I’m thrilled to introduce our first guest blogger, Jonathan Barrick, and his views on integrating print and social media. Jonathan is the Marketing Manager at Global Finishing Solutions, LLC, Chair of Business Advisory Committee at Georgian College, and an all-around awesome guy, here to share his best tips for integrating print and social media.
4 Simple Tips for Integrating Print & Social Media -
Making it Easy
When it comes to listing your social media contact info on your brochure, do you simply say ‘Find us on Facebook’? You’d better hope your customers are very patient while they comb through 500 million users.
We see Facebook and Twitter icons and logos all over the place now. They are very nearly as common place in advertising as phone numbers and email addresses, but what I’ve noticed is that a large number of companies stop short with JUST the logo of the Social Media site that they participate in. Unfortunately, this doesn’t do anything to help the user actually find you on those sites. Since the search functions on Social Media sites can pull up dozens of suggestions for any business name or search term, simply putting the logo of the site somewhere on your brochure can be counter-productive.
Businesses must realize that by doing this, they’re essentially saying “If you go on this site of 500 million users, I’m in there somewhere.” Not to mention the added level of complexity that exists if your business is a single location in a chain. What if there are 5 or 6 different stores from the same chain on Facebook? How easy is it for your users to identify which one is yours? What if corporate head office is listed there, too?
You can see the problem that this presents when you take the time and effort to connect with your customers, but you don’t go those last few steps to ensure that it’s really you that they find when they go looking. Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to make yourself easier to connect with.
1 – Use a custom URL, and minimize it.
Most social networking sites, like Facebook and LinkedIn, will allow you to customize your URL so that you can shorten it and make it easier to fit on to brochures and business cards. For example, you can easily go from something like this page I found:
to a much cleaner example from another page:
Another tip to minimize the text is to simply remove the ‘http://’ from the URL, since we are all so used to seeing web addresses, it’s hardly a stretch to realize that ‘facebook.com/ford.sales’ should be typed in to the URL bar of a web browser.
To create a customized URL on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/username/
With Twitter, you can follow two ways of approaching this. You can either list your Twitter username: in my case @j_barrick, or your direct URL to your tweets: http://twitter.com/j_barrick. Again, you can use the simplistic: twitter.com/j_barrick and make the URL even cleaner and still make no mistake of which Twitter user is the real deal.
2 – Stick with only your top sites.
You may be tempted to list every single location online where your users can find you, but once you get past Facebook and Twitter, the widespread user base drops off dramatically. You might have a Flickr page, or Tumblr blog, or Myspace page, or several others from the myriad collection of social media sites, but that doesn’t mean you should stuff your materials full of every possible site. As a general rule of thumb, just list the few key sites that you’re most active on, or that you have the largest community. Again, this is all about making it easy on the reader.
3 – Don’t forget your main web address.
Unless you’ve got a VERY specific reason for doing this, don’t leave your regular www. web address off of any of your materials. I’ve seen several instances of companies running ads that are designed solely to drive traffic to their Facebook pages, but unless you’re running a completely dedicated campaign with Facebook traffic as your ultimate objective, this may not be the best course of action.
After all, your website should be the main hub of all your activity. Users should be able to go anywhere you are online from your website, so that would be where you’d list all the ‘other’ locations we talked about back in Tip #2, so don’t miss out on an opportunity to get people to visit your main online home. It can encourage them to check out more of you in other locations.
4 – Avoid ‘stylized’ logos. Stick with the instantly recognizable ones.
If you have picked up a magazine or newspaper in the last 12 months, then you know what the Twitter logo looks like. Same for Facebook. The simple, clean but easily identifiable ‘T’ and ‘F’ icon logos in the official colours are unquestionable about what they represent. But if you start to incorporate ‘fancier’ ones, (maybe they look like stamps, or buttons, or shiny metal), then you run a much greater risk of the general populace not recognizing them.
Use logos like this: not like this: in print materials.
The goal here is to ultimately drive people to see what you’re doing on these sites. If they can’t make that immediate association to the social media site brands that they are familiar with, they will be less likely to make that effort.
Bonus Tip: Business Cards
Your business card had better already have your company web address on it, but why not add your Facebook or Twitter URL as well? It’s simply one more way for your users to connect with you, which is the entire purpose of the business card to begin with! This info belongs on your cards, so the next time you print a batch, make that addition.
So overall, I think you can see that simply throwing an icon on your print materials doesn’t really accomplish anything other than ‘Yeah, we’re on Twitter’. If you really want to encourage people to check you out, then you need to make it as easy as possible. You would never put ‘Find us on the Web!’ without listing your web address, so why do that with your Social Media?
End Note: There is another technology being introduced that intends to do a better job of integrating print and web, and that is the QR code. I haven’t touched on that in this article for two reasons: 1 – It’s a bit more advanced in terms of it’s usage and how to integrate it in to your business goals, and this article was intended as the ‘basics’ of putting SM contact info in to print, and 2 – it is still in the early adoption stage, and until every person has a smartphone, and everyone has taken the time to download a QR code reader app for their smartphone, QR codes will continue to be a very specialized way to reach a unique target market. In summary, not enough people know what they are or have the understanding and technology to utilize them effectively.
“As the leader of a full-service internal marketing team, I have been responsible for everything from creative direction and execution to budgeting and corporate strategic planning.
“Under my direction, my team handles all social media activities, online strategies, branding, corporate image, web design, graphic design, print layout & design, market research, competitive intelligence analysis, strategic business planning, trade show coordination, event management, advertising creative & scheduling, marketing budgeting, and more.
“My ultimate goal? Ensure that the company I represent is the one that customers desire to do business with above all others.”
You can find Jonathan out on the web at http://about.me/jonbarrick, on Twitter as @j_barrick and as Jonathan Barrick on LinkedIn. Thank you Jonathan, for offering up your awesome insights into the wide world of marketing, printing and putting it all together!