Using Social Media to Brand Your MSP
You may have heard the proverb, “The right tool for the right tool” and its cousin, “It’s a poor workman who blames his tools.” When it comes to using social media to promote your MSP and develop your brand, social media tools are not interchangeable. While social media is designed to be used as tools of engagement, they each achieve their goals in different ways. Read on to learn to choose the best social media tools to develop your MSP marketing funnel, promote your brand, and drive traffic to your site.
The first step you should focus on when developing your social media marketing plan is to determine the purpose of your social media, branding or revenue. While both goals are designed to drive traffic and create opportunities, they approach their goals differently. For this blog, let’s focus on branding your MSP.
Social Media Branding
Social media branding is designed to introduce or reinforce your business to an audience. The purpose is to build your business’ visibility and authority (authority is one of the metrics Google uses to place rank for your site). Social media branding works by developing relationships and communicating with customers - established and potential.
Yes, you auto-post your blog to your social media account; that’s not communication, it’s a monologue. Social media is not designed to be a monologue in which you make a post and leave it there unattended, hoping someone will stumble upon it. The truth of the matter is that no one will if you don’t promote it (same as your MSP).
Instead of auto-posting in a robotic fashion, you need to use your post as an ice-breaker, introducing your MSP services to potential new customers, while at the same time reminding your existing customers of your value and expertise. Social media works best when used as part of a conversation in which your expertise shines through, validating your business and granting your audience confidence to take a chance on you.
Using Social Media to Develop Your Brand
The casual nature of social media can make using it seem like something to do when you feel like it or to post whatever news of the day caught your attention, without regard to how it may affect your brand. Successful MSPs don’t make a post without considering how it increases their brand and pushes traffic to their site. Traffic is the lifeblood of your business, increasing opportunities for leads and conversions. Your competitors realize this, and you better believe they are not randomly making posts. One of the best things you can do for your brand is to establish yourself as an expert or authority in your industry. Besides posting on facebook, twitter and other 'social' media, consider posting to information sharing platforms such as Quora.
Learn from your Competitors
Take a moment to visit your competitors’ social media and examine how they communicate with their customers, other businesses, and each other. Further, take note of how they integrate their website, blog, and social media into one coherent message and what that message is: their brand. Now ask yourself, what’s your brand? More importantly, would a potential customer recognize it as a brand, and what would be their takeaway?
Effective social media branding for your MSP requires a plan; in other words, a strategy.
Social Media Strategies
Set Goals - Without a series of goals, you have no direction for your business. Most importantly, you should make your marketing goals S.M.A.R.T goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound) to help create accountability to your objectives.
Learn About Your Target Audience - While studying audience demographics is a good starting point, take your social media to the next level with psychographics. Psychographics is used to study the personality, values, opinions, interests, and lifestyles of your audience, and is critical for making the most out of social media marketing. This allows for a more personalized segmentation of your audience, allowing you to better serve up suitable content to your potential customers.
Decide the Right Tool for the Right Job - Research and determine which marketing strategies will benefit your brand and help you connect with your audience the best. Will you benefit more from a blog, podcast, or traditional social media tools like video and photos? Or even better, what about all of the above?
Networking Strategy - Don’t just hop on any social media that you see. Be strategic and only join networks and communities that will add value to your brand and not subtract from it. Just because a community has hundreds, even thousands of followers doesn’t mean their traffic and interest is transferable to your brand. Choose wisely.
Measure Your Results - How do you measure success or failure? Without a method to analyze your data, you have no means to determine if your social media strategy is working. Sure getting likes and follows are great to see, but are they translating to traffic, conversions, and leads? You need to be able to measure your results.
Some Best Practices for Social Media Branding
Branding separates your MSP from your competitors by creating a significant and unique market presence, which will aid you in attracting new and retaining existing customers.
Some methods to increase your brand using social media include:
- Provide a quick response to customer posts
- Be transparent
- Post relevant content
- Add visual content
- Tell an interesting story
- Sell less, talk more
- Less jargon, more human speak
- Know your brand
- Be consistent across all your platforms
- Post regularly
- Connect with other influencers
- Read, post, and engage
While these best practices can seem overwhelming, in reality, all you’re doing is communicating with your clients and developing relationships with them. It’s with those relationships and the image that you project of your business that improves the brand of your MSP.
Despite its ease of entry, using social media as a tool to brand your MSP will be more effective if it’s part of a broader MSP marketing strategy. Without a marketing plan, you increase the risk of missed opportunities, which can allow your competitors a window to break away from you and increase their share of the market.