With most things you can’t tell how much preparation and work went into their development. This is true for an exquisite dish and also for a campaign that achieves its desired effect. In the past weeks I sometimes thought “my dear friend, what have you done to yourself!”. However, there is nothing better than having your guests tell you how unspeakably delicious the meal was or the likes, retweets and comments on your post telling you that you struck a nerve. In this way, the success of the Think Print Movie and its viral spread in social networks can be reproduced. In the beginning there is always an idea – I would like to share how it came to be successful.
I am completely convinced that a world without print does not work. “No Print, no Business” is how I formulated my postulate. I always look ahead and think about what the world will look like tomorrow. A world in which everything happens quickly and in which even if a pandemic first slows us down, it then acts as a booster for digitalization.
“Do good and talk about it”, this quote is, as is often the case, attributed to different authors. But regardless of whether it was the book author Georg-Volkmar Graf Zedtwitz-Arnim (what a name), or Albert Oeckl, German PR and communications scientist, or the founder of Philip Morris, George Weissman, who coined the saying, they all had something to say and would probably have used social networks to make their opinions or advertisements known.
In 2020 I was on stage at the Online Print Symposium for the eighth time. Altogether, including all of the presentations over the last 8 years, I have presented my ideas live in front of about 3,000 people. At OPS, I usually speak for about 20 minutes, sometimes a little longer for other presentations. The interrelationships of disruptive technologies are complex and cannot be explained within a short period of time. At least I thought so! The future of print, in a nutshell, accessible to everyone. This concept drove me crazy at the beginning of this year. The very best people manage to get to the point, clearly and understandably, to everyone. The best scientists are not egoists but share their knowledge.
When I was a child at the tender age of 11, many people my age wanted to become Jedi knights or firemen. Today, many 11-year-olds want to become YouTube or Instagram influencers. Only a few became Jedi Knights or Firefighters. But those who made it have a solid education. Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim is first and foremost a chemist and only after that did she become a successful web video producer. “My advice is not to become a youtuber or influencer in the first place, but to be qualified to be an expert in something,” stresses the Mailab moderator on her YouTube channel.
The development of our strategy began with the definition of goals and objectives. Without goals, neither success nor Return on Investment (ROI) can be measured. A goal is only a goal if it is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and scheduled. Almost all project managers follow this textbook formula. The social media experts warned us, however, not to base the campaign solely on numbers. The social media vanity metrics are controversial. On the one hand, they are easy to understand. On the other hand, they are also easy to manipulate. Bought followers, who push the Likes, but bring the company absolutely nothing, except to bask in the glow of thousands of fans. At the same time, social media is all about these key figures. However, it can hardly be the goal of a publication for the printing industry to become a top scorer in the social media charts and statistics of nindo.de. That would not be achievable and also not relevant. So we have rather oriented ourselves towards like-minded people in order to define an achievable brand for ourselves.
A campaign has to fit the target group and for that you have to research the target group thoroughly. We collected real data and avoided assumptions. The figures show, for example, that Millennials are still more strongly represented on Facebook than the baby boomers. I thought it was the other way around.
Although we are the first to have a Think Print Movie in the German-speaking printing industry, we are of course not the only ones to address digitization (about 28,700,000 results in 0.62 seconds on Google) and disruption (about 104,000,000 results in 0.52 seconds on Google). What is happening elsewhere in the other industries? What can we learn from them? “Nothing is so bad that it cannot at least be used as a deterrent,” I often think. We have conducted an analysis. We were able to build up a good feeling regarding the expectations in the industry.
“We had a clear opinion about the future of print and wanted to use social networks and media to spread the word. My team and I never thought that it would turn out to be such a big and successful social media campaign.” – Bernd Zipper
It is sometimes frightening how few CEOs deal with social media. Only a small percentage of those responsible are active themselves. Well, print shops have never been known for having the best advertising materials. But at least they can produce them. If they have never been involved in anything, how do they plan to get involved? Business is done where the customer is, and the greater the network, the better. That’s it, I nearly said. Zipcon is active on social media and we took a step back to see what we’ve achieved. What works? What is not working? Who is connecting with us and me in social media? Which social media networks does the target group use?
