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#UKvUSA – UK v USA: Do print buyers care about 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: Do print buyers care about social media?

There’s a simple answer to this question

It depends what you put out on social media.

Many buyers are very open to having a relationship with vendors and potential suppliers on social media. But there are many printing companies that blow this opportunity.

So here are four guidelines to creating social media that makes buyers respond. The first one is very simple:

Inspire me

Many buyers like to see a nice piece of print. All printing companies should be sharing pictures of their best jobs. Buyers like to see what else they could be doing. It helps us improve results for our companies. Buyers who like what you are doing will contact you.

This strategy works especially well with creative buyers. So what about the more business-minded buyers? These people respond well to case studies. Lots of marketing people would love some good case studies of how other companies have achieved real results from their print marketing. That brings me neatly on to my next guideline.

Educate me

Lots of buyers want to learn. Many need to learn about the technical side of print and especially design for print. They are delighted when printing companies share useful information on these topics. One printer says that the piece of social media that engaged people the most was a piece about the difference between PUR and perfect binding.

However, education doesn’t just have to be about the technical side. Tell me why I should be using print and how it works best in specific situations. As a buyer, I want to learn how to get the most out of my budgets. There is a lot of good content around on these topics. Printing companies should be sharing more of it.

Now let’s focus on being more personal.

Twitter is just one of the places you should rech out to buyers on social media

Twitter is just one of the places you should rech out to buyers on social media

Reach out to me

Social media is all about being social. It is about creating relationships. Any time anyone connects with me on LinkedIn I send them a message. Usually I hear nothing in return. This is a wasted opportunity. I am always ready to connect, message and speak with people whom I think may make a useful addition to my network. Many other people have the same point of view.

However, when you are reaching out to people make sure that you observe the fourth guideline.

Don’t sell to me

Nothing turns a buyer of quicker than a hard sell. Social media is all about engagement. I have made many connections on social media. I have been happy to take these relationships offline. This has led to many interesting phone calls.

Some of these calls have been nothing more than an interesting chat. I have been able to help other people. Some of the calls have led to business – because that need has arisen naturally on the call. However, I have always dis-engaged with the people who have tried to make the conversation about their sales pitch.

Buyers do care about social media

As long as it is the right type of social media.

How did Deborah tackle this question? See here. Look out for the next #UKvUSA battle next month.

P.S.  You can find out more ways to get the best out of your social media activity by downloading the free e-guide below.You’ll also be signed up to “Views from the buyer” where I share tips, stories and resources to do with selling print and social media.

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