Seven Tips to Help 
In-plants Get Social

Julie Shaffer is vice president, digital technologies, at Printing Industries of America. She heads up the Digital Printing Council and the Center for Digital Printing Excellence.

For a full plan on how you can start a social media program for your in-plant, read this new book by Julie Shaffer and Mary Garnett: “Social Media Field Guide: A Resource for Graphic Communicators.”

Social media is all about engaging your audience. In-plants can benefit nicely from this.

EVIDENCE OF how social media is taking the business world by storm is everywhere. Facebook “Like” buttons, Twitter links and invitations to follow RSS feeds seem to grace every Web site.

Business news is full of social media success stories, like the brilliant Old Spice campaign, in which a buff “Old Spice Guy” admonishes that while most men can’t look like him, they can smell like him. That campaign mixed old media (TV) with social media; people were invited to ask the Old Spice Guy questions via Facebook and Twitter, and over 200 of those questions were answered via videos posted on YouTube and Facebook. The videos went viral, sales of the stodgy brand Old Spice soared and social media was cemented as a key component in a B2C marketing campaign.

While stories like this show the power of social media engagement for big business marketing, can it do anything for an in-plant? It can do plenty. Social media is all about engagement, establishing a place for dialog with an audience, and that can be as useful for an in-plant as it can for a major consumer brand. It’s also a great way to learn and to teach, and it is a conduit to a world of information well outside the walls of one’s own organization.

Here are seven tips to help an in-plant operation take advantage of the social media tools out there today.

1 Establish a plan of action before you start.

As with any new venture, the first stage is always planning. Get to know any social media venues your organization already has in place and make note of who takes part in the discussion there. Think about the types of communication you would like to have with your audience and how much time you have to devote to the cause.

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."

Related Content