Print firms get social with Facebook

With the buzz of social media marketing everywhere, Rushikesh Aravkar observes how print firms are looking at Facebook as a tool to build a brand and stay connected with its customers.

13 Dec 2013 | By Rushikesh Aravkar

Dhote Offset Technokrafts (DOT) has been extensively active on social media since it joined Facebook on 16 October 2013. When you visit DOT’s website, though the information is all there, the website looks pretty plain jane unlike its Facebook page, which has been able to attract over 1,100 likes in less than two months.
Unlike today, in late 90s or even early 2000s, having online presence with a business website was considered a step ahead than the competition. It was a versatile tool to connect with consumers and prospects that are looking for services on the internet. Today, when everybody owns a websites, the onus has shifted to social media.
According to a McKinsey report, India’s base of about 120 million internet users is currently the third-largest in the world and India is likely to have the second-largest user base in the world, and the largest in terms of incremental growth, with 330 million to 370 million internet users in 2015. The report also highlights that the number of Facebook users in India has jumped from less than 10 million in 2009 to in excess of 50 million in 2012.
From printing industry’s perspective, it is the brands who deal directly with the consumers, which have established themselves strongly on Facebook. This is evident from the likes each one has garnered. For instance the photography major Canvera has 1,39,572 likes; pre-press specialist Honeycomb Creative Support has 10,834 likes, web-to-print specialists like has 1,17,000 likes, has 19,686 likes, Flexi Print has 28,247 likes, has 15,706 likes, and Vistaprint India has 11,455 likes. 
And then there are big daddies such as the Pragati Group, TCPL, Manipal Technologies, IPP, Repro India, Silverpoint,  most of whom are absent on Facebook or if present have minimal activity on their pages.
So the pertinent question is: Does it really make sense for print companies in B2B space to be present on Facebook? It works for web-to-print companies that thrive in B2C space as it drives their business directly, however, there is no obvious reason for others in the industry to be on Facebook except if the firm wants to build a brand and spell out the message. 
Abhishek Gupta of DOT who handles social media for the company says, “DOT is a 17-year old print firm which has established itself firmly in the industry. To take it to the next level, we intend to build a brand of DOT, and for this we feel Facebook is the right medium for the Indian crowd.”
Gupta adds that DOT’s plan is to reach out to the new digital generation in order to meet its long-term vision to be established as a brand. "The objective is to make people aware of our brand and work that we do."
The key for printers is to figure out how their clients are communicating with their customers and then figure out how we can help them in this communication. 
With print companies, branding often takes a back seat especially for SMEs. Certainly, with Facebook and other social media there is attraction for SMEs of being able to easily update and customise their web presence using Facebook’s many facilities, that too for free. It has to be noted that branding can play a vital role in propelling a company into the consciousness of the consumer.
Mumbai-based PrintStop puts an extra effort in social marketing. When you visit PrintStop’s page you can explore its product range and capabilities through photographs of innovative jobs that it has produced for its customers. Also, its customers have posted their testimonials on the page. It becomes more effective when your customers boast about you rather than you boasting about yourself. Similar is the case of Ludhiana-based Kamal Printers.
One step ahead is, which uses its page to launch new offers, promotions and discounts and it runs regular contests to stay connected with its customers. It also addresses customer complaints through the Facebook page. 
PrintWeek India Creative Repro Company of the Year 2011, Bengaluru-based pre-media specialist, Honeycomb Creative Support joined Facebook in December 2011 and has attracted 10,834 likes. It is currently running a photography contest, The Photostop Photo Contest 2014. The page also features case-studies and client testimonials helping the visitors to get acquainted with the kind of work the company does.  
DOT is pretty new in the league and is catching the pace to build its brand. My advice to DOT is to add a few more pictures of the sort of products the company can produce and share case-studies, and fewer pics of the team. Good luck to them. We will follow up on how the social media strategy works for DOT in the coming months.

Ten Tips for Facebook
Create engagement with your followers.
Respond promptly to followers’ posts on your page
Keep posts short and grammatically correct. Shorter posts and photographs get more engagement.
Share tips and tricks. Add value with helpful information.
Keep your followers informed about your updates.
Don’t excessively self-promote. Keep your posts a mix of informative and fun pieces along with promotion.
Delete spam posts on your wall. Moderate followers’ posts regularly.
Over-posting is injurious. Post your updates at regular intervals rather than all at a time.
Don’t make negative remarks about your competition on your page.
Don’t share your trade secrets on Facebook page