In the time it takes to write a blog post like this, approximately 150,000 LinkedIn profiles will be viewed, 12,000 new users will join LinkedIn, 200,000,000 Twitter searches will be conducted, and 400,000,000 YouTube videos will be viewed.
Now granted, only a small sliver of these searches will be the IT professionals, business executives, and other stakeholders that you’re trying to attract to your data center.
However the sheer magnitude of what it represents -- and how much of a game-changer this is for how your prospects evaluate data center providers and make purchase decisions -- simply can’t be ignored.
When it comes to diving into social media, it seems like the leadership of many of those in the data center industry is making every mistake in “the book.”
What are those mistakes? And how you can avoid them?
- No SMART Goal Setting (or Weak Goal Setting)
Are you using social media to drive meaningful business outcomes? Perhaps this includes new leads, opportunities, clients, revenue, channel partners, or job applicants.
Or are you just on social media to be “cocktail party compliant?” So that when one of your buddies asks you at a networking event, “so are you on Twitter?” you can reply “Yes, sure we’re there.”
In the back of your mind you wonder, just why are we on social media?
And are there SMART goals for your data center that would better focus our efforts on areas that matter to the bottom line? (SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timebound.)
- No Buyer Personas
Who are you trying to attract or communicate with on social media? And why the heck should they pay attention to you, among all the different media and people clamoring for their attention? What’s in it for them?
So many data center leaders that do participate on social media frequently try to use a one-size-fits-most approach -- lumping everyone into one category. The problem with that, however, is that it ignores critical differences in people's goals, plans, challenges, and favored resources.
Would you talk to the CIO of a healthcare tech scale-up the same way you’d talk with the superintendent of schools of the largest school district in your region?
Customize your approach for who they are and what they care about most -- or one of your competitors will.
(Side note: Approached correctly, buyer personas help you prioritize which social media platforms matter most and which specific areas within each platform. Without this research, you’ll just be spinning your wheels based on your personal assumptions.)
- No Buyer’s Journey
What’s the average length of your sales cycle?
What are the distinct stages that someone goes through in between the time when they first learn about your data center and become a client?
And are you aware that as much as 70% of the decision-making process is over before you even get to that first conversation with prospects for data center services?
The buyer’s journey for data centers is vastly different than it was as recently as five years ago. Mainstream adoption of search engines, social media, mobile devices, and cloud services have severely disrupted the traditional marketing and sales playbooks.
Is your company aware of these realities? Or burying its head in the sand?
To be successful on social media, you've got to have relevant content to share for each of the three stages of the buyer’s journey:
Most data center leaders are sabotaging themselves by acting as if everyone they come into contact with is at the Decision stage -- which is about as absurd as walking into a singles event and assuming that everyone in attendance wants to elope and get married that night.
How do you currently use social media? Is LinkedIn your primary channel? Or are you driving measurable business outcomes from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, SlideShare, or other places? Let us know in the Comments section.
If you’re attending Data Center World later this month, be sure to catch Joshua Feinberg’s session on How Data Centers Use Thought Leadership to Attract World-Class Clients and Talent on Thursday, September 15, 2016 at 10:20 am in room R215 of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.
About the author: Joshua Feinberg is Vice President and Co-Founder of SP Home Run, Inc. -- which helps data center, managed service, hosting, and cloud providers grow their leads, client base, revenue, and profitability.