Although we were not affected by this, it must be mentioned for the sake of completeness. Yes, there are also fraudsters on the net. It is not uncommon to come across fraudulent accounts using your company name or product name during a scan. These scammers can damage the brand (not to mention the fact that they deduct followers who should be yours). This is where social networking providers have set up reporting systems. It is also a good idea to have your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts verified to give followers the assurance that they are actually dealing with you. WhatsApp Business (there is also an API for it) allows companies to connect directly with customers. This is another way to communicate in a legitimate fashion.
For this project we formed a team from our own ranks. It was about getting familiar with the possibilities to publish my idea and to use the different channels. (At this point I would like to express my sincere thanks to Jessica Kelley, zipcon Analyst & Social Media Expert and Sandra Bellof, zipcon Event & Marketing Communications Specialist).
In order to check a plan, defined test points are required. This also applies to the campaign. The task was to develop a social media content calendar. This is indispensable for sharing the content with pinpoint accuracy. A social media content calendar must also include the amount of time spent interacting with the target group (and leave some room for spontaneous engagement). The calendar lists all dates and times when we publish content on each of our channels. In this way, we have all social media activities perfectly planned – from sharing pictures and links to blog posts and videos. A calendar ensures that posts are evenly distributed and published at the best possible times. It was necessary to explore the best time to publish. This is where the analysis tools provided by the platform operators help. There is specialized social media software like Hootsuite, Facelift Cloud, swat.io, socialpilot and some others.
We are a company and we enjoy our work very much. We think long-term and not every investment needs to pay off in the shortest possible time. But we are not romantic dreamers and do not waste our time. Therefore, only reasonable monitoring helps. Impressions are the common key figure in the online marketing industry. Impressions indicate how often the mail was shown on the screen for the target group. If the mail is displayed on the screen and someone scrolls down and up again, it counts as one impression. If a person’s mail is displayed on the screen at two different times in one day, two impressions are counted. The fact that the entire Think Print Movie campaign to date has achieved 895,164 impressions on Facebook, 54,598 on beyond-print.de and 132,502 on beyond-print.net almost blew me away. (I was already impressed when the article with Patrick Leibold from Celebrate had over 10,000 impressions). We also found it interesting that over 70 percent of the people reached followed the campaign on their desktop. From this we can conclude that these followers have watched the campaign at their workplace.
It was also exciting to see how the campaign, which we launched on August 4, 2020, developed. This time we focused on a so-called teaser campaign. We deliberately generated excitement and attention over several weeks without saying exactly what it was about. Again, and again the 1.9.2020 was mentioned, i.e. the day on which we finally released the Think Print Movie. We deliberately didn’t give any concrete indications in advance to arouse the curiosity of our readers, and we did so in many different ways: For example, with short videos, quotes from the video, Instagram stories, soundbites or simply pictures. A complete success, as the figures provided proof that viral marketing works and that the message of the Think Print Movie has been received. While Facebook and Co. are very broad-based, a status message on WhatsApp can be used to inform people in a very targeted manner. The sometimes very personal feedback touched me. Thank you very much for every reaction.
But (I should capitalize it) completely new is the paradox we were confronted with in the social media campaign. There were many different things we tried and some of the expected did not work. In this way we found out what our subscribers do and don’t like on Facebook. Every social media platform has its own characteristics. For example, it can happen that you ask a question on Facebook and receive no answer, while asking the same question on LinkedIn generated numerous interactions.
When building a social media strategy, it is important for companies not to be afraid to try new methods or posts that are different from what you normally do or from what others do. It is important for the future of any company to deal with viral marketing. Start going to the social media sites of your target audience and interact with them. Post your statements/topics in their comment area, this will attract the people or companies addressed and their followers to your social media pages. Start today in viral marketing and create your first social media account!