Due to social media’s meteoric rise in popularity, it was only a matter of time until professional services businesses followed suit. Is it, however, efficient? What are the most important advantages of this? What is the best way to come up with a strategy? These are a few of the issues we’ll talk about in this article.
To begin, let’s talk about what social media marketing is.
Social Media Marketing Strategy Defined
Brand development, lead generation, and talent acquisition are all examples of strategic marketing objectives that may be supported by a social media marketing plan. The following components are often seen in social media marketing strategies:
- Business purpose to be addressed
- Target audience profiles
- Social media platforms to be used
- Implementation tactics
- Specific goals and measures to be tracked
- Often, a social media strategy is part of a more comprehensive marketing plan.
The Strategic Uses of Social Media
Social media may play a significant role in your business’s entire marketing plan. A contemporary professional services organization may provide five distinct functions via the use of social media.
Professional services organizations still rely on social media for its initial intended purpose: as a method of online networking. You can use social media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn to meet new people and build critical business and client contacts, but you won’t get the after-effects of a night of drinking. The social media experience is also quite mutual. People want you to respond to their tweets, comments, and questions, and to share other people’s work along with your own.
Using social media to market your company’s content is one of the simplest and most cost-effective options available. Building your reputation and exposure, or your brand, will be easier if you develop a social media marketing plan to promote your content across several platforms.
However, a word of caution when it comes to promoting your own content: don’t go overboard with it. You must strike a balance between self-promotion and sharing relevant material from other industry thought leaders on social media. When it comes to how much of other people’s material to share, there seems to be no commonly agreed standard. Continue to use the resources you’ve already provided on your website. Don’t try to sell, educate instead.
SEO (SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION)
The use of social media in SEO has grown in importance. Consider it an additional method of promoting your content. Using social media popularity as a metric for the authority of a page is an unproven theory. That would be ripe for “black hat” exploitation very fast. You may increase the authority of your page by broadly disseminating your information and attracting so-called “natural” connections. Increasing your online visibility should thus assist your page rank in search engines as well as your personal brand. Social media also has the advantage of being searchable, at the very least on Twitter and LinkedIn. If your tweet contains a link to your website’s blog, then a Google search may turn up your tweet, giving you still another chance to increase traffic to your website.
Using social media for research is a terrific idea. Check out their social media accounts before meeting with a new customer, doing a case study interview, or hiring a new employee. You’ll discover a lot about their personality, authority, reputation, and visibility, regardless of whether they’re a company or an individual. With social media, you can stay on top of the latest industry trends and communicate with your competitors, which keeps you in the loop about their plans and, maybe, opens the door to beneficial cooperation. Market intelligence is also known as social listening in certain circles.
If you’re trying to attract new workers or business partners, social networking is a natural recruiting tool. LinkedIn and Facebook allow you to offer highly targeted jobs to individuals with certain résumé characteristics and give real-time data revealing, among other things, who has seen the post. LinkedIn is also a well-known resource for finding a new job or hiring the appropriate people.
Is social media better than more conventional marketing methods like face-to-face networking because of their various uses? Another way of asking this is: What are the advantages of incorporating social media into your overall marketing strategy? Actually, there are a number of them.
The Benefits of Using Social Media For Marketing
The majority of social media networks provide “free” versions of their services as a starting point, even if paid memberships are offered with more features. While they aren’t really free (staff time is necessary to utilize them), conventional networking doesn’t involve fees, travel expenditures, or the enormous amounts of time spent by professionals.
Spending a few minutes each day posting or commenting on social media is also less time-consuming and effort-intensive than flying to and attending a networking event. Because social media is asynchronous, you are not obligated to utilize it at a given time or location. For some, the nature of the contact is less demanding since it is less taxing. Traditional networking is socially awkward for many business people. For those of us who are socially awkward, social media provides a nice distraction.
Social media helps even the tiniest businesses to seek national and even worldwide markets since time zones and distance are no longer an issue. If you want to increase your exposure and hire new employees, you need to network. A Montana-based business may recruit customers from all over the world, including New York City and Mumbai.
BUILDS YOUR BRAND
We’ve known for a long time that the reputation you’ve built and the exposure you enjoy in your target markets are the foundations of your professional services brand. Social media, on the other hand, may help you improve your reputation while also boosting your online presence. Consider increasing the number of referrals as well as making it simpler to finalize a sale.
