Question Four - Social Media: A Virtual Storefront

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

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, 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,

What sites work best for you? Worst? Why?

Tomlin: Facebook is by far the best social-media site to date simply because everyone is on it. And, as we all know, the more eyes on your product or service, the better chance you have at turning those eyes into buys. I’ve found that Twitter and LinkedIn are great for connecting with others in our field, but I can’t say we’ve actually gotten direct business from them.

Henrichs: Twitter works for us in that we have a lot of followers, though I have doubts about the quality of those followers. Most people will follow you back if you follow them, so that’s easy to grow. We have fewer Facebook followers, but these are definitely people who have sought us out and actually pay attention to what we post.

Burns: Because we’re a visual company, we like sites that we can show as many photos as possible. Also, Constant Contact [e-mail marketing software] has been a great way to continually feed our clients directly via e-mail.

Rowen: Twitter absolutely works best for us. The Twitter apps available make using Twitter effectively super easy. We can schedule Tweets, monitor our click rate, re-Tweets, and follow industry conversations with the click of a button. LinkedIn, however, is the hardest to use and being an active part of a community on LinkedIn requires more time and conversation monitoring than we necessarily want to spend.

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

Tomorrow we ask our panel: At your company, who is permitted to use your company’s social-media sites – do all of your employees have the password or access to posting? If not, who does?

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