When I took over #printchat
from Quad/Graphics in April of 2012, I never would have imagined that one day it would lead to getting a call from Heidelberg, let alone being invited to an exclusive launch event at their Atlanta HQ. And although I am a social media advocate and a successful social community builder, that call validated the work I’ve been doing in a more personal way.
The first name I ever knew, the first press I ever printed on, and the only name of a press manufacturer I ever heard when I started my ad agency Print Production career was Heidelberg. I will never forget the first time I went on a press check, walked onto the floor, and saw that beautiful giant grey monster cranking out my job. Up until that point I had spent many years in Print Traffic managing the creation of projects, but always stopped short of bringing them to life since that was Production's job. Going to the printer and getting to see how it happened was a big deal to me. I felt important—which isn’t usually the case when you work in advertising!
That experience, and my deep connection to Heidelberg through it, makes my new connection with them even more amazing...and there are some amazing aspects to it, which is why I’m sharing here! I may just have the answer to what is the ROI of social media for the print industry!
#PrintChat is a weekly discussion I host every Wednesday from 4-5 pm ET on Twitter about print and integrated marketing. An average chat will garner five to seven million impressions, reach a few hundred thousand timelines, and yes there is quantifiable data to back that up! To achieve that sort of impact in the twittersphere you need a few things besides the time and effort to grow the community, the most important of which is the community itself. They need to be socially active, influential in their circles and beyond, and highly engaged with the community and the subject at hand—which in this case is print!
Heidelberg has enormous power and the ability to share information any way they choose. For them to choose to invite #PrintChat to this product launch, give us exclusive access to their team, and engage with us during the chat not only means we matter to them, it shows we matter to the industry! Not bad ROI for a relatively small group of CMYK enthusiasts!
The moral of this story, and how it relates to you is simple...if you build it, they will come. Use social to connect. Use social to share. Use social to create engagement with your brand, your colleagues and even your customers without using social as a selling tool. You are selling by not selling! Once you get that, it will all fall into place and you never know who might end up dialing your number!
Oh, I should probably mention you can follow #printchat via Twitter all day on January 29, 2014, to get info live from Heidelberg HQ, and at 4 pm we will start our formal chat and have a discussion about the launch and how it may, or may not impact print...it's up to the chatters to decide!
Chat long and prosper!