Are business cards still necessary in times of social media?


In the age of social media, with people increasingly connecting via platforms like LinkedIn and Xing, handing out little cards might have come to seem more and more old-fashioned. Photo: Conscious Design/Unsplash

As many companies were forced to enter the digital world during the pandemic, real-world mixers and industry meet-ups have also increasingly moved online.

One habit that is being rendered particularly obsolete, thanks to this development: printing your own business card.

In the age of social media, with people increasingly connecting via platforms like LinkedIn and Xing, handing out little cards might have come to seem more and more old-fashioned even before the onset of the coronavirus.

If we are to believe experts, however, there are “no signs that it’s going out of style,” says Bettina Knape from the German Printing and Media Industries Federation (BVDM).

Career coach Silke Freudenberg also reports of young entrepreneurs who increasingly rely on paper again: “Of course, they can connect quickly with their phones. But there’s a difference between meeting online and in person.”

The business card is therefore indispensable, the expert believes.

According to Freudenberg, business cards still play a huge role in all sectors today, from politics, industry and manufacturing to the media and culture.

“Particularly those with their own business should definitely get a business card,” she recommends.

The right font and material

For many, it’s important that the little card isn’t just a boring slip of paper but can garner attention, says Knape.

“There’s a shift to higher value business cards.”

According to German printers Vistaprint, customers increasingly value high quality paper and print. In addition, individual and professional designs are becoming more important.

More and more customers now also use their business card to draw attention to their online presence, for example by printing a QR code that links to the company’s website, according to Vistaprint.

Freudenberg recommends creating business cards and websites in the same design.

Less is more

Once the printing part has been taken care of, the question remains: When is it best to hand out your card?

“As early as possible,” believes German etiquette expert Clemens Graf von Hoyos.

If the other person hasn’t understood your name correctly, for example, this is a great opportunity to offer them your business card, he recommends.

Another possibility is handing them out casually before everyone sits down at a meeting. At trade shows, however, it only makes sense to give out your card if you really intent to get in touch over business interests.

As a general rule, you shouldn’t force your card on others and certainly not hand them out at random. “Excessive use would only leave the impression that you are particularly desperate,” says the etiquette expert. – dpa

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