr to bring two extremely different views to some important print questions. So welcom e to Print Buying: #UKvUSA where Deborah and I share information about our experiences from both sides of the pond.

At the end of this post I have linked to Deborah’s answer to the same question. We wrote our answers (each limited to 500 words) without any idea of what the other was writing. As Deborah says: “Maybe we will agree, maybe we won’t, maybe we don’t even see the question in the same way – who knows… that’s the fun part!”

Please do leave comments, thoughts and support at the bottom of this post and on Deborah’s post.   It would be great if also posted your thoughts on Twitter, using the hashtag #UKvUSA Remember to watch out for our answers to another question next month.

#UKvUSA: How can you connect with print buyers on social media?

UKVUSA_newsletter2Here’s how many print sales people stop me from engaging with them on social media

Lots of printing companies invite me to connect on social media. Strangely, when I accept I often hear nothing more from them. But, of those that continue the dialogue, most act in the same way.

They send me a sales pitch

Social media is about being social. It’s about creating a dialogue between connections.

If I accept your invitation to connect on social media I have not given you permission to sell to me. Nor have I given you permission to add me to your e-mail or newsletter list.

So what’s the alternative?

Social media is actually a great way to connect and engage with print buyers. Some of these connections may lead to business. Others may lead to useful information, inspiration and even friendship.

Here are three steps to connecting and engaging successfully with print buyers.

1) Ask people to connect

There’s no need to be shy on social media. Reach out to buyers. Ask them to connect with you.

However, you should always give people a reason to connect with you. Send them a personal message saying why you want to connect with them. Whatever you do, don’t rely on the automatic invitation messages created by social media connections.

Remember that making the connection is only the start of a successful social media relationship.

2) Be a useful resource

I often never hear from people when I accept their invitation to connect on social media. I find this very strange. If you have taken the time and trouble to connect with me then you should want to develop this relationship.

I always send a personal message when I have connected with someone. But I also make sure they can access lots of useful information on my social media streams. These days automation allows the regular scheduling of useful information across your social media channels.

This is your chance to inspire print buyers. Feature the best pieces of print, great case studies and reasons for people to use print. Share research, stories, photos and video. Remember, the information doesn’t have to be yours: most people will appreciate you sharing their articles and information. But it helps if you do feature some ways in which you and your company have helped clients.

It’s also worth remembering that the best connections develop outside of social media.

3) Move the connection offline

I try and move my social media relationships into the real world. Providing good information encourages engagement from connections. When this happens, many are happy to have a quick call so that we can get to know each other better. Alternatively, there are often opportunities to meet up, especially if we are both attending the same event.

Remember, social media is not about making sales pitches

Social media is about creating relationships. That’s the best way to connect with print buyers.

How did Deborah tackle this question? See here. Look out for the next #UKvUSA battle next month: Your printer has a new press: so what?

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Here’s an action point if you want to succeed at social media

Check out our free pdf-guide “How To Use Social Media To Create Warm Prospects” – you can download it below. You’ll soon have a practical strategy for social media.

Download your free copy of “10 Social Media Rules For Print Sales People” right now

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