…unless you’re prepared to do it properly. Think about it. If you run a newspaper ad with a typo, you can fix it in the next issue. If one of your salespeople makes a mistake in handling a customer, you can follow up immediately with an apology and possibly even save the sale. If an un-proofed email offers one client a price lower than you had planned, you can absorb the mistake for the good of the company, or re-negotiate with the client. All of these things are relatively easy to fix.
But with social media – hit enter and everyone in your network gets the info immediately. Your Facebook fans all get excited when you accidently offer a lower price than planned, and your salesperson messes up on a twitter post and manages to make half your followers mad in minutes. Make a typo in your eNewsletter and it’s in everyone’s mailbox with one click and impossible to retrieve.
Here are some common mistakes security companies make when they jump into social media without taking it seriously.
Doing it on the cheap. Yes, the cost of most social media tools is free or right next to it. However, this doesn’t mean you should let your college marketing intern or a staff member who attended a free four-hour seminar handle your social media requirements. Like any other representation of your brand, your social media presence should be a planned part of your entire marketing strategy.
Dismissing its importance. Social media has the potential to open new markets for you, but there’s a good chance that members of your current market are also paying attention. The immediacy and unpredictability of social media can turn a minor mistake into a major error in a few hours. You need to do it right or forget about it.
Just boasting or pushing product. This is not a paid ad running in the middle of NCIS. People choose to “like” your Facebook page or follow your tweets because you provide something they find useful. Bragging about your company and constant pressure buy your services, even when combined with photos of the annual client holiday party, will not cut it. (Unless, of course, some of those shots have blackmail potential.)
Pro Tip: Mention any recognition your company has received, and provide notices of new product lines and any special sales opportunities you have. But keep the pitching down to no more than 20% of your posts. If you want an audience, you need to pay attention to what they want from you.
Ignoring or misinterpreting your audience. Who will want to pay attention to your social media efforts? Who are your current or potential clients, competitors, suppliers, and others in the security industry? Think of this audience when you develop your social media plans. Offer educational information, industry updates, and entertaining videos or stories that tie in with your company and the security field. Absolutely mention any recognition your company has received, and provide notices of new product lines and any special sales opportunities you have. But keep the pitching down to no more than 20% of your posts. If you want an audience, you need to pay attention to what they want from you.
No readiness to handle customer issues. Once you’re out there, any unsatisfied customers will not hesitate to jump in and complain about you on your Facebook page. This can range from a mild remark that they didn’t like your installer to a harsh statement that your company did X, Y, and Z to them and they hope you all go to…. What is your policy for handling unsatisfied customers? Better have one and be prepared to use it in a very public way.
Treating it as only a fire extinguisher. If you only use social media when there’s something that needs the immediate attention of your customer base or to explain your blunders, you have turned these resources into your own bad news bearers. No one will want to hear it. You want to be a valuable and steady resource. Social media can be used to help put out fires, but only if you’ve been planting the right messages already.
Expecting quick results. It takes time to build a following and develop your social media presence. Be willing to celebrate small steps, and eventually social media will be a natural part of your outreach and branding efforts.
Think social media will be easy?
Before you dive into the social media pool, do what you need to do to avoid the problematic deep end. Start by taking a look at some companies that handle social media well. “Like” various business pages on Facebook and see what they choose to post. Check on your competitor’s social media efforts and learn from their successes and failures. Spend time following various Twitter accounts, and get onto Google+. Read blogs from your industry, and pay attention to style as well as content.
We’re available to help you navigate the rocky waters of social media and avoid the whirlpools, escape the sharks, and keep the jellyfish from stinging…. OK, OK, I know the images were getting a bit out of hand. I’ve been thinking about the beach a lot lately.
Just give us a call if we can help.
ABOUT Ignite Security Marketing
Ignite Security Marketing is an inbound marketing agency that specializes in marketing and salesforce automation for the security industry. Since 2009, we have been the marketing partner of choice for SDM 100 corporations and SMB’s around the nation.