Should Traditional Business Cards be Discarded?

business cards

In a digital age, do we still need business cards? With LinkedIn and smartphones, not to mention email, is it still necessary to hand someone a 3.5-by-2 inch piece of paper? Is it environmentally responsible? Many of our traditionally printed materials are going digital: newspapers, books, records, and files. Is it time now to give up business cards?

The First Cards

Should Traditional Business Cards be Discarded?
In Jane Austen novels, cards are always presented by visitors

The first version of the business card dates all the way back to the 15th century. “Visiting cards” were used in China to request a visit with someone or prove credentials at an important establishment. When the cards reached Europe in the 1600s, they were used for everything from business interactions to dating. These evolved into “trade cards”, which became common in the 1600s. Trade cards had promotional messages printed on one side and a map to the business on the other. These were initially used by the upper class—truly calling cards. Remember how every Jane Austen character presented a card upon arrival?

Trade cards melded with visiting cards to create the modern business card. Combining personal and business info happened with the advent of the industrial revolution in the 1700s and 1800s. The cards became more common and were no longer reserved for the elite.

In Defense of Business Cards

There’s an argument that says you look unprepared and unprofessional without a business card. The counter-argument is that having a card can make you look young and inexperienced. Who’s right?

There are advantages to having a business card. You can use one to show off your personal style. A business card can make you memorable by serving as a physical reminder of an interaction—a prompt that brings you to mind. They also cater to an older clientele that expects to be given a business card. Finally, business cards can make an employee feel like a valued part of the company.

In Defense of a Digital Connection

Those who argue that business cards should become obsolete say all the info on a card can be found online. And if you have an initial meeting with a client, when you’d usually hand out a card, you obviously already have all that info. Accessing those details digitally means you have a record that never gets lost in your wallet or accidentally run through the washing machine.

Should Traditional Business Cards be Discarded?
A digital connection expands your network

When you connect digitally, you’ve made a networking connection. With an app like LinkedIn, your info is immediately visible to a wider audience. Your profile is linked to the original contract but can also be seen by other potential contacts. Unlike a paper business card, you can keep an electronic profile updated. Speaking of which, make sure you have a digital presence so you can be found in an online search.

Business in the Digital Age

If you decide to stick with a traditional business card, why not make it a little less traditional? An interactive video card has an audio and video component in a sort of business card booklet. This book contains a tiny 2.4 inch LCD screen that plays your video message. Another option is the interactive business card with augmented reality, which is kind of like a QR code gone wild.

Remember Bump? This was a digital solution for exchanging business cards  created in 2008. People would literally bump phones to exchange information. If both parties had the app and the phones ware close enough, electronic information would be swapped. Bump generated huge initial backing and was eventually bought by Google. In the end, the app was used more for photo sharing and connecting with friends than as a business tool. Bump was shut down in early 2014.

International Business

Should Traditional Business Cards be Discarded?
International business practices vary

While the business card has declined in importance in the US, this isn’t the case everywhere. It’s never a bad idea to take business cards to an international event. In Japan, business cards (known as “meishi”) are held in high regard. If you’re doing business in the Land of the Rising Sun, cards should be printed in both English and Japanese. When presenting your card, etiquette dictates that it’s passed out with both hands, with the Japanese side facing up. When receiving a business card, it should be accepted with both hands and the purveyor should be thanked. Writing on a business card or carelessly shoving it in your pocket is seen as disrespectful behavior.

Paper or Digital?

If you decide the traditional business card is played out, there are many alternatives to consider. Whether you opt to use a business card or connect digitally, follow-up seems to be the most important part of networking. Making an initial impression is important, but so is making a lasting impression.

Repurposing One Video for Multiple Platforms

one video multiple platforms

In our overcrowded, resource-hungry world it’s important to be respectful of the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. With that in mind, this blog will take a fictional business and show you how one video can be used to create tailored content for four major social media platforms. Maybe we won’t save the world, but we will save time and money.

The Business

Our hypothetical business for this video marketing exercise will be Pressed & Steamed (P&S), a neighbourhood dry-cleaning and coffee hub. In this scenario, we’re going to make them a promotional video to introduce the new shop to potential patrons. Their target market is area residents who need dry-cleaning services or drink coffee; ideally, they do both.

The Video

Repurposing One Video for Multiple Platforms
Animated videos are great for promotion

After meeting with the client and assessing their needs, we’ve decided a ninety-second animated video is the best approach. In this video, we’ll talk about the services offered, give details such as location and hours and establish a personality for the business. After adding some happy music and a friendly voice-over, we have a finished product that’s ready to promote P&S. The full video will have a home on the shop’s website, while we have other plans for how to use the material on social media.

Facebook

Facebook users really like videos! In fact, videos are twice as popular as other post formats on average. The types of videos that do well on Facebook include live videos, how-tos and blog posts. Hubspot research tells us one-minute videos get watched, liked and shared. In an effort to reach P&S’s audience, we cut our ninety-second video down to sixty seconds. Then, we post the video directly to their Facebook page since users are more likely to watch a video than click on a link that takes them to a video.

Twitter

Repurposing One Video for Multiple Platforms
GIFs work well on Twitter

Now it’s time to put some eye-catching content on Twitter to attract new business. People go to Twitter for news, GIFs and blog posts. Visuals draw attention on Twitter, so we could post a video—the platform will run a piece that’s up to almost two-and-a-half minutes. Also, any video that’s 6.5 seconds or shorter will automatically loop. Since people and businesses often post to Twitter several times a day, we’re going to give P&S three options. First, we’ll create a GIF of coffee being poured from our full-length video. Then, we’ll provide a still image of clothes hanging on a rack. Finally, P&S will have a forty-five-second version of the final video to post since Twitter users like their info short and sweet. With each post, P&S can include a few words about their services, highlight a special or announce their grand opening.

Instagram

We all love Instagram for the photos, right? So here’s a chance for P&S to show their followers what’s new. Since behind-the-scenes videos are very popular online, we’re going to satisfy curiosity AND post a great pic. For their account, P&S can use a shot of our animator working on their video. Now they have an insider’s perspective on a project that they can promote while also promoting their business—so many levels! They can tease the video with this shot and include a link to the full piece.

LinkedIn

Repurposing One Video for Multiple Platforms
Use LinkedIn to connect with like businesses

LinkedIn is the business end of social media. Obviously, this is the place to talk about job openings and also an opportunity to concentrate on company culture. It’s a good idea to speak to the professionals in your target audience on this platform and build some credibility in your field. We’re going to go ahead and post a link to the full video on P&S’s website with a tease that introduces a new business in the area that sells high-end coffee and offers environmentally-friendly dry-cleaning.

One Video, Many Uses

So there you have it. That’s how a single video can be repurposed to suit specific social media platforms. At Key West Video, we work with clients to create whatever they need to reach their audience. We also keep all our materials archived in case a client wants to rework footage or animation in the future. Call us today for a free quote.