It’s easy to miss the inherent scalability of social media, yet this is a huge advantage.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re communicating with one person or a hundred, you’re always visible to others. It is possible to amass a large number of fans who can be reached with a single post. Those people who follow you may also spread the word about your work, which increases the impact of your efforts even more. You may expand your business without investing in new infrastructure or incurring additional costs.
The ROI of Social Media Marketing
There’s no surprise that so many professional services organizations are incorporating social media into their marketing plans, given the variety of applications and potential advantages of social media. According to a recent Hinge research report, professional services organizations utilize social media networking more than email marketing (52.5 percent) (48.9 percent ). Even more often than speaking at specific events and conferences, companies use social media to promote thought leadership (368.8%). (34.5 percent ).
While broad adoption may imply a positive return on investment, there is other data to examine. Our research also looked at how High Growth Firms (companies with compound annual growth rates more than 20 percent) sell their products, and contrasted it with how Stagnant Firms market their products (no growth or a decline). When it came to the effectiveness of social media, High Growth businesses judged it to be superior than their No Growth counterparts.
Evidently, the efficacy and return on investment of enterprises’ usage of social media is impacted in some way.
The same research also yielded an important nugget of information. We discovered that High Growth companies have a distinct competitive edge due to their superior skill sets. In social media networking, employees from companies with strong growth rates were 25 percent more likely to be considered highly talented.
Social media training has the exciting potential to help businesses achieve considerably greater success. Other studies on the use of social media by employees have shown the significance of training. Companies who have a well-developed social media employee engagement program see higher rates of revenue growth. It’s difficult to overlook a return like that.
Obviously, the first step is to map out your approach. Here’s the right way to go about it.
Developing Your Social Media Marketing Strategy
If you’re serious about using social media to grow your business, you should begin with a social media plan. The next paragraphs will guide you through the process.
DETERMINE THE BUSINESS PURPOSE OF YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PROGRAM
In light of everything we’ve learned so far, it makes sense to design a social media plan. But, which of them apply to your current predicament, exactly?
What new connections do you need to build to reach your target audience or influencers? Think of this objective as conventional networking, but with a new communication route to do it via!
Do you have instructional stuff to promote and fresh ideas to spread? Using social media to connect with your target audience is quick and easy.
Is your goal to increase the number of people that visit your website? In order to earn useful natural links, you need to be active on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. This lets search engines know that your material is worth reading. Think about search engine optimization.
How much time should you devote to scouting your potential customers and/or rivals? Get the inside scoop by using social media. Investigate the company’s workforce to learn about their problems, as well as how the market perceives them.
Do you need the hiring of fresh personnel? You must be prepared for them to look you up on social media. Instead, it may be used to locate a certain sort of employee.
From the outset, it’s critical to ensure that your executive, legal, creative, and online teams are on the same page. To be successful on social media, your company has to collaborate with other departments. To enable for cooperation, everyone must be on the same page.
You’re ready to go on after you’ve decided on the most critical objectives and their relative importance.
SPECIFY AND RESEARCH YOUR TARGET AUDIENCES
Don’t be overly specific when selecting your social media campaign’s target demographic. Keep in mind that in most B2B transactions, there isn’t just one decision-maker to deal with. Many decision-makers also depend on the traditional trusted advisers, as well as guidance from peers or outside consultants. As a result, broadening your target audience to encompass all of those people is a smart move.
Once you’ve determined who you’re attempting to contact, the next step is locating them online. Formal research — such as routinely surveying an audience or online monitoring — or less formal methods such as just browsing the web may be used to accomplish this. Investigate the LinkedIn profiles of your target audience’s members to identify which groups they frequent. Executives often sign off emails using their Twitter or LinkedIn handles. Always keep in mind that your goal is to be where they are.
SELECT THE APPROPRIATE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM(S)
Is it a good idea for us to be active Facebook users? Why don’t we have a look at YouTube? LinkedIn has also gotten a lot of attention recently. Many people choose the channel first, and only afterwards do they think about what they want to accomplish. That’s a terrible concept! Do some research to find out where your target audience hangs out. This will select where you’ll post on social media (s). Also, keep in mind that you are under no obligation to complete all of the tasks at hand.
It’s okay to be active on numerous social media networks on occasion. Because each channel is distinct and necessitates a different approach, you should factor in the features of the various platforms while making your choice.
