People’s increasing inability to disconnect from the online world is often connected to “FOMO” or “fear of missing out,” which is also a great way to describe small business owners’ own dread of not using social media effectively to promote their work. While there are a multitude of social media marketing strategies, for printers and creative agencies, getting the most out of their posts comes down to nailing down half a dozen key principles.
Who you are trying to reach will determine everything else you do. If you’re trying to drum up graphic business or printing business in your city, you should already have a pretty good idea of who your ideal customers are, including age range, industries, and even who some of them might be. (Even if you’re thinking nationally, the same point applies.) Since as a small business you don’t have time to craft unique messages for all of today’s most popular social platforms, you will want to focus on the one or two most used by the people you’re trying to reach. Here’s the current breakdown among U.S. adults:
- Facebook: 69%
- Instagram: 37%
- Pinterest: 28%
- LinkedIn: 27%
- Snapchat: 24%
- Twitter: 22%
Keep in mind that as a graphic small business, your audience will most likely be other businesses. So while this list notes the top social media channels, whether a channel is relevant to you will also determine whether you should focus on it. For example, while Snapchat is a great tool, it’s more widely used among millennials, so not necessarily ideal for every business. LinkedIn, while the top business social site, is not as imagery-oriented as Instagram, which might be a better space to share cool new designs. Consider your target audience before committing to a platform.
You can find more detailed demographic data here
One key aspect of social media for small businesses is generating and converting leads into sales. Yet even many Fortune 500 companies have yet to work out a formula for doing this consistently. Social media posts can certainly lead to more work, but you will also want to focus on more realistic goals, including:
- Increasing branding and awareness. Growing your social following will help as the more followers you have, the more people will see the services you offer.
- Driving traffic to your website. Just be sure you’re sending them to a page that will knock their socks off visually. Which leads us to…
Your social media posts, like your website, should show off your best work – potential clients want to know you can make them look amazing. Rather than sharing images of the snoozy annual report you’re designing or printing at the moment, post photos or video of that passion project you spent months crafting, or the results of that one time a client gave you a decent budget and free rein to be creative. Here are three great examples:
Also give potential clients a feel for your company culture – treat them to “behind the scenes” peeks at your business with photos and video.
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Having great projects to feature is only half the battle – you must also make them look great on social media. That means:
- Image sizes. Each social media platform has its own preferred dimensions; size your photos accordingly. (Note: These often change – consult sites like this one to ensure you’re using the current specs).
- Close-up photos rule. A whopping 79% of social media visits happen on mobile devices so make sure people can easily see your work at that reduced size.
- Use video when possible. The algorithms used by platforms like Facebook favor displaying video content to their audience over photos. Tip: Instagram, notorious for not allowing clickable links in its photo posts, currently DOES allow them in their IGTV video posts.
A lifetime of consuming broadcast media has left most of us wanting to show and tell people things on social media like a broadcaster rather than actively engaging with our audience. To drive likes and shares (and thus extend your reach):
- Ask questions. If you’re a graphic business not sure which way to go with a design, why not post two mock-ups and ask your audience which they prefer? (Facebook makes this super simple by allowing you to generate polls.) Or post relevant articles and ask for people’s opinions about the topic being discussed.
- Comment on other posts. If you’re a printer and see a designer’s work that you love, tell them. You can even share what YOU would do production-wise to make it look even better. Why not post an image of your own work in the comment to illustrate your point? Not only will this designer see it, but so will many of their designer friends, too.
- Like and share other people’s posts. Nothing generates a sense of appreciation on social media more than when someone does this. It’s probably the easiest, and least time consuming, way to generate goodwill amongst potential clients on social media.
This is the hardest aspect of crafting social media marketing strategies. Still, there are some things printers and creative agencies can do.
- Use tracking links. When posting links to your website, generate a custom URL for each through a link-shortening service such as Bitly, which show you how many people click each one.
- Use UTM codes. This is a simple code that you can attach to a custom URL in order to track a source, medium, and campaign name. This enables Google Analytics to tell you where searchers came from as well as what campaign directed them to you. Learn more here.
- Analyze reader trends. Facebook makes this extremely easy with its “Insights” feature. It tells you at a glance what time of day most people view your content so you can schedule your posts for peak time, as well as how many likes and shares each post received.
- Set-up a social-only landing page. Want to spend this month highlighting the quality of your newly installed digital press, for example? Create a page on your website with videos and photos of the work you’re producing digitally and share the link on social all month. (Use a tracking link to monitor results.)
Remember, there are no magic social media marketing strategies; what works best varies from company to company. Above all, make it a part of your routine business activities. And then experiment. Just know what you want to achieve before you start, monitor your results, and you’ll find even a short amount of time spent on social media will reap rewards. The response you receive might even remind you why you got into this business in the first place.