Twitter + Print: Combining the New and the Old to Grow Your Business

Live Twitter feed appears in a print adMuch of the marketing buzz on the net for the past few years surrounds using social media and content marketing to build your brand on the internet. There is definitely a reason why a great deal of content talks about social media and online marketing; online marketing is effective, trackable, reasonably priced, and provides a lot of control for targeting a specific demographic or consumer. But print advertising shouldn’t be entirely forgotten. In fact, it should be embraced by new marketing techniques to break down the barrier between print and online marketing, so your business or your clients have a more effective marketing strategy. Twitter and print is one area to start.

Why Twitter Matters

Any business with an online presence would be mistaken to think they can forego a Twitter presence. Twitter has 500 million active users. You can’t ignore a resource with that much reach. The service has been increasing in popularity every year and 2013 will be no different.

While Twitter posts and messages may seem hyper-active and less permanent compared to social media like Facebook or LinkedIn, that is actually an advantage of the service. Twitter provides businesses an ability to reach out to customers in a direct and timely (instant) manner.

Businesses can cultivate conversations with customers that help to create a brand presence. This allows them to provide immediate customer service as well, heading off potential disasters before they go bad. A post from August of 2011 from Star Group provides quite a few more reasons why Twitter is important, if you need more convincing.

Why Print Matters

Before the widespread adoption of the internet, print marketing and advertising was the name of the game. It’s easy to think that print is out of style, or not as effective as online marketing is. Many businesses have avoided print altogether. But print isn’t dead.

Print advertising is still effective for a variety of reasons. As one contributor explains for Forbes, print still has “advantages … over its digital counterparts.” These are: tangibility, credibility, branding, target marketing, and engagement level. Additionally, the fact that fewer businesses are using print ads means more opportunity for exposure of your ad (as well as cheaper prices).

Depending on your audience, print media can be as effective or more effective than online marketing. Using the right print media can help you use highly targeted marketing and advertising with tried and true effectiveness. Even better is combining Twitter and print to get the best of both worlds.

Combining Twitter and Print

There are plenty of steps you can take to help your business or clients combine their Twitter and print marketing strategies. Here are some ideas to help you get the most out of your marketing, culled from Matthew Peneycad on Business 2 Community, and other observations and examples from all over the web.

Cross-Promote Your Twitter and Print Activity

Be sure to use Twitter to promote your print advertising and vice versa. It’s easy to provide information on a print ad, guiding viewers to your Twitter feed. The same goes for sending out a tweet to you’re your followers to check out a new print ad. Incentivize your call to action with small prizes like discounts, recognition, or insider deals and rewards for active Twitter followers.

You can also promote really creative and awesome print ads with Twitter. Peneycad writes about a few more examples of unique print content that companies promoted via Twitter. He tells us that “Carlsberg created the print ad bottle opener, Volkswagen gave you a virtual test drive, and Lexus amazingly added audio and video to their print ad.” Sometimes the ad itself acts as buzz for taking advantage of the speed at which creative media can go viral on Twitter.

Learn from Creative Examples

There are a few companies who have truly embraced Twitter in their print ads. The creativity alone is enough to generate buzz if done properly. Mashable reported in October that CW Television Network created a print insert in Entertainment Weekly with an actual LCD screen displaying “the six latest tweets from @CW_Network beneath the words, “Follow us now.”” They got plenty of press and recognition from the ad and from people’s reaction to it.

Keach Hagey reported in November for the Wall Street Journal about Esquire Magazine’s interesting take on combining an app with print media. The app lets users interact with the print magazine through their smart phones. This isn’t directly a Twitter + print ad equation, but it can be a stepping stone for generating your own ideas. There are a lot of opportunities for creating separate Twitter feeds for print ads to specifically link to an ad, and incentives to get people tweeting and talking.

Include QR Codes and a Reason to Use Them

QR codes can be an easy way to connect your print ads with your Twitter feed. Make it easy for viewers of your ad to become a Twitter follower by placing a QR code on the print ad. It’s vital to tell them why they should follow you on Twitter, or offer an incentive, so be sure to include that info on your print ad.

Along those lines, you can promote a QR code in a print ad on Twitter. Make sure this QR code provides enough incentive for people to use it, like a special promotional offer, discounts, insider info, or anything else worthwhile. Before you start with these, make sure you view this list of mistakes you should avoid when using QR Codes!

Be Engaging

 Success on Twitter is about being engaging. In your print ads, encourage people to continue a conversation, express their opinions, or join in on a contest or promotion by using Twitter. You can use targeted print ads to guide consumers to your Twitter feed with this strategy, but you also need to keep them there. Be active and responsive with quality tweets about what people tweet about you and your print ads.

Give it a Shot, It Doesn’t Take Much

Adopting these strategies isn’t going to mean hiring a new team to manage your Twitter feed. It won’t take a lot of extra work to take your print ads to a new level by integrating them with Twitter. The more people tweeting and interacting with your business, the better.

Do you think Twitter and print advertising is a good strategy?

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Patrick currently lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, where he is studying for a Master's Degree in Intercultural Relations. Upon graduation from Penn State in 2008, he spent two years overseas in Kyrgyzstan with the U.S. Peace Corps. While writing is currently his chosen way to put food on the table, he loves fitness and exercise, which he believes makes up for his avid computer gaming habit.

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