Welcome to my blogging duel with TEAM UK’s Matthew Parker. If you have been following along you can skip right to the post… and if you are just joining us, here is some background…

Matthew and I haven’t always seen eye to eye when it comes to Print Buying. He comes from the UK procurement world, and I come from the USA agency world. We used to argue about process, but over the years it has turned into a mutual respect. However, that doesn’t mean we now agree, or see things the same way! As a matter of fact, most of the time we don’t. So we decided to turn that into Print Buying: #UKvUSA and share information about our experiences from both sides of the pond!

At the end of my post is a link to Matthew’s post on the same subject. We don’t know each other’s response before writing our own. Maybe we will agree, maybe we wont, maybe we don’t even see the question in the same way – who knows… that’s the fun part! We have also set a 500 words or less format to keep things moving along.

Please do leave comments and if you happen to support one side over the other let us know on either blog! I am proudly representing TEAM USA, and we are using #UKvUSA on Twitter. LET THE DUEL COMMENCE!

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#UKvUSA: How Can You Connect With Print Buyers On Social Media

I am going to take this question literally and say the only way to connect with Print Buyers (not brokers or any sort of re-sellers) on social media is to provide sharable, topical and knowledgeable information with no strings attached.

With that said, there are still major obstacles to overcome… for example, are Print Buyers on social media to begin with professionally vs. personally?

In my experience, I rarely come across a Print Production Manager interacting anywhere but LinkedIn, and occasionally my weekly #PrintChat. That doesn’t mean they aren’t out there on other channels, but if they are it’s not in droves, and they aren’t interacting with me. I do see designers across many channels, and I’d offer they are the most active print customer group socially. Marketing people are out there too, but usually they are marketing, not openly gathering info or seeking printer friends.

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Using my parameters, here are a few do’s/dont’s for connecting with Print Buyers on Social Media:

Do GIVE – Don’t ASK!

Pretty simple. Share information that is relevant to their worlds, and they will want to pay attention to you. ASK them for contact info or for anything else before you have established some resemblance of a relationship where that is acceptable – POOF, they will be gone.

Do EDUCATE – Don’t BAIT!

If all your posts and shares are ultimately about you, and what you offer, and end with get in touch for your next project, you will not grow a buyer audience you will alienate it. If however you teach and share for the sake of teaching and sharing, they will feel safe to connect with you, vs. fooled into it.

Do HELP – Don’t CREATE PROBLEMS!

When it comes to LinkedIn, if a Print Buyer needs help then help them, but do it the right way. Answer their questions clearly, provide referrals if you have them, provide additional information if warranted. Don’t use the space to promote your services, or make suggestions that are beyond the discussion topic. If they wanted to print in your city, they would have specified it vs. the one or one/s they did.

Do RESPECT – Don’t DISMISS!

I have seen so many amazing opportunities for Printers to connect and create relationships with Print Buyers get tossed away for a quick plug for services. Don’t squander those moments. Respect your place in their world, and remember they have to let you in first.

Social Media, when done correctly, includes managing your reputation. You don’t want to known as “That Printer/Service Provider who only wants to sell me something” under ANY circumstance. You want to be known as “That Printer/Service Provider who always helps me” no matter what the circumstance. That will get you connected, that will open the door to developing a relationship, and that may ultimately lead to working together. However, even if it doesn’t, don’t ever forget everyone is ALWAYS watching, and every tweet, comment, post, like, and share counts… so make each one count!

What is your social strategy when it comes to connecting with Print Buyers?

See Matthew’s response here: http://profitableprintrelationships.com/ukvusa-how-can-you-connect-with-print-buyers-on-social-media/  

Next month: Your Printer Has A New Press: So what?

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