Q: The MSP business I work for is using social media marketing to promote our IT services, but nobody on my team comes from a marketing background. We get the basics of how social media works, but it can be a bit overwhelming to manage. How can I make sure that we’re on the right track with our social media efforts and make it easier for us to manage?
It’s great to hear you’re using social media to promote your IT services business. Not everyone in IT recognizes that social media offers businesses a number of opportunities to promote themselves and get recognized. It can be beneficial in many ways, so you’re right to make sure you’re using it to its full potential.
Avoid common mistakes
There are best practices that you can follow to help you to stay on track with your efforts and make it easier for you to manage. For example, you should avoid making these four common mistakes when using social media to promote your MSP business:
1. Posting the same message across multiple social networks
Unfortunately, we see this mistake all the time. You should always customize the message to the appropriate social channel. Keep in mind that LinkedIn users are looking for professional, informative advice whereas Facebook users are looking for more lighthearted and fun content.
Think about who your audience is on the network before you craft a tweet, update, or post. Also, it’s likely that some of your followers on Twitter also follow you on Facebook and LinkedIn. For the people who follow you across multiple social channels, you’ll want to make sure you’re offering a variety of content.
2. Ignoring interactions from your followers
It’s important to monitor the interactions you have with your followers on all of your social channels. This might sound like a daunting task, but it’s crucial that as a business, you respond to any message sent to you through social media. There are tools available that make it easier to monitor and help you to avoid missing interactions. Social media users expect a response from businesses in a timely manner, and they often use it as a last resort for reaching someone at a business.
For example, say one of your customers reaches out via direct message on Twitter, looking to get in touch with one of your techs about an issue at their site. While they might then try calling or emailing, you have to treat social media as a legitimate platform for your prospective and existing customers to contact and engage with you. That involves participating in the conversation and responding to their inquiries.
In addition, we recommend proactively following your customers’ accounts, re-tweeting their content (when it’s relevant to all of your followers), and being involved in their conversations. Everyone appreciates a re-tweet or “like”!
3. Not studying engagement rates when deciding what time to post
To make the most of your social media efforts, you need to closely study the numbers. This include things like how many favorites, retweets, likes, and shares a post received. You can find out the number of impressions and the engagement rate for each individual tweet through Twitter Analytics (located in your settings drop down menu). There are also similar analytics features available in LinkedIn and Facebook.
From these metrics you can draw insights into what time of the day you receive the highest engagement rates and then adapt your social media strategy so you’re reaching as much of your audience as possible with each message you send. Take into account that each social channel might have varying times in the day that perform best, so study each social channel individually.
4. Forgetting to proofread your social posts
We all make mistakes sometimes, glossing over a typo or grammar mistake, but a poorly written or inaccurate tweet can damage your business’ reputation. It’s worthwhile to spend the extra minute to re-read any message you’re publishing on social media.
Simplify social media management
Using social media to promote your MSP business doesn’t have to take a huge effort. In fact, it shouldn’t. One way to streamline the process is to use the different publishing tools available to automate social media management. These tools are relatively inexpensive and can be very helpful in scheduling your posts, monitoring conversations, and tracking engagement.
Here at Intronis, we use Hootsuite to manage our social feeds, and all it takes is a few minutes a day to schedule social posts, interact with our followers, and check on engagement. A few other options include BuzzSumo, Spredfast, and HubSpot.
You can also take advantage of Twitter Lists. This free feature in Twitter allows you to group Twitter users, including but not limited to your followers, into similar lists. From there, you can monitor those lists in the publishing tool you’re using such as setting up live feeds for each list in Hootsuite. For example, you could create a Twitter List for your customers who are active on the network and another list of prospective customers. You can also have more general lists of IT publications and news outlets so you can keep up on the latest trends and analysis. Additionally, you can use these lists as a source of material for retweets and shares. To get started, try following these 10 IT channel experts.
Another helpful way to simplify management is to dedicate specific times of the day to focus on social media. This way you can plan out when you’re going to check in on your interactions, respond back to inquiries, and publish a few new posts. In terms of frequency, schedule a few time slots on your calendar throughout the day, often enough that you could get back to a customer within a few hours, but not so often that it disrupts your other work. For some, it even becomes a welcome break from the other projects you’re working on.
Social media doesn’t have to be overwhelming, and we hope these insights have shown that. Avoiding common mistakes and using of a publishing tool will save your team a great deal of time and help to keep you on the right track. Best of luck out there and reach out to us @IntronisInc if you have any further questions!
Ask Intronis is a weekly advice column answering common questions from MSPs and IT service providers. It covers topics ranging from pricing and selling to marketing and communications—and everything in between. Submit your questions by emailing AskIntronis@intronis.com.
Photo Credit: mkhmarketing on Flickr. Used under CC 2.0 license.