I haven’t touched on product marketing and social media in a while, so I thought I’d put down some quick thoughts on how Cloud Product Marketing can better leverage Social Media.
One tangible and measurable online objective is to own Google for whatever key terms your buyers and users are using to look for solution like yours. And that could mean general hosting key terms such as the Hybrid Cloud, Dedicated Servers or something more specific like “SaaS application tuning services”, “PCI compliance in the cloud” or “migrating virtual servers”.
Your business needs web properties that have positive things to say about your company ranked high on Google. 90% of most users don’t go beyond page 1 on Google. And Google loves certain social media websites because they not only contain important information, but they often have regularly updated content and heavy interaction.
Cloud Product Marketing/Social Media activities need to lead to an increase in our ranking of all our key terms and making sure our content/blogs/posts contained those key terms and key inbound links. This is a measurable goal that should be a part of every Cloud Product Marketers measurables.
#2 Customer Response
The power of social media lies in the ability for followers to directly interact with the company through Tweets, posts on a Facebook Wall or other methods. A common mistake is that companies launch their social media sites only to abandon them. With no one monitoring them on a regular basis, questions or complaints go unanswered and pile up. Worse, every visitor to the page can see questions left hanging with no reply, which is a black eye on your reputation.
Cloud Product Marketers should help with proper training and access to the right answers and be responsible for keeping an eye on our social media properties and act as the person to either answer questions or find the answers on behalf of users. If you don’t have the answer, be honest and at least respond and tell them you will look into it and get back to them asap.
Doing so aggressively has two benefits. First, it makes you look good. People see how responsive you are and think more happy thoughts about you. Second, it nips problems in the bud for disgruntled complainers who are ignored and may go on to do significant damage to your online reputation by going to sites such as RipoffReports.com, PissedConsumer.com, Yelp, Google or any other review site and post bad things.
Don’t run away from system outages, security breaches or slow site load times! They happen to the best of us; deal with it, offer your apologies and learn from your mistakes!
#3 Customer Advocates
The real power of social media is apparent in its ability to bring together all your advocates into one online place. Here, they can share stories and build bonds. A Cloud Product Marketers job is to facilitate and accelerate that sense of camaraderie and community.
Positive word of mouth is invaluable. The equivalent value of a tight-knit group of brand advocates translates into many dollars that it would cost you to try and build and maintain that through other channels such as advertising.
Give your advocates valuable information.
You will need to give them a reason to join your social media sites. What better way than to give them free valuable product or company information? Tips? User hints? Everyone wants to learn something new or “secret”, or to be the first in the know, or have access to tools.
Following the 80/20 rule, usually a small group of your customers will be your most vocal advocates. Empower them and they will go to the ends of the earth for you. Make them feel special. Give them sneak peeks. Identify them publicly. Reward them.
The rules online and on social media are a bit different, but look to empower your users and give hem plenty of leeway to debate and offer constructive criticism about my hosting solutions, my features, my roadmap, whatever. This doesn’t mean you allow really ridiculous posts to remain but using good judgment, manage the communication process.
Your advocates are like gold so treat them as such.