Ask an MSP Expert

Q: Our IT service business is in the UK, but we offer managed services to many businesses in the EU. How can we use social media to meet our international audience?

Reaching your audience is essential to growing your customer base, and social media is a great platform you can use to capture their attention. According to Hootsuite’s annual survey, nearly 2.8 billion people around the world use social media at least once a month, and 91 percent of them look at social media on their mobile devices.

To help you effectively capture SMBs’ attention and create social posts that are mobile-friendly, we talked to Sophie Robinson. She recently joined the Barracuda MSP team in EMEA as marketing development coordinator. In her previous role, she was the digital and social media marketing coordinator for Cisco. She shared her unique perspective and what strategies she found effective when trying to reach a broadened audience.

Tone, messaging, and strategy

Every social platform is different, and you need to tailor your message accordingly. Social media can be a great tool for creating bite-sized pieces of information that your prospects and customers can easily digest—you just want to make sure you cook up the right ingredients.

Dedication is key to social media success. Whether it’s a personal account or a business account, make sure you keep your social media accounts up-to-date. After all, social media is a great way to tell prospects more about your business and the people in it!

A good social strategy has a mix of content, which could include posts about what’s happening at the office, blog content, industry news, webinars, and your offering. When it comes to social media, try to have a little bit of fun now and then. For example, if the trending hashtag for the day is #SmileDay, share a photo of smiling techs in your office. Trending hashtags are a great way for you to break out of your usual social media cadence of industry content and selling your offering, and show that you care about the people who are behind your products and technology.  

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When you’re drafting tweets or posts, it’s important to make sure you’re using the right tone to convey your message to the audience you want to target. For example, if there are business leaders or decision makers you want to reach, make sure your tone is informative, professional, and sometimes serious. Refrain from sharing your personal opinions. People know there is someone behind those posts, but you don’t want to frighten someone away from your brand because of a difference in beliefs, politics, or any other controversial opinions.

You want to make your posts feel human, though. In the UK, for example, we have so many traditions and things that resonate with British people, like tea and crumpets. If you want to talk about email security, you could talk about how easy it is to fall for a phishing scam when you’re eating your crumpets with your tea in the morning. Whenever you  go back to tradition, you can connect on a more personal level. Especially on an international level, try to bring your message into the culture and embrace the surroundings. This is one of the keys to being successful with social media.

The evolution of Facebook and Twitter

More and more, businesses are using the direct message feature on Facebook and Twitter to communicate valuable insight to prospects and customers. This is becoming an extension to the platforms, and it can help businesses reach decision makers or prospective clients they want to contact with in an unexpected way—instead of just sending an email that ends up getting buried in an inbox.

Twitter has transformed into a business-focused social media channel. Before, it was very personal, but now it is all about promoting content for businesses. Twitter is a good platform for sharing small bits of information or fun facts and highlights. 

On Twitter, one way to catch people’s attention is using short funny GIFs. If you’re tweeting from your brand, you want to make sure that the tone is still in line with your audience, but add a short GIF where you can. It’s a great way to capture someone’s attention as they’re scrolling down the feed. The GIF might not necessarily be something that you created for your brand, but you can use it to link back to a related piece of content that you created. Bringing that humor element into your social media approach is important. People are more likely to share and engage with something they find funny and delightful.

In comparison, Facebook and LinkedIn are great platforms for sharing stories. People often sit on these two platforms a little bit longer, so they have time to watch a video or dive deeper into an infographic. To be successful with social media, share your meatier, more involved pieces of content on these platforms.

A huge trend on Facebook is video. Whenever I scroll down my feed, I see everybody sharing videos. To make your MSP stand out, you want to have a place in that market. The key thing with videos is you want to make sure they have subtitles. Often, when people are on the train or in public they may scroll down the feed and see the video, but they aren’t in a setting where they feel comfortable turning on the sound. More often than not, people will read your videos rather than listen to them. So, when you’re sharing video content, make sure that it can be viewed as well as read.

Social media is constantly evolving, but using Sophie’s tips and advice can help you keep your social media strategy on target and connect with your audience effectively.

Lauren Beliveau

Posted by Lauren Beliveau

Lauren is a content and product marketer with several years of experience in the IT channel. She has created and developed content that helps managed service providers grow their business, and has written many articles featured in SmarterMSP’s The MSP’s Bookshelf and Ask an MSP Expert series.

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