Labels & Packaging
The internet is a sociable beast. More than ever users can quickly and easily produce content and comment and share the things they find interesting, entertaining and moreover, useful to them and to their business. The trouble is, many B2B business owners have reservations about jumping into social media for themselves to promote their activities at their own companies.
I meet a lot of business owners who tell me they think social media is a waste of their time, while at the same time millions of business professionals are busy searching the internet looking to find solutions to their immediate problems and for a service provider that might meet their requirements. Importantly, they are looking for the right kind of company with which they will ultimately feel happy to spend money with. With this in mind I am always staggered by the number of owners who continue to think that having a nice well turned out website is good enough, but in reality it is no longer the case. Well not any more anyway. Welcome instead to the 21st century. Folk do things different around these parts. Think about this.
If you were looking to buy an item for your own pleasure, say you wanted to buy a tablet such as an iPad, you wouldn’t just pop into a shop and ask to be sold a tablet would you? I don’t think so. If I was buying it I wouldn’t go to a shop at all. Like most chaps of a certain age I’d go straight to Amazon, look up what I fancied and then I’d study the customer reviews to see what actual past purchasers have to say about the product. In my own experience if I find they are mostly writing negative reviews I will re think my purchasing decision and seek an alternative product.
Ask yourself, how many times have you done that? And if you are nodding in agreement but also recognise yourself as being among those who think they don’t ‘do’ social media, think again, because as far as I am concerned, Amazon is the personification of social media. I can’t begin to tell you how many buying decisions I have made that have been based on the say so of complete strangers, but it’s an awful lot. But I do so safe in the knowledge that I am probably not going to be buying a pig in a poke, and I am going in with my eyes wide open. Therefore if you are doing this too, why aren’t you doing this for the benefit of your own prosperity?
There is no black art to ‘doing’ social media. It starts with a ‘hello’ and it carries on from there. If you can build a business based on cold calling and hitting the telephones to introduce your company and its products to an indifferent market sector, then getting started with something as easy as a Twitter account should be a piece of piss to somebody such as you. So, now we have got that out of the way, why don’t we have a look at a few simple things that you can do so as to not feel quite so uncomfortable about ‘doing’ social media?
Let’s look a bit further now at how you can begin to get more comfortable with social media and engaging with others without feeling like you have to tell everybody what it was you and the missus had for dinner last night, or worse still, taking a photograph of your dinner and posting it to Twitter. Just as an aside. I really hate this silly practice. So what if you’re just about to tuck into a plate of fresh asparagus and minted new potatoes. That is not social media and frankly all it will do is have me reaching for the unsubscribe button. Anyway, I digress. Let us start with your first point of contact with the outside world via tinternets – your company’s website.
For most business websites, the second most viewed page aside from your landing (home) page is the ‘About Us’ page. I spend a lot of time researching companies online and a decent ‘about us’ is a godsend, if there is one at all. If you are not sure what your highest viewed pages are be sure to ask your webmaster to tell you. It will always be the ‘about us’ I can assure you. The reason this is so popular is because people want to know who they are potentially going to be doing business with. It is human nature to want to poke around a website to find out more about what it is that makes a company tick. So what does your own ‘about us’ page have to say about you and your team?
Here’s an experiment. Open another window in your browser and call up your ‘about us’ page. Do you see photographs of key personnel (including you) in the business? Do their biographies reflect their position and role within the company? Is their direct dial phone number listed? And can you click on a link to send them a personal email? And what about their social media habits; do you see a link to contact or engage with them via social media? I bet not. Mind you, you’re not alone. But ask yourself, if you wanted to do business with your company and you looked at your own crappy ‘About us’ page, wouldn’t you feel like giving it a miss too?
It’s the same is with integrated blogs. All web developers tell their clients to start writing a blog. It’s good for SEO (search engine optimisation) they say. If you’re banging out a daily/weekly blog on your company website this will be picked up in Google and interested parties will come flocking to your website and you will be inundated with inquiries from punters whose pockets are literally bulging with the cash they are desperate to spend with you. Well the former is probably quite true, but somebody neglected to tell you that it would probably be you that had to write the flaming thing because Deidre in accounts (enter your delegated company blog scribblers’ name here) knows nothing about your company, your products, your market, and most importantly of all - your customers. But you do. And this is why most company blogs are total failures, because the business owner/partner can’t be bothered to do the work themselves. Again, call up your company website and take a look at your blog. If it is six months out of date, nobody is looking, least of all you. So how should you proceed?
First off, let’s start with old Deidre. Make her employee of the month and take a photograph of her holding the bouquet of flowers you presented her with. Then write up a short piece, no more than 150 words (the above paragraph is 150 nearly words) about how valuable she is to your company and more importantly to your customers and to your suppliers. Tell the world how much you value her and put her work contact details at the end of the blog post so people can more effectively communicate with the people you employ to do a particular job for your company. Repeat on a monthly basis until you run out of staff to write about. Then start all over again.
To keep your blog fresh you might think about other blog posts in between your employee of the month blog posts. For example, you could also think about writing a few scant words here and there about your industry. Write about your customers – nobody is going to poach them. Or you could write about the jobs you put through your print shop every week. Just pick on one. Taka photo of it and write a little about why it was important to you and what it was that made it so cool etc. Tell the world about your kit and how state of the art it might be and so on. If all else fails, pick up on whatever we at GDW might be talking about and comment on your own blog about it. Have an opinion. It really doesn’t matter what you blog about, just as long as it is relevant to the business you are running. Just remember to update your blog regularly – at least once a week and it must be linked into your own website. Here's a good video that describes blogging in plain English.
If all else fails, join a social media network group with other like minded business people and get some initial practice under your belt in the company of your peers before attempting to fly solo. We have our own social media networking community website that you can access on our menu tab bar above under ‘Community’. This takes you to our sister website Wide Format World where you can join in, set up your own ‘home page’, post blog posts, join in with forum chats, comment on other people’s posts, upload photographs, embed YouTube footage and generally natter away about your passion for printing to a global audience of like minded good natured souls who are all interested to hear what you might have to say.
Go on. Jump in. You know you want to.
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