Written by Katherine Tattersfield
Online Marketing Director, PrintFirm.com

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Photo Courtesy of PrintFirm.com

Let me start off by saying that I am not a printer, I am a digital marketer who happens to work for a commercial printing company. I spend my days blogging, tweeting, and pinning. And I absolutely love my job. That’s right, I love doing all the things you may consider a waste of time. You can dismiss me as a byproduct of the misguided millennial generation, but please hear me out. I think you’re missing out on a lot of amazing opportunities to get leads, boost sales, and position your brand for long term success. No, I’m not trying to sell you on my marketing services (I don’t do freelance work). I’m trying to sell you on yourself. I think your company has a lot to offer; I would love for you to teach me about the technical and creative aspects of the printing business. But since I work for a perceived competitor, you won’t follow me back on Twitter or like my status updates. At first I felt hurt by your protective stance. Then I realized that you’re shunning me because you don’t really believe in yourself.

You’re afraid that if you retweet my blog post it will detract from your own articles. You won’t pin my designs because your creative team can’t take credit for them. You refuse to connect with fellow print professionals on LinkedIn because you think they’re out to steal your ideas. What you don’t realize is that by fiercely safeguarding your online presence, you’re constricting your own growth.

I’m not asking you to connect with every single printer you run into. You can afford to be careful about your online associations. You may have to step outside your comfort zone at first, but soon you’ll discover a new-found sense of confidence from networking in the social sphere.

6 Reasons to Engage With Other Print Providers Online
If you still don’t see the value in interacting with your peers through social media, let me spell out what’s in it for you:

1. Exposure: In online marketing, we refer to eyeballs on your content as impressions. Research suggests that consumers have to interact with your brand 4 times before making a purchase. When you engage with your peers online, you are increasing your impressions, which may ultimately bring in new business.

2. Credibility: Consumers consider online content less credible than print media. This counts double if you spend all of your time online talking about yourself. Building a friendly repartee with your printing peers shows your brand’s personality, which makes consumers more receptive to your marketing messages

3. Inspiration: Believe it or not, you don’t have a monopoly on good ideas. Your peers are posting tons of interesting articles and amazing artwork that might ignite your imagination or improve your workflow. And when you’re finished with a project they inspired, they will love to hear how they influenced you!

4. Referrals: This is a big one for commercial printers. From time to time, my company gets customer requests for niche products and services that we can’t fulfill. We don’t want to send our clients away empty handed, though. If you offer something we don’t, we’ll gladly refer our client to you. But not unless we feel confident in recommending you!

5. SEO: If you manage a company blog, then you’re probably trying your hand at content marketing. But great content only goes so far without backlinks. Fortunately, social media lets you meet other writers with similar websites, who may want you to share your expertise as a guest author.

6. Thought Leadership: You’ve probably heard this term on LinkedIn to describe an individual or a company with innovative ideas. Thought leadership is about educating people and implementing solutions, so it’s an inherently social role. You can be one of the acclaimed, but you have to start by helping others.

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Katherine is a professional copywriter and social media manager at PrintFirm.com. She fell into online marketing in 2010, and built her career around this dynamic field. She earned her B.A. in Political Science from California State University, Northridge (Summa). When she’s not writing, Katherine enjoys photography, skateboarding, graphic design, and chasing her dog around with her husband. Connect with her on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Plus.