Social media is a flexible tool that can be effectively used for your marketing, as we discussed in the previous posts of this series. It is inexpensive (or even free), it provides good exposure to the audience, it helps promote your services, and it boosts brand awareness. In this post, we talk about how to actively engage MSP prospects on social media.
Most companies treat their social media activities as passive promotions. They make sure they have their three-four posts a day with relevant content and track the traffic generated by those posts. This can bring you some results and is not very time consuming, unlike actively engaging with your followers.
Active social media engagement, however, can be more effective as it basically allows you to generate and grow “real relationships” with your followers. It requires quite a bit of effort:
- Encourage comments in your posts
- Respond to all comments
- Send thank you notes for when people start to follow you and follow them back
- Create polls and quizzes
- Provoke discussions
It may not sound like substantial work, but believe me, this alone can be a full-time job.
Most MSPs can’t afford to have an employee spending 20+ hours a week on social media. Today, we want to share some tips about leveraging active social media engagement without wasting man-hours and marketing dollars.
What makes the social media environment so unique is its ability to reach almost anyone. Many salespeople actually use it to find and contact cold leads one-on-one. It is the cold-calling of the 21st century, so to speak. To make the most out of it, you should re-assign social media management from your marketing team to your sales team.
- Ask your marketing team to collaborate with sales reps on developing target audience criteria (demographic, interests, geographic location, size of the company, title, and even specific companies you want to go after).
- Ask your marketing team to create a draft of the message or just talking points and also valuable content (landing pages, brochures, white papers) for your sales reps to use.
- Instruct your sales reps to find and reach out to people who fit these criteria.
Let your sales team do their magic and your marketing back them up with valuable materials and content.
There are thousands of people on the Internet who’ve made social media their job. They spend all their time on creating original content and promoting it on various social media platforms. Their public appearance becomes their “personal brand”. These people are called influencers because they gain and maintain their audience so well that they can influence their decisions regarding products, services, and more.
In most cases, influencers choose to focus on a very niche topic to ensure their audience is always engaged. For example, Eli the Computer Guy creates video content around all-things IT on YouTube. Another example is Shep Hyken, the Customer Service Expert, who is active on all major social media platforms.
There are several types of people who fall into this category:
- Industry professionals/entrepreneurs/veterans who maintain their reputation (“personal brand”) on social media
- Well-known industry journalists
- Book authors
- Key-note speakers
- Industry enthusiasts
To find those people, spend some time going through social media feeds or searching by keywords and hashtags. You will quickly notice the names that pop-up more frequently than any others.
Most influencers welcome collaborative projects with businesses. For some of them, this is their main source of income. Others get engaged purely out of enthusiasm. Whatever the influencer’s reasons for working with you, collaborative projects are great for brand awareness and lead generation, as they gain you access to a highly engaged target audience.
Evangelists are people who advocate for your company because of their personal trust in and bond with your brand. Who can be a better advocate for your business than your customers? MSPs are known for their careful attention to their relationships with customers. You likely already have strong advocates and don’t even realize it.
Usually, evangelists or advocates promote you organically and don’t need to be asked for any specific actions. But who said you can’t get creative with this? Here are some ideas for how to leverage your relationships with the customers on social media:
- Make sure you connect with your customers on all relevant social media accounts. Not only will this make you more visible, but you will also get an additional communication channel in case you need it. Following your customers on social media will also make you aware of their personal and business events you may not have known about otherwise.
- Tag your customer key contact in your social media posts when appropriate (after meeting them at a conference or posting their case study). Don’t forget to mention how much you appreciate working with them. People usually respond to such posts if they are active on social media.
- Once in a while, ask your trusted customers to repost your social media posts containing significant company news. People usually don’t mind sharing things like that, especially if you let them know how important it is for your business. It is a very easy favor that will make them feel that they’ve helped you grow.
On the other hand, there’s one strong objection to the idea of connecting with your customers on social media. Many business owners prefer not to showcase their customers either on their website or social media to prevent their competitors from targeting them. But if you have trusted relationships with your customers, then you shouldn’t be worried about losing them over a lower competitive offer. After all, you bring priceless value to your relationships.
Following these simple tips and connecting with the right people on social media will help you grow your brand awareness and boost “word of mouth” promotion of your services.