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November 18, 2014

Stop Shouting and Start Converting Your Customers

Eric Townsend
Director of MSP and SMB Marketing
Intel Corp.

IT service providers and MSPs know that there are simply not enough hours in the day to do it all: manage the business, market the business, build client relationships and grow sales. More often than not, it’s marketing that gets left out of the mix―even though it’s really marketing that helps you grow your business. It also helps you build client relationships.

I know you’re probably wondering how a slick brochure can help with this, but I’m not talking old school. I’m talking about using the power of social media to streamline your marketing, help you converse with your customers and build solid brand loyalty, and ultimately grow your business.

Almost 75% of SMBs use social media to reach their customers. This is because whether they’re reading blog posts, tweets or Facebook posts, customers today naturally turn to the web for info. But it can be hard to know where to start with social media or how it can make a difference.

Your Customers Are Already Using Social Media

More and more of your SMB customers are Millennials (aged 18 to 33). This generation lives and breathes digitally. Research shows that 75% of Millennials have created a profile on a social networking site and 55% of them visit those sites at least once a day. More than any other generation, Millennials want a two-way, multi-faceted conversation with your company.

You don’t have to be everywhere. Pick a social avenue―Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest, for example―and spend a week or two just watching what’s going on. Watch who posts and what they post. Then, dive into the pool. But only dive into ONE of the pools to start. The key to good social media is to spend some time using it each day.

A Casual Conversation

Don’t shout at your customers, pushing your business agenda. Especially on Twitter, users simply want to discuss how products like 2 in 1s or tablets relate to their lives. They do not want to listen to why they should buy/want/need a product. Instead of talking at these customers, you must be part of the conversation with them. In the end, this leads to more sales because 51% of Millennials consult four or more sources when making a purchase or service decision.

Social conversations don’t have to be complex, require a marketing firm or even take too much time. You can drop into Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn for 15 minutes and check out the conversation. Briefly comment―engage in the conversation―and then check back the next day. This builds your momentum slowly and steadily, leading to word of mouth referrals (and ultimately more sales). And it all starts with a conversation, just like it does in real life.

If you want to learn more about social media marketing, check out my blog or read my chapter on social media in the upcoming book, The Business Owner’s Essential Guide to IT and All Things Digital. Are you using social media to reach your customers? What tips do you have? Let me know here or on Twitter @Eric_D_Townsend.

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Eric Townsend Director of MSP and SMB Marketing
Intel Corp.
Eric Townsend is the director of MSP and SMB marketing for Intel Corp. For more than 18 years, his work has encompassed tools across the computing spectrum—from devices to services to software.

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