Because many cloud service providers (CSPs) offer services that are largely similar to their competitors, marketing innovation is an extremely important lever.
Innovation that develops and promotes the company’s thought leadership is one of the only tools left that can protect a cloud provider’s pricing power, profit margins, and ultimate survival.
The IT industry graveyard – going back decades – is filled with companies that tried to bet against investing in marketing innovation.
For CSPs, social media marketing can be a very effective way to attract targeted website traffic, generate highly-qualified leads, transform leads into clients, and delight clients so they become promoters.
In this post, we’ll focus on how cloud service providers can use social media to attract the right website visitors:
Figure out what your goals are – Don’t chase after vanity metrics or just appease the boss’ ego. If you’re looking to drive website traffic to your blog and landing pages, build a campaign that focuses on those two goals.
Decide where to concentrate your efforts – It’s hard to ignore the biggest social media channels like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, and Google+. But what about Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, and SlideShare? You can’t be everywhere. Assess your available resources. Then ask your clients and prospects where they hang out. Don’t guess. Ask them. In surveys. In person. On landing pages. By visiting their websites. Wherever you can get this information from.
Listen to conversations first before you jump in – To get the lay of the land, use your first week or two as a fact-finding mission to figure out who is talking and what they’re saying. While there’s a lot to be said for monitoring certain keywords that are strategically important to your cloud services business, also listen closely to what your clients and prospects are saying.
Post status updates regularly, daily or at least weekly – On your own social media profiles and pages, share helpful, non-promotional content on a regular basis. Make sure you’re committed for the duration. Nothing looks sillier than going like gangbusters for a few days and then stopping altogether.
Share valuable third party resources in a 3:1 ratio – In other words, for every three status updates you post about other peoples’ great resources, you kind of earn the right to post a status update about one of your own resources.
Leverage both individual and company social media profiles – In addition to your company Twitter profile, try to get as many of your team members active on Twitter as well, so they can help spread your content to their followers. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+ all allow for both company pages and personal profiles.
Measure what’s working and what’s not – Remember the goals we set back in step #1? There’s got to be some ways, whether it’s by simple tracking links in Google Analytics, or more advanced tools (we use HubSpot Social Publishing and Social Inbox) to tell you which channels are working best and which aren’t. Which times of the day and days of the week get more interaction? Which channels are driving more blog visitors and more landing pages conversions? It’s critical that you measure these data points so you can improve over time.
So back to the original question posed in this post: Can cloud service providers successfully use social media marketing channels to attract the right website visitors, generate highly-qualified leads, and transform those leads into new clients?
The answer is a resounding yes! But be prepared: social media that’s designed to produce results isn’t as simple as “playing” on Twitter or Facebook a few times a day.
You need to build an Inbound marketing plan and supporting sales funnel to get you to your goals.
Is your cloud service provider business currently using social media marketing to drive website traffic, lead generation, and client acquisition? And if so, what have you learned along the way? Please share your thoughts in the Comments box below.
And to see how social media fits in with the rest of your end-to-end plans for driving website traffic, leads, and client acquisition, download your free copy of the IT Channel Inbound Marketing Planning Guide.
Creative Commons Image Source: flickr kdonovangaddy