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Using Social Media to Promote Your Business

by Jen Clark

PostPress

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Dina Lyon works on an animated video for Creative Coatings’ social media marketing campaign.


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Creative Coatings uses PowToon to create its animated training videos.


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Creative Coatings is careful not to divulge client-specific information in its promotional videos.

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In today’s global economy, creatively marketing your business to potential customers can be the difference in winning a contract or waiting (and hoping) for the next customer to come through the door. Marketing in this day and age goes beyond having a company website. Creating a lasting marketing campaign with a return on investment (ROI) is an expenditure in both time and talent.

Using social media for business marketing isn’t necessarily a new practice, but for those in the printing and finishing industries it can be tricky to know where to start. A number of social media-related items are available on the Printing Industries of America’s (PIA) website. The business/marketing section of the PIA’s book store at www.printing.org includes titles such as Social Media Field Guide and Social Media Success. An overview of the Field Guide says that "social media engagement is a reliable way for printers to market their business, communicate with customers and increase brand awareness." The guide explains where to begin, including what social media tools can work best and how to implement such a marketing plan. It can help those just getting started with social media marketing, as well as "refine the knowledge and technique of the social media-savvy."

The "2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report," published by Social Media Examiner, surveyed over 3,700 marketers to understand how they’re using social media to grow and promote their businesses. It found that Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn are high on the list for marketing plans, but marketers also wanted to do more with Facebook. Video currently is being used by 57 percent of marketers, while 72 percent of respondents want to do more with video production. The report found "the top two benefits of social media marketing are increasing exposure and increasing traffic." In addition, "More than half of marketers who’ve been using social media for at least two years report it helped them improve sales."

Getting animated at Creative Coatings

Creative Coatings, San Diego, California, has been delivering postpress finishing services from concept to completion to clients in the Western United States for 30 years. In the last six months, it created a YouTube channel to share cool techniques and ideas about printed projects to potential customers. "We have been producing two types of videos for social media marketing – marketing and educational," said Dina Lyon, sales/account representative at Creative Coatings. "We not only market our products and services with videos, but also believe that being a partner and asset to our customers by training them is a high priority. This builds the relationship while creating success for all of us."

Lyon creates the videos using one of two different video authoring programs – Animoto or PowToon – and then posts them to the company’s social media spaces on YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook. The videos offer unique perspectives by showcasing a service provided by Creative Coatings through project photos or as an animation explaining a particular process. The marketing videos are created using Animoto (www.animoto.com), which describes itself as an easy way to create professional-quality videos without the need for technical know-how or expensive production equipment. The educational (animated) videos are created with PowToon (www.powtoon.com), a free business animation software and PowerPoint alternative. According to its website, PowToon allows users to create colorful, visually engaging animated presentation-cartoon mashups with drag-and-drop simplicity. "We chose animation for training videos because we can promote products and train people how to utilize those products all in one video," Lyon said. "Animated videos are simple and elementary, so the communication gets the point across quickly and easily."

On the more traditional videos, Lyon takes care to only show products that clients have approved to share. "We strategically show images that won’t divulge any client information publically," she said. "We’ve had extremely good responses. Our clients, both current and new, always are looking for new ideas and information."

It can take two or more days to put the videos together, Lyon said, noting her deadlines are flexible depending on the project. "It really depends on the content topic and product," she explained. "Some products and services or informational videos have a lot more information to share than others."

The company’s goal is to post something new each month, but doesn’t want to inundate its clients with too frequent updates. "It depends on the time of year and what information we see our clients needing," Lyon explained. If a client requests a certain product or service, though, the company’s staff can send the videos out as needed while having conversations with clients. "Our estimators, CSRs and sales staff follow up via email with the video link that corresponds to the information the client is looking for," she said.

Measuring ROI

According to Social Media Examiner, "ROI is proof that your marketing efforts are working." It can be measured in a variety of ways, such as lead generation, customer acquisition, clicks, revenue, etc. Social Media Examiner offers five steps for measuring social media ROI. Those steps include setting goals, determining the right platforms, tracking campaigns, reporting the findings and reviewing results/ resetting goals.

At Creative Coatings, ROI hasn’t been measured yet, partly because their initiative is so new. However, the company sees its social media use – especially its use of animation – as "preventative maintenance via mass communication," Lyon said. "Training videos won’t always indicate an instant sale or immediate new client, so the ROI is very difficult to track in this circumstance. In the printing industry, some projects don’t come to fruition for months. Our videos are not focusing on any one project. Instead, they focus on the concepts th at go into all projects. We continue to provide these informational videos in hopes of training our existing customers so that they can learn and at the same time share and refer new clients our way."

PostPress would like to thank Social Media Examiner for providing its "2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report" for this article. Social Media Examiner helps businesses discover how to best use social media, blogs and podcasts to connect with customers, drive traffic, generate awareness and increase sales. For more information, visit www.socialmediaexaminer.com/report2015.