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Print & Social Media – How it works!

Facing the #drupa2020 challenge

By Andreas Weber, Head of Value 


Even more than a decade after the advent of social media and the associated dramatic changes in communication, the print industry in particular is struggling with the new, digital way of doing business via social media in order to make the go-to-market contemporary and make it sustainable and successful.

For #drupa2020, however, it will be more important than ever to communicate and interact effectively before, during and after the trade fair. This applies to everyone: trade fair organizers, exhibitors, visitors and above all to trade media. 

No question: It is imperative to find your own way to address customers and prospects directly in the media. And there are also valuable options. BUT: some confused theses are represented and spread. Many follow the principle of 'wanted but not skillful'. 

Print publishers in particular, which have supplemented their print titles with websites, have been losing readers, reach and therefore meaning for years, and are therefore looking for help with the usual editorial concept on social media in order to publish the same content there as well. Many companies do the same, sending their press releases unchanged to specialist media, publishing them themselves on their websites and teasers on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, XING or LinkedIn. It is evident that this cannot work: most do not create a response worth mentioning, their messages fizzle out.

Right or wrong? – Some tips 

Wrong: Social media offers many channels. 

Right: Social media is an umbrella term for numerous specific, interaction-oriented platforms for digital communication. Platforms for pictures (e.g. Instagram), for videos (e.g. YouTube or Facebook), for short messages (especially Twitter), for storytelling (blogs via WordPress, medium.com etc.), for fun and entertainment (TikTok), for podcasts (especially iTunes) for personal networks (e.g. WhatsApp, Messanger, WeChat) and for B2B communication (especially LinkedIn). And last but not least: for collaborative publishing of specialist content (e.g. in print by INKISH.TV and INKISH.News). 

Wrong: Social media thrives on many short messages that are pushed to build as much reach as possible. 

Right: Each type of content can be used individually, highly specifically and in a multimedia way to create interactions and create dialogues. Almost like a personal conversation. 

Wrong: Social media leads to information overload. 

Right: Those who learn via social media to select the right platforms for their intentions, design their "messages" specifically, including feedback management and the appropriate key words, and network well, do not become victims of (senseless) information, but rather theirs designer. Side effect: There are hardly any costs. And to sum up briefly to get to the point in order to create sympathy for yourself and its content is a huge plus! 

Wrong: Social media is superficial and short-lived — content suffers the fate of mayflies. 

Right: The most important content, whether professional or private, can be found today and tomorrow on social media platforms, is measurable, is largely indexed permanently by Google and can always be found. In addition, the willingness of users to interact is at a maximum, since the platforms are easy to use, you do not have to deal with application techniques, updates etc., but can focus entirely on content.


Perspective 

Social media has already successfully established itself among successful innovators and start-ups in print. 

Smart providers of photo book applications as well as special applications for textile or wallpaper printing, mass customization, postcards, posters etc. base their business model on social media platforms, most of them for mobile usage.

In addition, social media content and activities can be integrated into multichannel scenarios, although this is hardly rated or used correctly by print shops or their suppliers. How else could you think of using social media as an extension of upcoming direct marketing and thus as a new push channel for duplicating information about it? 


Conclusion 

The most important thing in my view is to rely on dialogues / conversations and interactions, as well as evaluating the individual's state of mind on the different platforms and responding to what works without any problems, since social media allows market research to be carried out in real time

This could serve the new stipulation that makes the digital age imperative: What I want to make public is not relevant, but what I can learn by listening, discussing, thinking through, evaluating, etc., in order to create customer-oriented, tailor-made offers. 


Advices 

Rethink position - change perspective! 
Do not make fundamental errors. 
Get to know yourself personally through active social media work in order to find a clear focus. 
Internalize the essence of modern communication in the digital age: put “interaction through conversation” in the center and pursue it stringently in order to get smart into conversation and to profile as an attractive partner for innovation and transformation. 
Stop following the wrong prophets, rather build your own knowledge networks. 
In view of the fact that in the course of the transformation of the print industry the already enormous complexity increases, e.g. through topics such as artificial intelligence, IoT, subscription models, blockchain etc., continuous conversations in networks and on platforms are imperative. 


  • Anyone who does this will quickly be pleasantly surprised and, in the best case, transforms into an excellently networked knowledge worker! 


Addendum 

I myself use social media from the very beginning. And I developed a systematic approach to identify and to use the platforms that are relevant to me and use them successfully. 

With my blogs I am in touch with over 150k professionals from almost 160 countries, I am in direct contact with almost 23k decision makers and influencers via LinkedIn, supplemented by summarized around 10k more via Twitter, Facebook, XING. 

I am happy to give interested people further tips, assistance and guidance.

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