Awards & Engraving

August '17

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Amy Dallman, Epilog Laser, adds to that point. "A social media presence allows you to be more active, transparent, and engaging with your audience," she states. She adds that often social media profiles are checked even before a website, driving home the fact that a website is good to have—having a social media presence on top of that is even better. CREATING YOUR PROFILE While it's clear that having at least one social media profile is key to business, what may not be clear is where to start. Not every platform is right for a business, let alone an awards retailer. There is a huge range of social media accounts to take advantage of, so it's best to start with the basics. "Having a presence on the top three, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, is the best way to reach customers," Newman rec- ommends. "However, if you have never used social media for a business, jumping into multiple platforms can be overwhelming." She suggests starting with Facebook as it offers a free platform where users can easily search for your page and can contain basic company and product information that's simple to maintain. Once you've got that nailed down, Dallman suggests adding a few platforms that will specifically help an awards busi- ness showcase its products. "If you want to IMAGES COURTESY TROTEC LASER Optimal Lifespan of Social Media Posts SHELF LIFE 18 Minutes T W I T T E R 5 Hours F A C E B O O K 5 Hours G O O G L E + 1 Week P I N T E R E S T 13 Hours I N S T A G R A M © T r o t e c L a s e r , I n c . showcase your award selection and capabili- ties, Instagram and Pinterest are a bit more image focused," she points out. These are both great accounts to let customers and potential customers see your products. Having multiple social media profiles can be challenging to keep up with, but the good news is there are simple management tools you can use. "I recommend making life easy and posting across all of the plat- forms available using an online tool such as HootSuite," says Ragland. "With the ability to reach audiences across as many platforms as possible with the same effort it takes to manage one, I don't see any reason to pass up that opportunity." Once you get the wheels rolling, it can be hard to pass up on any opportunity available to reach customers, but do keep in mind that there are a few accounts that may not service your business as effectively. "While I hesitate to discourage marketing on any social media site, I have yet to wrap my head around Snapchat," Ragland says. "Snapchat posts vanish in 24 hours, and while big brands like Coca-Cola can pay a team of media geeks to engage Snapchat users on mobile devices seven days a week, those of us who can't might enjoy the ben- efits of having marketing efforts stay alive for the long term." Overall, it comes down to whether or not you have the time and resources to 48 • A&E AUGUST 2017

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