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Social Media: Why Make the Journey?

(July 2011) posted on Mon Jun 27, 2011

How social media can benefit your print shop.

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By Julie Shaffer and Mary Garnett

“Growing the network” refers to increasing the number of people who are in your sphere of influence in your vertical market. In thinking of the traditional concept of the “sales funnel,” growing the network would be increasing the number of people who could or would not enter the funnel (and ultimately, it is hoped, increasing those that emerge on the other side as customers).

Search engines are the new Yellow Pages and the current way to be “found” by prospective clients. Most people who are searching for a new vendor or supplier of a service will query keywords or phrases on Internet search engines such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo. A March 2010 Nielsen study comparing US search rankings shows Google and Yahoo searches account for 79 percent of all searches, while a Yellow Pages search is at a mere 0.2 percent. In an effort to combat these kind of stats, the Yellow Pages Association initiated a study in 2009 and found that 65 percent of those queried reference Yellow Pages (print and Internet) first for a local search (compared to 58 percent citing a search engine). Search engine optimization, or SEO, refers to undertaking actions and activities to secure a first-page listing when keywords related to the company are entered into the search engine.

There are numerous examples of businesses that build brand awareness with social media, but wine-shop owner Gary Vaynerchuk is one example worth reading about because he both built a brand and increased his sales through social methods. He is an incredible example of going into a field with many, many other wine distributors – with big names and huge budgets – and he made it!

Vaynerchuk worked to build a persona as a wine expert using social media tools such as a blog, Twitter feeds, and YouTube, as well as webcasts on topics of wine, wine tasting, recommendations, etc. He also did his homework and created a wine library, capitalizing on years of working in the business; in other words: he knows his “stuff,” everything about the content – wine. Next was the creation of an online sales capability through his one-stop shop on the internet.