Use of Social Media is gaining popularity and momentum in the IT services industry. According to a recent survey by Nielsen, 57% of B2B marketers are using social media to connect to customers, generate leads and build relationships. Social media is one of the powerful tools which any services product manager cannot overlook. Important social media channels to be targeted are - LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Blogs.
Why is this important?
According to a recent 2011 report by Social Media Examiner, the benefits of social media marketing as cited by the marketers are: Generated Exposure for my business - 88%, Increased Traffic/Subscribers - 72%, Improved Search Rankings - 62%,New Business Partnerships - 56%,Generated Qualified Leads - 51%,Reduced Overall Marketing Expenses - 49% and Improved Sales - 43%.
Social media is playing a very big role in influencing the B2B tech decision makers. In a recent B2B social media report by Schwartz communications, the daily usage of various social media channels by tech buyers are ( sample - 3648 Tech buyers ) - Facebook 29%, Youtube 16%, Twitter 12% and LinkedIn 8%.
How do we start ?
Create profiles on each of the channels you want to target. Start following the target groups/companies on the channels for the latest happenings.
Blogs - Create a profile either on blogger or wordpress. But the most preferred is to host blogs on your company website. The blogs should address the market need and how your company can help solve it. The blogs should be updated fortnightly and should truly represent thought leadership. It should be compelling enough for people to follow it. Social bookmarking websites such as reddit, stumble-upon, delicious should be updated with every blog.
Used for - Search Engine Optimization, business and or ideology written content
How to measure success - Number of views and the number of people following it.
LinkedIn - Give a compact and solid description of your job profile in the company. Join groups for discussion and to add people part of that group. While adding remove the already present message and add your custom message. Start your group and invite people to start discussions. Any company achievement should be shared on LinkedIn so as to spread the word among your connections.
Used For - Lead Generation, Web traffic
How to measure success - decision makers you add and how active your groups are.
Twitter - Micro-blogging is growing tremendously across globe. The account should be updated everyday with company news or market news which should generate interest among the userbase. You should follow your competitor twitter accounts for updates. Proper usage of hashtags and retweets helps in spreading the message to millions of people. Its a very powerful social media tool.
Used For - Short and concise promo, Social Buzz, See who's talking about you
How to measure success - Number of followers.