Printers Monetizing Social Media

Scott Cappel, president and founder of Sorrento Mesa Printing (near San Diego), is a perfect case in point. Cappel, the 2010-2011 NAPL/NAQP Printer of the Year, describes his shop as lean (less than 10 employees), profitable and very nimble. The company has won 23 national awards for printing excellence, an achievement of which Cappel is very proud.

But his passion today lies in growing the firm’s already stellar brand—and he sees social media, especially LinkedIn, as the primary platform to do so. “LinkedIn is the place to build a personal and company brand, and it’s where all the buyers are,” asserts the printing exec. “It’s a total gold mine for the selling owner.”

Cappel is an expert at using LinkedIn to find prospective new customers. He says that when you’re prospecting for potential new clients, reviewing an official company Website shows only so much information about it, whereas LinkedIn can provide far more insight, especially details like a personal contact.

He recommends first following a prospect company on LinkedIn (more than two million companies maintain a LinkedIn company account). It shows you how the company describes itself, but also a stream of what’s happening within that organization. This includes things such as Twitter mentions and news feeds but, more importantly, who works there and what role they play in the organization.

Finding an Opening

Some advice from Cappel: Watch the “New Hires” section on Linked–In company pages for firms you’re prospecting. If you see a new marketing manager or C-level executive you wish to contact, it provides a perfect opportunity to initiate that contact and congratulate the person on the new position.

When it comes to LinkedIn introductions, Cappel doesn’t use the third-party introduction feature that LinkedIn recommends. LinkedIn offers the contact name and information, but a salesperson can still use personal contact or other marketing tools to actually get in touch. “If you’re good on the phone,” he says, “just give the person a call. Or send a small gift such as a calendar,” a dimensional piece that’s likely to be opened.

Julie Shaffer is Vice President, Digital Technologies at Printing Industries of America. She heads up the Digital Printing Council (DPC), as well as the Center for Digital Printing Excellence at Printing Industries headquarters in Sewickley, PA. In her position, Julie plays a lead role in developing programs and tools to help members grow their businesses with digital technologies.

Known for her graphic production expertise, Julie has a 20-plus year background in pre-media and print. She is often called upon for training, presentations and to provide on-site consulting throughout the industry on diverse range of topics, including PDF, color management, digital printing, social media and Web-to-print implementation. Julie is co-author of several books, including "The PDF Print Production Guide" (1st, 2nd and 3rd edition), the "Web-to-Print Primer" and the forthcoming "Field Guide to Social Media."

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