If you’re not sure where to begin, start small and work your way up. Start with LinkedIn if your social media approach is geared at business-to-business transactions. Most B2B settings work well with Twitter and YouTube. Instagram is a great resource for individuals in the architecture, engineering, and construction industries. Facebook is a great tool for connecting with non-profits, customers, and new recruits. Aside from that, don’t overlook the highly specialized private social forums that may be found throughout several different markets.
PINPOINT PROGRAM GOALS AND MEASURES
Focus on particular program objectives after you’ve chosen your social media outlets. When would be a better time to establish program objectives? The short answer is that many of the objectives and accessible metrics are platform-specific. Retweets on LinkedIn, for example, are hard to track.
There are three main kinds of program objectives and measures:
These objectives ought to be action-oriented and specific to your job duties. As an illustration: How many threads of conversation did you initiate on the internet? On an average day, how many tweets do you post? Approximately how many videos did you put out in the previous month in terms of output? These program objectives are there to keep tabs on how well they’re being implemented. The hard truth is that if you don’t utilize social media on a regular basis, your campaign will fail. It is more probable that you will succeed in your plan if you have a clear target and measurement in place.
These objectives assess the breadth and depth of your work. You don’t want your knowledge to go into thin air; instead, you want people to interact with it, share it, and take an interest in your company as a result. You’ll know whether customers are reacting based on these results. Metrics for this objective may include measuring the number of people who follow you, enjoy your tweets, comment, or retweet you.
Are you getting the outcomes you want from your social media strategy? What fresh business leads are you getting? Has your company’s visibility risen as a result of this? You’ll need to find fresh recruits, haven’t you? You can now monitor these KPIs much more easily thanks to advancements in marketing automation technologies. It’s easy to analyze website traffic and new leads from social media using free tools like Google Analytics, and more advanced dashboards let you measure outcomes from various interactions.
DEVELOP IMPLEMENTATION TACTICS
Using social media has the advantage of making it simple to receive assistance. There are a slew of social media professionals active on a daily basis, exchanging thoughts and recommendations on how to use social media effectively. Do you have a concern? You just need to ask. There is a built-in process for developing your social media abilities built into this informal structure, and it is an important tool for a DIY plan.
However, doing things on your own isn’t always the best option. Just because you need a social media plan for your company doesn’t imply you can handle it all on your own.
As an alternative to self-help, there are now two options that are both effective. Use a social media expert to assist you build up your rules and procedures on social media. In-house team members would be trained, monitored, and provided with continual assistance and troubleshooting by this individual. As a result, the learning curve is shortened while internal resources handle the majority of implementation.
Alternatively, part or even all of the software may be outsourced. This strategy is particularly attractive if your target audience consists of highly motivated individuals with little free time. Instead of diverting personnel away from billable work, this strategy may be more cost-efficient and successful in the long run. The drawback is that social media’s culture relies on authenticity, which usually indicates that your employees are actively engaged. Outsourcing certain services and using in-house resources for others has led to hybrid models emerging.
Be sure to remember one thing no matter what technique you choose to build and execute your social media strategy: the fundamental truth. No matter how passionately you pursue a poor approach, you will not see the outcomes you expect. A superb plan that is only half executed will have the same effect. Maintaining a regular schedule is critical if you want to see progress.
Let’s say the outcomes aren’t what you were hoping for. I’m curious as to what you do. As a result, troubleshooting will be required in this situation. If you’ve been tracking implementation and results, you’ll have a good idea of where the issue is—and what you can do to solve it.
Start by putting your plan into action (Activity). Is this anything that really happened? Have you seen a boost in your visibility? Were you able to use them to get the business results you wanted? A clear issue may frequently be discovered by tracking the activities and affects in this causal chain. Of course, the first step in resolving an issue is to appropriately diagnose it.
A Final Thought
Professional services marketers’ toolkits already include social media marketing as an essential part of their arsenal, and that trend is only going to continue.
It isn’t able to perform everything, but it excels at a lot of things. Social media may be used for a wide variety of things, from market research to lead generation to brand promotion.
Because of its increasing relevance in company growth, social media marketing is quickly becoming a “must have” tool for companies. Professional services organizations are increasingly diving headfirst into social media, understanding how effective it can be while still being inexpensive. Your competition will be there if you aren’t.
You need to be where your customers and referral sources are if you want to establish or retain a competitive advantage. And social media is more part of it nowadays.