Question Three - Social Media: A Virtual Storefront

Ten print shops weigh-in on utilizing social media to market their businesses.

Big Picture

To see how social media works for those of us in the wide-format industry, we talked to 10 print shops who, through trial and error, have found a way to make their mark in the world of online marketing.

Each day over the next week and a half, The Big Picture will post a new, critical question centered around the use of social media in the world of wide-format with invaluable answers from our panel.

Our Social-Media Panelists
Ryan Broderson, Director of marketing and customer relations, SuperGraphics,
Kaitlyn Burns, Britten Inc., Marketing special project coordinator,
Blake Castestter, Account executive, Advertising Vehicles,
Randy Clark, Director of communications, TKO Graphix,
Dolph Frederico, Owner, Pelican USA,
Damon Henrichs, Sales and marketing manager, ABI Digital Solutions,
Jill Rowen, Sales and marketing coordinator, Apple Visual Graphics,
Darin Smith, Director of strategic planning, Printscape,
Sean Tomlin, Owner, Designer Wraps,

Have you seen enough return on investment from your social media efforts? Or, have you struggled to see ROI? Basically, do you think your time spent on online marketing/social media is time well spent?

I recently heard someone say that asking the ROI of social media is like asking the ROI of your phone. It’s hard to measure, but you know you need it. Companies that don’t utilize social media will be left behind in their marketing efforts.

Henrichs: ROI in social media is pretty tough to track. Clients rarely call and say, “Hey, I found you on Facebook.” It’s also hard to quantify the “I” of ROI since there is not a full-time employee doing it. I don’t see social media as a lead generator; I see it as more of a tool to help strengthen our website traffic. Our website has gone from generating zero leads per year to generating nearly one lead per day.

Burns: Not necessarily profit-wise, but it has been a good source of lead generation. We’re able to showcase and highlight pictures of work we did for a client, while also “tagging” them. It shows that we’re proud of the work we did for them – and most of the times we get a great compliment right back.

Blake Castetter, Advertising Vehicles: Since there isn’t a monetary investment on our part, we feel we see a great ROI. Our efforts online are consistently increasing the number of friends and followers we have, all of which are coming in contact with our brand and our work on a regular basis.

Rowen: Now that Google is using “likes,” followers, and overall activity on social media as part of the SEO algorithm, social media helps your company’s organic search results – and that kind of impact on ROI is almost immeasurable.

Dolph Frederico, Pelican USA: We’ve spent about $20,000 on websites and pay-per-click ads on search engines – very little ROI there. On a free social-media page, however, we’re able to see immediate response. You get real-time feedback and people ask things like, “I saw you just wrapped a van for so and so. How much to wrap my truck?” Boom. Customers see the project, consider the project for their use, and communicate with you all in about 30 seconds.

Smith: We’ve been testing different methods of posting specials to see how quickly we receive comments, e-mails, or phone calls. It’s refreshing to see that we typically receive an inquiry within minutes of that post.

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