The Best Way to Engage Prospects on Social Media?

How does a printing company stop a prospective customer dead in their tracks on social media?

Sadly, the answer is often to talk about printing. Today’s print buyers often know little about print. They are rarely interested in the processes.
However, many printing companies tend to bombard their connections with technical print information and pictures of their equipment. Worse still, many companies also spend a lot of time talking about their cheap prices.

What’s the best way to connect with prospects on social media?

The easiest way is to know your audience and understand what is of real interest to them. To achieve this successfully it is best to focus on certain target audiences. Trying to be all things to everyone is hard on social media (as it is in all sales activities).social
So pick one or two target audiences and focus on trends and information that are of value to them. For instance, you may be trying to attract medium-sized agencies. Some of the things that I have typically found of interest to these organisations include:

  • Communication trends (and why print is still an important part of the mix)
  • Marketing case studies
  • Ways to present to clients
  • Ideas for new products

This sounds great in theory but how do we manage it in practice?

What’s the best way to find the right information to share?

Here are six ways to provide the right content to your social media connections:

  • Share statistics

These days it is not hard to find relevant statistics for your audience. The rise of infographics has hugely increased the number of statistics! A quick statistic makes an ideal tweet or LinkedIn status update. It can also be the inspiration for a blog piece (see below).

  • Share other people’s content

It is fine to share interesting content by other people. Make sure that you credit them and provide a link back to the original source. In a longer post, you would ideally write a few lines about the original piece and why you find it interesting. If you do this, people will be delighted that you have spread the word about their content. In turn, your social media stream will become known as a great source of relevant and interesting content for your target audiences.

  • Share Xerox content

If you are a Xerox customer using their production printing technology, you have free access to the Business Development program. This includes a library of content, including sample social media posts.

  • Create case studies

One of the most compelling pieces of social media content is a good case study. It is good practice to write up successful projects that you have carried out for clients. These should focus on the results you helped a client gain for their business. Here is a useful article about case studies.

  • Start your own blog

Prospects like to see original content. With this in mind it is worth thinking about starting your own blog. If you decide to go down this route, plan for the future. The world is full of blogs that were started enthusiastically but didn’t last very long! Set up an editorial timetable for the first few months. Also, make sure that you are confident about writing this sort of content and can set aside the necessary time to do this.out

  • Outsource content

Another option is to leave the content creation to a third party. Ideally, you will find someone with a knowledge of our industry. However, they should also be able to demonstrate a knowledge of how to write blog pieces – it is not as simple as it seems!

Where do you go from here?

Here are three action points to get you going:

  1. Decide what type of potential customer you are going to focus on
  2. Find four relevant pieces of information or articles
  3. Share them through your social media streams

You have now started sharing content that will encourage prospects to engage with you. But what do you do when you start getting engagement? We’ll cover this in the next article.
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a larger series on how social media can help drive sales for your print business:

PS If you’d like more information on how to use social media effectively to sell printing services, download my free e-guide “Ten Social Media Rules For Print Sales People”. You’ll also receive my regular “Views from the print buyer” bulletin, full of ideas on how to use social media and sell print effectively.

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