Here's an eye-opening statistic: MSPmentor spends considerable time telling managed services providers (MSPs) how to leverage social media. But perhaps it's time to rethink those efforts. The reason: 80 percent of small-business owners don't really use use social media, according to survey results from Network Solutions and the Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business.
I stumbled onto the statistic by reading this morning's Newsday, the largest local newspaper on Long Island. The survey results beg the question: Are MSPs wasting time using social media if 80 percent of your potential small business customers aren't able to read and digest your messages?
Growing AudienceEver the optimist, I'd rather focus on the 20 percent of SMB owners who do use social media. Of those folks, 82% use Facebook, 38 percent use LinkedIn and 30 percent use Twitter, according to the survey. And those figures will surely continue to climb. To successfully target SMB customers on those social networks, Newsday suggests that you perform a social media audit -- quarterly, semiannually or even annually. The advice comes from Communication Strategy Group's Arthur Germain, a former VARBusiness editor who now specializes in brand marketing. In the article Germain suggests:
- A corporate content audit to determine your company's available content and how it could be shared via social media tools;
- a corporate resource audit to identify who will lead your social media efforts;
- a competitive audit to assess how rivals are engaging audiences on social media networks; and
- a social network and online conversation scan to identify the social networks your customers use, and what those customers say about you.
Got Content?Solid tips. But there are some key challenges for MSPs. Many of them don't have any content to share across social networks. That's why I frequently suggest MSPs launch a simple blog that features one post per week on a four-week schedule...
- Week One: A blog entry promoting a recent hire or recent executive promotion in your company.
- Week Two: A blog entry promoting a recent customer win; even if you can't disclose the customer's name you can still describe their vertical market and the business needs you addressed.
- Week Three: A blog entry describing recent certifications or vendor partner relationship. Just be sure to promote your own brand rather front-and-center.
- Week Four: A blog entry promoting a special offer to existing and target customers.
- Week Five: Jump back to Week One and repeat the process.
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