Making the Mud Stick – How to Use Social Media Effectively

August 30th, 2017
Liz HoscheidSr. Digital Marketing Manager

Social media generates twice as many marketing leads as traditional forms of engagement, such as tradeshows, direct mail and PPC advertising. As you engage your customers on social media, it can be tempting to treat all platforms on which you have a presence as a single entity; instead of considering the best unique strategies for each platform, you may create a one-dimensional plan to rule them all.

However, each audience’s demographics, habits and tastes are different, and you should tailor content accordingly. For the best social media marketing strategy, consider each social media platform separately. As a Managed Service Provider, here are the best social media platforms you can leverage to effectively generate more leads.

direct marketing

Facebook

With 1.9 billion unique monthly users, Facebook fields the largest audience by nearly an order of magnitude. If your target customers are in the millennial or Generation X age range, Facebook is the best place to reach them. Facebook has the most devoted users – 70 percent log on daily – and three-quarters of its users log on looking for interesting content.

This is a double-edged sword: Users will engage with and share interesting content, but you must also publish a steady stream of content in order to keep them coming back.

To start, create a Facebook Business Page for your company. This will get you access to the analytics, paid promotion opportunities, and content creation tools available to businesses. You’ll want to customize the page with a personalized cover photo and Call to Action button.

When posting, visual content is best as it is more likely to catch viewers’ attention and 40 times more likely to be shared. Also, remember when posting that Friday is for Facebook. The site receives the majority of its comments, likes and shares on the last day of the work week.

Post ideas

  • Run a poll
  • Share your poll results (this one should be a no-brainer)
  • Images
  • Excerpts from your blog
  • Ask for help solving a problem (people love to feel helpful)
  • Expert tips

social media engagement

LinkedIn

LinkedIn doesn’t have the most monthly users of all of the social media platforms, but it does have a unique audience. LinkedIn is no longer only for job seekers. It is the only platform that appeals more to the 30- to 49-year old audience than to the 18- to 29-year old audience. It is also one of the best platforms for reaching more affluent prospects, as the majority of its users earn $75,000 per year or more.

In addition to providing a great marketing platform for your business, LinkedIn can provide some of the best sales opportunities and increase your credibility. In fact, you could even potentially forgo a blog and instead use LinkedIn’s thought leadership posts – depending on how often you post.

To start on LinkedIn, you’ll need to create a LinkedIn Company Page. As with all social media platforms, your company page should be a conduit to your website. LinkedIn has the added benefit of helping to drive search engine users to your site. Online resources like Google Adwords and SEMrush can help you determine the keywords to capture your target customers’ searches.

Your company page should directly address your target customers. There can be a sales component to your “about” section, but keep it informative first, sales-oriented second. You should use LinkedIn to show your company’s “human face.” Whatever imagery you use should reflect your brand image and be unique – i.e. no stock photos.

stock photo fail

The key to succeeding on LinkedIn is through active prospecting. Reach out to your community through Groups and the site’s “Pulse” Publishing platform. Groups can help small businesses like MSPs broaden the expertise of their networks. That said, Groups are a two-way street: If you want expertise, you have to provide expertise in return. It’s best to check-in to your groups at least once a month.

A similar rule applies to Pulse posts: information sells on LinkedIn; keep the sales pitches to a minimum. The majority of LinkedIn engagement is in the middle of the week – Tuesday through Thursday – with a peak from 5-6 p.m.

Post ideas

  • Repost your blog posts
  • Showcase your work with presentation slides
  • Post a video of an interview with a key employee or customer

Twitter

Twitter attracts one of the most educated crowds. Almost 30 percent of all internet users who have college degrees are on Twitter. Twitter is also one of the best lead generators of all social media platforms. B2B marketers have reported generating twice as many leads on Twitter as they have with any other platform. Finally, it is great for improving your customer rapport; almost three-quarters of small- to medium-businesses prefer Twitter for making quick replies to client issues.

As an added bonus, Google now indexes tweets, so they can appear in search results. For you, this means that you can use Twitter to drive website traffic, provided you use SEO keywords to ensure your tweets show up in search engine results.

The peak times for Twitter posts are Wednesdays from 12-6 p.m. For optimal engagement, tweeting at least five times per day is recommended. This may sound like a lot, but remember that tweets are 140 characters or less, so you are really posting only five sentences per day.

tweeting at lunch

As with most Social Media, images sell on Twitter. According to Twitter’s data, viewers are three times more likely to engage with visual content. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can include up to four photos in a single Tweet.

The real trick to Twitter is mastering the hashtag. Think of hashtags as the SEO keywords of Twitter. Incorporate hashtags that will drive traffic is to use popular events, such as holidays or local events.

Tweet ideas

  • Link to a recent blog or LinkedIn post
  • Run a poll
  • Ask questions
  • Retweet relevant content

Content calendar

The most important thing for MSPs to remember is consistency over quantity. It is better to have one or two dedicated social media platforms to which you post regularly without fail than to cover all of the platforms with sporadic bursts of content. So review the above list with your audience and the time you have available for social media in mind, and choose the platform(s) you feel best fit your needs and schedule.

Once you know which platforms you will use and how often you want to post, create a calendar for your content. You can use an online content calendar template, like Buffer or Hootsuite for Twitter, or you can create one in-house. Use your calendar to map out your content and the timing of your posts. If you have a blog, you can base all your other posts around the content of your blog entries.

When it comes to creating content, remember your target customers are busy people, too. They do not have time to spend an hour reading through lengthy posts. Keep your content brief, engaging and most of all, useful. The key is to leave them actively seeking more, not drive them away with dull or long discourses.

You should now be well-equipped to start your own social media marketing plan. So pick a platform (or three), create your calendar, and begin engaging with potential leads.