You’ve probably heard the old saying “location, location, location”. It has different meanings in different circles. But in business, it’s quite simple; you want to put your business in a great location where your customers can find you and get to you easily.
That used to mean physically placing your business at a busy intersection (high visibility), or maybe at the mall or near a major big-box store, where lots of your potential customers may already be.
It’s no different today, except that you must also think about the enormous virtual world (online).
For your business, this means being where your potential customers are… online. But “online” is such a huge place. Where do you even start? Thankfully, we know where most people are online.
According to multiple Pew Surveys more than two-thirds of all Americans now use social media.
One of the survey’s… outdated already by today’s standards (last year) reported that 90% of young adults aged 18 to 29 were on social media, while more than 75% of adults aged 30 and over regularly used it, and even 35% of seniors (65 and over) were regular users.
So, if location is important, it would be safe to say that Social Media is where you need to be in order to get in front of your customers.
“But it’s a pain!”
“I don’t have time for the twitter”
“I hate Facebook.”
“Does anyone really use those sites anyway? It’s just political garbage and food pics.”
“I never go online.”
“I’m not going to sell anything by showing people pictures of my cats.”
I hear complaints from business owners every day. The above statements are exact quotes that I get on a regular basis. Truth is, it doesn’t matter if you don’t like Facebook, or if you don’t have time to pay attention to it (hire someone to do it). It’s where your customers are every day. Social Media is the single largest online source of exposure for your business. You don’t want to miss it!
As I advise businesses regularly, it’s not about what you like. It’s about where your customers are and what they like. Would you refuse to print on a purple shirt because you don’t like the color purple? It’s the same here. Your customers are on Facebook, Pinterest, and others. If you want to gain exposure and engage with them, you need to be there as well.
Let’s move into a couple of actionable tasks that you can take back to your business, test out, and see how they work for you. In a future post we’ll cover additional tips and tactics to take you to the next level.
Know Where Your Audience Is
We now know pretty much everyone is on social media. But where is YOUR audience?
For screen printers, Facebook still hosts your largest single audience. Based on the visual aspect of the field (creative design, fashion, entertainment), you’re likely to also find your audience hanging out on Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat.
But let’s not forget YouTube. Video is often thought of as a different channel; but really it still falls within social media.
There’s also an interesting cross-over with audiences of certain channels, as shown on the Pew Research chart below. Notice that those who are on Facebook, most often also use YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest. This makes sense since most of these also collaborate or cross-post with each other as well.
To focus on your most effective audience, my recommendation would be to target Facebook first, and then look at strategies (and your own capabilities) to target the others circled below.
Have a Plan Even if it is a Simple One
Just like your business itself, social media will be more successful if you have a plan of action. Even if it’s a simple one:
- Think 1-2 weeks ahead about what you’d like to post. Think about upcoming events, trends, holidays, interesting jobs you’ve got scheduled.
- Find a handful of sources (websites, blogs, video channels, or other Facebook walls) and make note of them. You’ll refer to these regularly to find interesting content to share.
- As stated in the section below on mixing up your posts, plan to post 2-5 times per week, and think about how each of those posts can be something different or unique.
- Use a social media scheduling tool (like ours just for screen printers) and create your first couple of posts. Be sure to schedule them in advance so you get used to how to plan them out.
- Use a calendar manually, or use the built-in scheduling calendar in our management tool, to see what days and times you’ve got posts already scheduled. This will help you figure out where your next post should go.
- We also recommend mixing up the times you post. Schedule some for 8am, others at 2pm, while others can even be 8 or 9pm. Business hours don’t matter when it comes to social posting. What matters is when your audience is most likely to use, and engage with, social media.
One mistake we see a lot with businesses, is that they think social media is going to create an instant windfall of new sales, and they set their expectations with that mindset.
While social media can be a great place to build profits, that comes later. Trust me… it will take some time to get a positive ROI out of social media. But done right, it can eventually be one of your greatest sources of new, and repeat, business.
First things first… we need to build a great audience, get them engaged, and create fantastic brand-trust through posts and conversations.
Because the mindset is usually about sales, many businesses see social media as a place to post about me, me, me. Wrong! In fact, only a small percentage of your posts should be about your business.
Mix up the posts and ask for engagement
You want to focus on keeping people interested. That means mixing it up a bit. Post about the weather, about the great event you’re attending this weekend, the amazing concert you went to last week. And yes… even pictures of your cat, or dog, or pet pig. Remember your fans are people too, and they love seeing fun and entertaining posts, along with facts, news, and knowledge-based posts. It’s your job to mix it up and make your social threads interesting and engaging.
We recommend posting 2-5 times per week. If you’ve got a stagnant audience (not very engaged), stay to 2-3 posts per week for now. If your audience is highly engaged, you’ll typically do well with 4-5 posts per week – but you can do more so long as:
- You have something interesting or entertaining to share
- You monitor engagement and pull back if you notice people engaging less often
One great strategy that tends to work really well for engagement, is to ask questions. But note… only do this every so often. If you ask questions all the time, you’ll burn out this strategy fast and people will ignore your posts.
A great mix of posts might mean that throughout the week your posts include:
- Interesting industry fact or tip
- Something fun or interesting about your business or a recent job you completed
- A shared video or article from another wall or 3rd party website
- Something that can be linked back to your website (Ex. a blog post, contact form, images of a recent job you completed).
- Feel good post (Ex. Happy Friday, Happy National Donut Day, Picture of a coffee cup in front of a fireplace on a cold morning… human-touch type of posts)
- Question or opinion post that specifically asks your readers to reply or answer
- NOTE – Be sure to also mix up your use of text-only, images, and videos. Even though video often gets the highest interaction, if all you post is videos you’ll see your engagement go down. Keep things interesting and use a variety of media types for your posts.
Even though there can be a ton of strategy behind an effective social media campaign, if you’re just getting started with social media – don’t get too caught up in all of that just yet. Follow the steps above, create a simple plan, and keep at it. Social media gets far more exciting (translate: “Profitable”) the longer you’re active on it.
Thrive Business Marketing has launched its Beta version of Thrive Social Server just for screen printers. You can find it at www.screenprinting.social. We’re working on a few enhancements – but we invite you to give it a shot… completely free – and let us know how useful it is for your business.
For more information on online marketing for screen printers, check out 6 Steps to Getting Your Rad Screen Printing Business Online and Establishing Your Screen Printing Brand’s Facebook Presence.
Scott Orth is the founder of Thrive Business Marketing in Portland Oregon, with 19 years’ experience in building Internet Marketing success for small businesses. Thrive and Ryonet have joined forces to help screen printers make their presence known, and grow their businesses, through online marketing strategies. We have numerous website and online marketing programs in the works and will become available to screen printers throughout 2018.
Scott can be reached directly for consult or general inquiries at the following:
Phone (Direct): 503-783-8473