Each time a new social media site or platform comes out, my printer friends ask me if they should join. If you’re a compulsive joiner, or have “Fear of Missing Out” (FOMO) like I do, then join everything, by all means.
If you’re not a compulsive joiner and have bigger business goals in mind for your printing company or print-related business, here are 10 considerations when evaluating a new social media platform:
1. Do you want to claim your name or business name? If so, grab an account and name it. I remember joining Twitter for that reason, years ago. I didn’t know much about it, but I had already lost out on being THE Sandy Hubbard on LinkedIn, and I didn’t want that to happen again.
2. Are your customers on the new platform? Even if you don’t know how to interact or whether it will be worthwhile, open an account, see what your customers are doing, share their content when appropriate, and be social. If your customers are designers, they like social places where they can share ideas and photos, so social sites like Pinterest and Instagram may be a good choice.
3. Are your prospects there? And if they’re there, are they experimenting or letting down their guard on the new platform? You can glean important insights in these early days of a new social media site. Also, the crowd is smaller, so you can stand out. If the site is by invitation only, being part of an exclusive or beta group with customers and prospects can be a bonding experience.
4. Are you known for being a social media leader? If so, by all means get an account and interact other leaders who are getting to know the new platform. Listen to what they’re saying about how to use it best and give your own input. Let people know you are one of the first to try it out, so you’ll become known as a social media early adopter. When Periscope first came out, the influencers flocked to it so they could add instant video to their networking options. This gave them a head start when other platforms started offering instant video.
5. Do you have strong, well-established social media accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter? If so, you can ramp up quickly just about anywhere. You’ll be able to identify people quickly on new platforms to connect with, and you’ll recognize the types of people that make a strong network. You also have the experience to see if this will be a good investment of your time and resources.
6. Are your prospects and customers “young” (however you define that), young at heart, or have children and a network of young people? Those of us who have teenagers know it’s important to check out the platforms where our kids hang out. If you’re there anyway, look around for business potential. I just signed up for Snapchat I don’t know what I’m doing there, but I want to understand what all the excitement is about,.
7. Are your colleagues talking about the new platform? Networking with co-workers, competitors and colleagues is a good reason to join a new social media platform. I joined LinkedIn for that purpose almost 10 years ago, and it was fun to connect with people from my former jobs and from college. Meetup.com is another place where it’s fun to find like-minded professionals in the same city. It’s not really a social place, but it is a networking place.
8. Do you enjoy games and apps that appeal to your creative and competitive side? Joining a new platform involves ingenuity, problem solving and persistence. It can be very satisfying to unravel a new tool and figure out how to get the most out of it. Social media platforms that roll out new features and change their interfaces can be frustrating for some users and a challenge for others.
9. Are you an introvert? This may seem surprising, but we introverts enjoy social media platforms. We can control how and when we interact with people, and we can take a mental break when we’ve had enough. Many of my introverted friends and I began relationships online that were door openers to offline friendships. Many of the people I know who excel at Twitter chats are somewhat quiet in real life.”
10. Are you a natural teacher and leader? If people look to you to learn things first and explain what you’ve discovered, you can serve many people by vetting new platforms and reporting back. While I am adventurous and enjoy learning new platforms, I also have limited time. I rely on my network to explore new opportunities, see what all the fuss is about, and give me their valuable impressions.
Social media platforms come and go, and not every single one will be the right fit or worth the effort, especially for printing companies that are trying to maintain a level of business professionalism. For me, I hate being left out, as I mentioned above, so I am always looking to see what the next new thing is.
For printers, if the above 10 items pass the test, then the answer to “Should I join a new social media platform?” is “Sure, why not!” See you there!
Sandy Hubbard is a marketing strategist for printing companies. She builds marketing programs that can be sustained over the long haul, with affordable tools and your own people…and without stress! Find Sandy on Twitter at @sandyhubbard each Wednesday at 4 PM ET, assisting #PrintChat host Deborah Corn @PrintMediaCentr with a lively online discussion for printers and those who love print.
GROUP PORTRAIT BY Jayel Aheram