Recently I read that virtual business cards are becoming a viable alternative to paper cards. However, there is still a huge demand for traditional business cards. When you meet someone, it is very unlikely that they will first ask you to tweet them for example. Instead, as your meeting comes to an end, you find yourself searching around in your pockets, bag or wallet for your trusty paper business card.
While the traditional business card trend is still going strong, you may want to consider optimizing the space on that little piece of paper. A growing number of professionals are finding it useful to include social media links on their business cards. Including social links on your card not only showcases your progressive approach to doing business, but it also gives your business contacts more choices in how they communicate with you.
If you are looking for new ways of promoting your social media presence, here are a few social media-friendly ideas for your business cards that will put you on the right track.
Sometimes simple is best. If you tend to focus most of your social media efforts on one social network, you may want to keep it simple by only printing your information for that particular network. The design of your card will benefit from the simplicity, and you’ll have more space for other features, like a social icon that identifies you.
As an alternative to keeping it simple, you can always vote to go with the “more, the merrier” approach. If you tend to be active on multiple networks, by all means, put them all on.
Along with listing a variety of social sites on your card, you may also choose to use social media icons to add a level of familiarity and recognizability to your links. For example twitter, facebook and/or youtube icons. When you give your card out to someone, the social icons are most likely are the first images to catch their eye. Visuals are always a great way to direct the eye.
It is common for businesses to print their websites on company business cards, but blog links aren’t so prevalent. In a lot of cases a blog link can be more useful than a corporate website, because a blog has the ability to show the personalities, ideas and happenings behind an organization.
One of the conflicts with creating a business card, social links in tow or not, is finding the balance between personal and professional information. Should you include your Twitter account or the corporate Twitter account? Do you need your cell phone number, or will the office phone suffice? Is it too self-promotional to include a link to your personal blog, or would it be better to just stick with a link to the corporate website? These are all valid questions, and each company will need to find their own comfortable balance.
Just an idea, why not just keep it 50/50? This approach seems to work best for entrepreneurs and business people who maintain an active professional life online, communicating through both personal and corporate channels.
Distinctive business cards present the opportunity to leave acquaintances with a lasting impression. At a conference, for example, a single person may receive tens or hundreds of business cards. After a few days of meeting people, faces and names can become a bit hazy. An accumulating stack of business cards can sometimes seem more like a useless collection than a resourceful base of connections. On the positive side, there are often a few cards that stand out. Most often the outliers utilize high quality paper, attractive designs, or technology.
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Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GREEN GRI
2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900