Awards & Engraving

November '17

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A&E NOVEMBER 2017 • 39 Hale: My business has gained so many ben- efits since I started utilizing social media as my primary platform for marketing my business. For me, one of the major benefits I have gotten is social interaction with my customers. One Facebook feature I use often is Facebook messenger. Messenger allows me to have one-on-one communication with my customers, especially when issues may arise with their orders. I'm able to give them that personal touch by responding in a timely manner. Utilizing Facebook groups and pages has given me the opportunity to begin lis- tening to what others are saying about my company and groups. Another great way of interacting with our customers is with Facebook Live and YouTube live videos. We have a weekly webcast called The Pressing Times by StamyTV. We utilize these live videos to give our customers and members the latest news regarding our industry. We do a lot of how-to videos. I really feel like they enjoy being able to communicate with us live and see that we are real people doing what they do. We work in same environment as most, which is from our homes, garages, and basements. Q: How did you learn to use social media? Hale: I really don't know how it started! Most of my customers and members don't know that I did online tech support from home for 15 years. I've always been the techy kind of person I guess. And social media was just natural for me. Q: How many hours per day do you average on social media for business purposes? Hale: I would say at least 12 hours a day. I start my day checking email. Between orders and messages, it takes me an hour to filter through those. Then I move on to Facebook. I get over 50 Facebook messages a day. I try to answer every single message. Even when I overlook a message and I get to it a week later, I respond letting them know I got it and apologize for the delay. Most of my messages are members from my group looking for guidance and help. I love those messages! Then I spend the rest of the day going through all four groups, responding to member's posts. Q: Has your social media usage for busi- ness purposes increased, decreased, or stayed the same in the last year? Hale: Oh, definitely increased! I wouldn't have gotten as far as I have without all the great people that have helped me grow. My business is where it is today because of my Facebook sublimation group. I started the group in January 2015 and we now have almost 17,000 members. We get an average of 50 to 100 new member requests a day. I started this group when I first started my venture into sublima- tion. At the time, there was only just a few groups on Facebook. The negativity in these groups was horrible. Anyone wanting to get into the industry was almost shamed for asking questions on how to get started. I wanted to change this. I wanted a place that new and experi- enced people could go to "Learn, Create & Inspire" (our motto). Today there are many groups mimicking what I have created, and I feel honored by this. This isn't about me—it's about the purpose of helping people succeed in this industry. So, it doesn't matter to me whether they get the help from my group or other groups, as long as people have a place to get help is all that matters. I do want to give my admins a shout-out here. Running a group this size is not an easy task. I could not do it without them. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes to run a group as successful as ours. Thank you, Stan, Jen, Dee, Nell, Todd, Wade, Shannon, and Daryl. Not only do I have a great crew of admins but I have established lifelong friendships. SOCIAL MEDIA IS A MUST FOR TODAY'S SUBLIMATORS Whether it is learning the ins and outs of how to sublimate, network with other sublimators, or connect with your current customers or potential customers, social media is something that all sublimators should be using. You are not alone in what you are doing, although it may seem like it. Sometimes you may not feel plugged in, especially when you may be a home-based business. Joining a social media sublima- tion community can help you in many parts of your business. Kevin Lumberg is a Sublimation Sales Spe- cialist at Johnson Plastics Plus. Visit Johnson Plastics Plus on the web at www.johnsonplas- For further information, Kevin can be reached at 800-869-7800 ext. 5737 or by email at Sublimation A&E

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