Shaw (the non-techie-turned-somewhat-tech-savvy-guy in my book) wants to find a decent project collaboration software. His first instinct is to do an online search (information on pm tools, comparisons etc. will show up). He also has his Twitter for Mac open so he quickly tweets out “Looking for a project collaboration tool that doesn’t suck. Know of any? Please RT”. He might even post this on Facebook – maybe, just maybe, some of his techie friends could recommend the tools they use. Shaw is a guy who doesn’t like to be sold to using pushy marketing tactics. He wants to find what he needs and wants to know what other people recommend. Shaw is our new breed of B2B buyer – impatient (he wants to find and use the software now), well educated and web savvy.
Our SaaS product ‘DeskAway’ wants to increase brand awareness and become popular among web-savvy people. Our target market is rather big and competition consists of all kinds of companies. Adwords and paid media gets expensive since we are also competing with larger companies with deep pockets and VC-funded companies that need to show that they are spending money on “marketing”. We realize that in a large market there is also a lot of chatter about project management software. So, it makes a lot of sense to participate in social media to connect with people who might be looking for something that we sell, which is a very cost-effective way to connect with like-minded folks (in this case, technically-savvy audience).
Our weekly plan on Twitter
(Facebook doesn’t work for us since it is a place to chill out):
1. We have set up search terms on Twitter and monitor what others are talking about. We have terms for “alternatives to base camp” (you will be surprised to see a ton of people searching for alternatives), “project management software”, “project collaboration tool” etc. A few times a week I dip into these streams and connect with users and gently tell them what we have to offer.
2. We follow some of our competitors and get a taste of how they handle customer support, server issues, feature requests etc. It is good to know how different companies interact with their users.
3. We share news, messages, company culture, thought leadership on Cloud/SaaS, product announcements, blog articles on our Twitter stream. This brings inbound traffic to our site. To really get the most benefit (retweets, shares etc.) it is important to create original and unique content. Express yourself. Slowly, you will attract like-minded people who believe and like what you do. This, over time, will reflect in the increased number of people following you, sharing your content and bringing more people to your site.
4. We monitor what people saying about our product and industry (some keywords we track are SaaS, Enterprise 2.0, Collaboration Tools etc.).
5. A few days back I was just taking to someone at Nasscom and we discussed how Twitter allows you to get in touch with people whom otherwise you cannot connect with – CEOs, industry experts, bloggers, journalists etc. are just a tweet away. And so are your potential customers. Last year, when we added a new feature called ‘Social Tasks’, I got in touch with Aayush Arya (@aryayush), India Editor & Apps Co Editor at The Next Web (I didn’t know him before this communication). In the next 10 minutes we exchanged 5-7 tweets and then The Next Web wrote about it here.
Social networks are primarily a place to engage with people and have them know about who you are and what you do. The more they know about you and remember you, the better the chances of their dropping by your site – works the same in the offline world. I might see a tweet for your product, but I might not click on it at that very moment. If I am interested I might follow you and see what else you are tweeting. A brand connection is made. Then, the next time I am searching for a project management solution I would either search for your product name on Google or even type it in the browser. Your site analytics thinks I came from Google but actually I found out about you first on Twitter. So the next time you run a social media campaign be sure to see if your search engine and direct traffic has increased.
And don’t forget – socially-engaged customers are highly likely to be your best brand ambassadors for your SaaS business.
Featured Image Courtesy : Shawncampbell