Social media

Using hashtags has become an essential element of online success. Each platform has their own rules and guidelines for hashtags, so understanding the basics of how to use them is #veryimportant. We understand that print owners don’t exactly have a lot of free time on their hands to learn social marketing strategies in addition to being experts on printing, design, large format, etc. Your friends at NPOA are here to help make this confusing topic more manageable for business owners like you.

How to Hashtag

Using a hashtag on a social post is really as simple as adding the # sign before a single word or phrase, without spaces or punctuation. You can also include numbers in your hashtags as well. Typing out a hashtag is simple enough, but there are some subtle nuances you should learn to get the most out of them. Typically, hashtags are used to emphasize a topic, to generalize a feeling or emotion. #learningsomuch

Why to Hashtag

Using hashtags help your target audience find you. People on all platforms desire to find other people or places with common interests, and thus turn to their search bar.

*insert stat about searching for common topics before committing to company for purchase* Individuals often turn to social media to find a local place to eat, find others who share interest in a niche topic, or to see what type of partners a company does work with.

Hashtag Rules:

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Words matter - but pictures are becoming more and more popular among social media users. According to Brain Rules, “Hear a piece of information, and three days later you'll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you'll remember 65%.” In a recent NPOA survey, you stated that you would like to learn more about how to use social media to your print shop's advantage. This article is to help print owners like you understand how visual content is just as important online as it is in a printed job. Here are the basics to help your shop's Instagram get off on the right foot:

The Basics

  • You must use your most recent logo as your profile picture. Usernames can sometimes be hard to identify; a logo is unmistakable.
  • Convert your account from a Personal Account to a Business Account.
    • This allows you to connect to your business Facebook page, provide contact info, and regulate comments on your content.
  • List your business location, email address, and phone number on your profile to make it as easy as possible to contact you.
  • Put your website in your profile! This is the only place that allows for a clickable URL on Instagram.

The Photo

  • Quality is key when trying to set yourself apart from the crowd on Instagram. Your Blackberry from 2008 isn’t going to take a picture that wows a potential customer. If your shop has a nice DSLR camera, use that to take all of your pictures; if not, a nice smartphone camera will do.
  • Find a place with plenty of natural light and a clean background to take your pictures if you can. Avoid dark, cluttered rooms - you are setting yourself up for failure if you can’t produce a quality picture of your quality printed product. 

Photo Editing

  • Restraint, restraint, restraint. There are a million third party photo editing apps at your disposal in addition to built-in photo adjustment software within Instagram itself. Nothing looks worse than a business that gets carried away with heavy filters or stylized effects.
  • Your best bet is to make slight edits to brightness and saturation so that the focus is on your photo’s content.


  • With over 700 million active Instagram users, reaching an ideal, local audience can be a difficult task. This is where hashtags come into play. Hashtags allow you to expose your content to a wider audience instead of just those who already follow you on Instagram, as users often search for topics in the search bar.
  • Find a balance between hashtags that are too generic and too specific, or you will not reach actual potential customers.

Tags and Geotags

  • There are two other means of tagging on Instagram. Geotagging allows you to reveal your location to everyone in the vicinity. People will often search their location for people and activities nearby. This is a perfect way to reach out to a local audience at a specific time.
  • You can also tag other user accounts. The account will show the picture that you tagged them in to all of their followers via their profile page. This helps to establish a trusted partnership between two accounts, which can form a common follower base.

Like your business’s Facebook page, pushing your brand does not necessarily mean you should try to make a sale at every turn. A simple ‘like’ or comment can do wonders for building a relationship with a person, business, or community. Cater to your ideal audience with a relatable brand voice that works for you and your print shop. 

Social media: a topic that business owners either love or hate. For those who cower in fear, this series of articles is for you. With a higher demand for printers to also become marketers, we’re here to guide your print shop through the basics of social media so that you can be one of the many businesses that increase their revenue by 24%, according to Sprout Social. We’ll start with the platform that you’re probably most familiar with: Facebook!

The Basics

  • Know the difference between Pages, Groups, and People. Your company should be represented with a Page: this allows users to identify you as a business, not an individual.
  • Your logo represents your business; your page will most likely be overlooked if it doesn’t have a logo for its profile picture. Your ‘cover photo’ can be a little more flexible, but still should appropriately represent your business.  
  • Make sure your page contains an accurate address, phone number, hours of operation, and website.
  • Your ‘Bio’ and ‘About’ sections should be relevant information, but not too wordy. Social media is all about quick and to the point.

Content is King

  • Original content (photos, videos, memes, etc.) is key to identifying your brand and to show that you are more than just a logo! Be creative: snap and post a picture of your latest job, introduce a new employee, or stream live from an event. Be yourself and your audience is more likely to form a connection.
  • Just like with a design and the paper it’s printed on, posting is a balancing act. Too many posts may result in people becoming desensitized to your content and potentially unfollowing you!
  • People want to get to know you, but not necessarily your opinions. Remain appropriate and non-controversial at all times.

Get to Know Your Customers

  • You. Are. Not. A. Robot. Engage with your followers! Comment back when they leave a message on a post, "like" local businesses, share customers’ relevant posts or articles. This shows that you value your audience and their opinions.
  • Come up with a posting plan that works with your business. Your presence should be regular, NOT occasional. You want your audience to be thinking about your company weekly.

Data, Data, Data

  • Social media platforms, like Facebook, can directly and indirectly generate sales. Know if your time on Facebook is well spent. ‘Facebook Insights’ breaks down the basics so you can analyze who likes interacting with your print shop and why. Utilize Facebook Insights to monitor your success with your fans and other helpful information such as demographics on your fans and when they are active.   
  • Read 21 quick facts on social media during 2017:

Facebook is an easy and low-cost way to reach a lot of people on a personal level. Take a whack at the social media monster with our help and be sure to follow NPOA’s Facebook account for constant industry news, trends, and advice!