Awards & Engraving

August '17

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There are a plethora of sites out there that fall under the category of social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Insta- gram, Pinterest… the list seems to grow every day. It may be hard to know which ones will be the most useful for awards shops. It may be even more difficult to know how to set up a business page and conduct it versus a personal account. Luckily, there are a few industry insiders who have pointers to help you navigate the waters. ARE YOU SOCIAL? If your awards and engraving business doesn't currently have a social media presence, or even an online presence at all, then it's time you got one. The importance of this is obvious for many reasons, but let's let the numbers do the talking. "In today's market, 75 percent of consumers research a company online prior to making a purchase, and about 90 percent rely on an online search rather than using a phone book to find a local retailer," states Meredith Newman, Trotec Laser. Those staggering numbers prove why some type of online presence is a must. And more specifically, a social media account(s) can be a game changer. "The best way for a company to grow both presence and reputation is through social media engagement," she believes, adding that having a social media platform increases brand awareness, legitimizes your business, can help increase sales, improves customer service, and helps distribute content. All of this happens through one simple act: engagement. "Today's online audience is engaged in social media multiple times per day," says Kelly "Rags" Ragland, Rags to Stitches Pro- ductions. It's crucial, then, that awards retailers use their social media accounts to actually interact with their audience. A&E AUGUST 2017 • 47

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