Marketing: Social Media 101

Want to get in the conversation with your end-users, customers and vendors? Here’s how!


Social media…what’s in it for the security dealer/integrator? It is a valid question. We all have limited hours each day in our professional lives to accomplish goals and deliver on promises; so, instead of thinking of social media as an additive property, think of it as a complement to your existing activities and the work you are already investing in on lead generation, customer communication and support, client retention, research and training.

Social Media opens doors to vast opportunities, which can be linked to many facets of your business, such as marketing, sales, customer service and tech support. Narrowing the scope to just marketing, social media is a component of “inbound marketing” — promoting a company through blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, e-newsletters, whitepapers, content optimized for search engines (SEO) and others to help a business get discovered and generate sales leads.

The best takeaway about using social media is to change your mindset from “What can I/we sell” to “How can I/we help.”

 

The Benefits of Getting Involved

With the Internet’s evolution, more and more consumers, influencers and decision-makers have turned to the Web for information. With social media, these same folks are asking questions, voicing opinions, requesting recommendations, and talking about products and services online through a variety of platforms.

Do you wonder what are people saying about your business? Are you even relevant? You will not know unless you are an active participant. Public conversations about the physical security market are happening right now. People are talking about which products to buy, which solutions to stay away from, who is a top-notch systems integrator and who is not. Social media allows everyone to be part of the discussion — it is two-way communication.

Social media can provide a glimpse into what others think is important and then enable someone to use that information to support their business. With social media, it is important to be real — people want to hire and buy from other people, not businesses. The social media space allows for companies to step outside of the traditional “box” of print/television media and start being real. For small businesses, the economic barriers of traditional “boxes” become less relevant with social media.

Security dealers and integrators are in beneficial position of operating in both the business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) models, which offers greater reach through social media. Not only is it advantageous to listen and communicate with end-users, but being able to stay up to speed with timely training and product information and providing feedback to industry organizations and manufacturers helps your business be a greater influence within the security industry.

The benefits of learning and communicating with end-users, customers and business partners via social media cannot be overstated; however, social media is a cavernous tool and should be approached with a plan. Start slow by focusing on a single social media site and spend time observing and learning the ropes before developing your approach. Clarify your social media goals and outline how you plan to reach and measure them. As you grow, complete your social media profiles in a consistent manner to help with recognition.

 

Getting Started

Before engaging in Social Media, it is important to write down several clear business social media goals and then make decisions to help achieve them. Some goal types could include raising brand awareness, increasing more traffic to your blog or website, providing better customer support or generating more sales leads. Regardless of the goals, it is important to prioritize when, where, and how to spend resources on your efforts.

When it comes to setting-up and staying current with social network change, Social Media Examiner (www.socialmediaexaminer.com), the world’s largest online social media magazine, is a good place to start. The top social networks are: LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Google+.

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