Social Media and Managed Print

Social media are playing an increasing role in many aspects of business, including human resources and recruitment, product sales and marketing, customer service and support and employee collaboration.

A growing number of companies are using FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and other social networking sites to take advantage of new opportunities.

Do social media tools have any place in the managed print services business? Yes, says DeWayne Colson, president and owner of LSI Marketing and Design, a provider of managed print and office equipment and supplies in Lake Oswego, Ore.

“I believe it’s going to be [useful] in any sales business,” Colson says. He says LSI is not yet doing much with social media but is closely watching developments in social technologies to see how the various online resources could be used to advance its managed print business.

Social media can be a great way to spread the word about services such as managed print, Colson says. “For more and more people, especially younger people, that’s how they’re communicating,” he says.

Many online users are relying less on platforms such as email and instant messaging and more on social media sites to share information, Colson says.

Someone on FaceBook might be chatting with a friend or coworker and mention the idea of managed print, and maybe provide links to solution providers’ sites.

“It’s a communication and education tool, and something that makes it easier” to learn about and get in touch with managed service providers, Colson says. “Anything you can do to make that happen is in your favor. The key is keeping on top of it and making sure you’re on the right social media. I think there’s huge potential.”

While companies such as LSI are exploring social media for their own businesses, some industry social networking sites are in full force. See how Facebook http://www.facebook.com/ManagedPrintSpot and LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/groupsabout=&gid=3884946&trk=anet_ug_grppro provide interactive forums that help the channel succeed with managed print services.