Social Media for PSPs: #printchat Connects Print Professionals Worldwide

Twitter is used for different types of conversations. Presidents talk to citizens in their countries, Olympic champions share the joy of their accomplishments and professionals connect to peers across the globe. One specific development is relevant for printers that we wanted to highlight here. #printchat is a virtual meet-up with print-professionals that takes place every Wednesday. Dscoop went out to see who is behind #printchat and to show our members how it works. Curious? Read on and join in!

Q: Please introduce yourself and how you are involved with #printchat?
Hi! My name is Deborah Corn and thanks for your interest in #printchat! I am the chief blogger and social media maven for PrintMediaCentr, owner and cultivator of the 40,000+ member Print Production Professionals Group on LinkedIn, a freelance Print Production and Integrated Project Manager, a guest blogger on Printing Impressions and PaperSpecs, a true TV and pop-culture junkie, and the current host and moderator of the weekly #printchat on Twitter. I also work closely with Industry Events and Print Organizations with their marketing and social media efforts, and have recently started working with Printers and their Suppliers as well.
Q: What is #printchat?
#printchat is a weekly "tweet-up" for the purpose of exchanging ideas and information within the world of print and integrated marketing. By "tweet-up" I mean that the discussion is carried out on Twitter in real-time. To find the stream, log into Twitter and search #printchat. On Wednesdays, I use TweetChat to follow. It's free and will make a little chat room for you, so only the #printchat discussion is visible. Others use TweetDeck and HootSuite as well. Even though we have a dedicated meeting time each week, people are sharing great information using #printchat all the time, so it's a good one to follow.
Q: How did #printchat come about?
#printchat was started by Quad Graphics in 2011. In April of 2012 after a series of successful guest-hosting spots, Quad saw that PrintMediaCentr could take their vision to the next growth level, and unselfishly passed the hosting baton to me. While I have added my own flair to the mix, I do believe the core of what they began is still there and I am honored to serve the community and do my best to create a positive experience for all who participate. Since it has grown significantly, I really can't monitor it by myself and I'm very lucky that Sandy Hubbard takes on weekly co-hosting duties to make sure the chat stays on track and as many questions and comments as possible are responded to.
Q: How does #printchat work?
Well, in the most basic sense at 4 p.m. ET/11 p.m. CET every Wednesday if you follow #printchat on Twitter a topic is raised and questions are posed by me for the participants to respond to. However, sometimes we like to mix it up and invite guest hosts to share information (like HP did after drupa to tell us about the show and what they exhibited).
This past chat, I needed some fun in my day so I created a Virtual Marketing Agency called Lather. Rinse. Repeat. in which all participants helped create a product name and then an integrated marketing strategy for a new breakfast cereal for cats. Kitty Krispies ended up having the coolest campaign which included being able to upload your own cat's photo to a website for personalized packaging, a purr-sonalized direct mail campaign, guerrilla marketing, social media contests, and a nice discussion on how to find, capture and use the data from those efforts for the next stage of product roll out. All of that happened within one hour, communicating in less than 140 characters per tweet since all tweets must contain #printchat to be followed, with everyone bringing their creativity and expertise to the table for the good of Lather. Rinse. Repeat. As a matter of fact, Island Print Group just tweeted out an abridged recap of the Kitty Krispies chat. It will also become crystal clear what #printchat is and how it works so take a peek!
Q: Why should PSPs participate?
There are lots of reasons. To start off, it's a great way to meet and connect with people (peers, potential customers) who are active on social media and interested in sharing information, including yours, with their connections. Participation also gives you a platform to share your expertise and experience, and learn from others. The thing to keep in mind is that while there may be 50-80 people actually tweeting during #printchat, there is an exponential number watching, and those who read the stream after the chat has ended if they missed it. We are talking some pretty significant numbers. This week #printchat generated 448 tweets with 1,349,101 impressions, reaching audience of 197,815 followers… and quite honestly we have reached almost a half-million followers when we get some of the really big guns of Twitter tweeting with the hashtag.

#printchat is NOT about selling, it's about sharing. However, I must add this comment and since I spent over 22 years in ad agency print production (aka print buying) and still work with printers and integrated service providers for my freelance work, I hope it has some bearing on the participation issue. There are companies I have previously never heard of, that I would KILL to work with based upon their knowledge sharing in #printchat. How many cold calls and mailers and lunches and mixers and meetings does it take you for that same result?

Learn more about #printchat and everyone is invited to join Wednesdays at 4 p.m. ET/11 p.m. CET!
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