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It’s mandatory for your MSP business to use social media (SM) for marketing today; and an integral component of your success. Everyone uses SM, and businesses are taking advantage of it to develop connections with prospects, leads, and customers.
SM is about building a circle of influencers, clients, prospects and others. We live in a society that doesn’t want to be sold. We’re all hit with advertisements everywhere we go. What we want is to build relationships with people we trust. That’s why SM has grown so quickly in the last decade.
The demographics for Facebook and LinkedIn are middle-aged adults looking for connections, both personal and business. People are more likely to follow a brand if they don’t feel like they’re constantly sold to. You need to build trust before you can successfully promote your brand.
(Tip: Don’t join every platform. Choose the ones that you believe will work best for you. Facebook and Twitter are more personal, where LinkedIn is more business-like.)
The Human Connection
If you already have a relationship with business associates, try connecting with them on Facebook. It’s more personal than the other platforms. Post information that you’re interested in. Perhaps, something you saw in the news, or that you’re happy about a sports team winning a game. These are things that will help people connect with you on an individual basis.
(Tip: If you don’t first have a human connection, it’s tough to get your foot in the door to sell.)
Join groups in your vicinity, in your verticals, or any other SM sites where you believe prospects, leads and customers may be “hanging out.” Engage with your audience. Develop relationships. There’s no use having a Twitter or LinkedIn account if you don’t connect with people.
Post content that will draw people to your business. Folks don’t want to see a cold piece of advertising. They want to see you as a person, learn about your values and those of your MSP business.
Appeal to Your Audience via Common Interests.
Try posting information about what’s happening in the world. Things that most anyone would connect with. It’s “Chocolate Cake Day!” might be an excellent post. Everyone loves chocolate cake. Post a picture of a yummy piece of chocolate cake. Check out the “National Days’ Calendar.” If it’s “National Wear Red Day,” post a photo of your staff wearing red. You’ll get the most reach from these types of posts.
Always be fun and engaging, and think of common denominators for the groups you’re trying to achieve. Post about things outside the realm of your existence to draw folks in. SM is like your electronic “Chamber of Commerce” meeting. If you sit in the corner or talk about yourself only, you’ll never develop connections.
Use Visuals Throughout Your Posts.
Using visuals draws more visitors to your posts. There are so many sites that offer free graphics. You don’t have to pay for them. Pixabay.com is one of them. Another is: creativecommons.org Flicker posts some of their images here as well.
You can also go to Google, click on “Tools,” and change the settings to: “License to Reuse with Modifications.” Then, search for a free photo or graphic that suits your purpose. If you can’t find the free images you want, “Google” the image and try to recreate it with your favorite graphic design tool.
(Tip: Always be sure to add your logo to the bottom of every image you put on SM.)
Engagement First—Trust Second—Sales Last
Whatever you do, don’t use SM to sell. Leave this up to your sales force. You have to practice “delayed gratification.” Once followers become prospects, don’t immediately try to convert them to a lead. Getting leads and new business is important, but you need to establish trust and influence first. New revenue will come when you do all these things first.
After you get contacts to a number you’re comfortable with, you must find your voice as an authority. This makes you more influential in your field as an MSP. Again, it’s about building trust.
If you don’t make a right impression with your prospects, you’ll lose them. If you’re not willing to spend time developing relationships and engaging with people, you’ll never build trust, and you’ll never be able to sell to them.
(Tip: If you do this properly, it sets the right tone, and gives your sales force a vehicle to connect with prospects and turn them into leads.)
The SM Sales Process
Once you have a trusted relationship going with a contact, then you can provide their information to your sales people. SM enforces your brand image. Use business blogs to draw people to your MSP company. When they email you for more details, provide their contact info to your sales people.
If you’re not using Infusionsoft to track your marketing emails, you’re missing a tremendous opportunity. It will facilitate your email campaign efforts. Send out printed materials, make phone calls, canvass, and more. Then connect with prospects/leads on SM (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.). A quick “I hope you’re enjoying my emails,” is a good way to start. This is a great way for your sales people to get their foot in the door.
(Tip: Remember your marketing mantra: Every prospect/lead needs 7 to 12 “touches.” SM is just one of these.)
How Much Time Should You Dedicate to SM Every Day?
A lot. At a minimum, you should use SM to market your business ½ to 1 hour a day. It’s critical to the growth of your MSP business. Once you have a process down for each of your platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) this should get easier and take less effort.
Remember, you sell a service that many others do. Your prospects, leads and customers all have choices. People will have a hard time recognizing your brand and trusting it if they don’t see you online.
Is there such a thing as sharing too much on SM?
There are certain levels of content quality you want to use depending on the size of your audience. If you have 2 or 3 hundred followers, post one quality thing a day—Or 3 to 5 tweets on Twitter a day. But there’s a balance to be attained. You don’t want to appear as a spammer.
(Tip: Remember to use photos, graphics and videos in your posts. People find these interesting.)
One Last Tip
Reddit is the “front page” of the Internet. Everyone is there. The market is huge. You don’t want to use it as a sales platform but as an engagement platform. Post your webinars there. Post content on sub-Reddits (e.g., HIPAA compliance, IT, cyber security, or even start your Reddit subgroup). Don’t try to sell here. If you do, you will be knocked off! Plus, it will erode your credibility. Remember, you’ve got to be everywhere your prospects and leads might “hanging out” on SM.
Want more tips on SM Marketing for your MSP business? Connect with Ulistic at 716.799.1999 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/mspcoach. We’re the place for MSPs to go for marketing advice.
Stuart Crawford serves as Creative Director and CEO with Sebring, FL and Fort Erie, ON-based Ulistic, a specialty MSP Marketing firm focused on information technology marketing and business development. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience pertaining to how technology business owners and IT firms can use marketing as a vehicle to obtain success.