Thursday, May 24, 2012

Business cards matter in a social media world (TTT #19)

Welcome to Tarleton Tip Thursdays, where every week we give you tips on how to harness the power of social media.  This week we discuss social media icons and business cards. The following originally appeared in the Stephenville Empire-Tribune on May 15, 2012 and is reprinted with permission.
Instagram photo taken by TSMRI.

 Business cards matter in a social media world
With social media growing rapidly and the majority of marketing happening through the Internet, your business can still grow with the help of some of the “old school” business tactics – namely business cards.

Instead of just showcasing your business name, phone number and website, you could add your social media connections: the F for Facebook icon or P for Pinterest. This lets new clients know you have a social media presence. Make sure you have active pages that are checked daily, multiple times.
Before spending time and money adding social media outlets on your business card or any type of promotion or marketing, there are some legal terms to review. For example, Facebook allows the use the “f” inside the blue square graphic, not the full-word Facebook logo located on the top left of the Facebook page. 

Facebook isn’t the only social media site with rules and regulations when it comes to promoting your brand through their social media. Each site has its own set of guidelines and can be relatively easy to find through the help settings or even a quick Google search. Twitter permits the use of its current logo and Twitter bird, and Pinterest allows the use of the logo and P in a red circle image. Be sure to read the copyright/trademark pages for extra details.

Each logo was obtained from the social network's home page.

Notice I mentioned a few social media outlets— not TEN! Ask current customers where they spend most of their social media time. Your social media choices say something about your business. When you pass out a business card with a Twitter account, it says “hey, this person is cool and hip — he/she has a Twitter account.” 

Avoid cluttering your business card with social media accounts you do not actively use. That won’t help your bottom line. Think of which social media outlet you would want to see grow or which is most effective when it comes to getting the word out about your business. Looking to reach males? Research suggests that men dominate in Google +, where other platforms are almost 50/50 by gender. Have a female customer base? Women outnumber men on Pinterest

To avoid clutter on your already-packed business card, do NOT place the entire URL to your social media pages on the business card. Simply say “find us” and the use the acceptable social media icons to direct people to your sites.

Consider ordering a smaller quantity of business cards and letterhead more frequently, so you can keep up with social media trends and have them reflected. Business cards are one part of your printed image. Adding social media contacts is also great for letterhead. Who knows? Maybe next time your potential customers are on Facebook, they will remember your company and check out your page.  
With social media saturating our lives, don’t forget the power of the traditional business customs. Sound off on the Empire-Tribune Facebook page. Which icons have you added to your business card?

 The Texas Social Media Research Institute, based at Tarleton State University, is a cross-discipline collaboration focused on social media. Find us on Twitter and Facebook. Intern Brooke King authored this column.

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