Is it possible to build a service business entirely through social media? That’s the question I wanted to hear Kevin Swindell answer when I met him to discuss his brave new venture—Wyke Print Solutions. I first spotted Wyke Print Solutions on Twitter in 2014 and could see right away that the business was serious about finding success through social media. Through its tweets it demonstrated consistency, quality and engagement—three essential ingredients for developing a trusted presence on the network.
Soon afterwards I met Kevin at a networking event organised by Weymouth & Portland Chamber of Commerce and we ended up on the same table at the Chamber’s Christmas lunch.
I was keen to talk to Kevin about the way he had built up his business using social media and we later met over a pint at the Wyke Smugglers and spent an enjoyable hour of discussion around design, marketing and social media.
The background to Wyke Print Solutions
Like so many of us, Kevin’s self-employed career began with redundancy. His entrepreneurial abilities were already surfacing and he had wanted to experiment with social media on behalf of his employer but was held back.
Once released, he decided to merge his understanding of print, his passion for design and his desire for control. Wyke Print Solutions was the outcome—a printing company without any printers.
Kevin spotted an opportunity to utilise the spare capacity in existing print firms by selling his own design service together with the printed product. When you order from Kevin, he creates the artwork and sources the printer, meaning your product is designed, printed and delivered to your door. And he has a ‘thing’ about quality.
Which social channels does Wyke Print Solution use?
New to social media in 2013, Kevin began with Twitter and Facebook. These are still his main social networks.
Initially he linked them, so tweets appeared on Facebook and vice versa, but he soon spotted that this was far from ideal. Because each social network tends to be used differently, and presents content differently, automated sharing of messages can lead to posts that look odd or are confusing.
Kevin makes some use of LinkedIn, has established a presence for Wyke Print Solutions on Google+ and uses Pinterest as a source of inspiration rather than a marketing tool.
Winning business with a hashtag
So how about that question I had—about growing a business entirely with social media? Kevin reckons that about 80% of his business comes from his social media activities, and much of that from Twitter. And much of that is as a result of the #dorsethour hashtag.
Since he began in late 2013, Kevin has built a strong portfolio of clients both in Dorset (including me) and further afield. His international reach includes Belgium, Dubai and the USA. Interestingly, he found it easier to source a printer in Florida through LinkedIn than by using Google search.
So how does he make social media work for him? There are no secrets—you can take a look at what Kevin shares on social media and how he engages with other people. In the end it comes down to those three ingredients I mentioned before: consistency, quality and engagement.