Let’s face it, nobody wants to read on facebook about your whiz-bang technology. Think about it. How interested are you in reading on facebook or twitter, your insurance agent’s opinions on sufficient life insurance? Or your plumber’s new 24 hour rooter service? Chances are, your bloviations on cloud technology and WAN acceleration are equally dull to your target audience.. at least in a social media setting.
This is a hotly debated discussion I often have with VARs: Does social media really “work” for our industry? Isn’t social media geared more towards consumer products like Apple, Zappos, Fat Tire Beer, and the like?
My take is one of common sense. People put their eyeballs on social media, largely for some level of enjoyment. Do you think people really enjoy understanding how your SSL VPN has a lower TCO? They don’t. We’re all guilty of this. Heck, this very blog post may be guilty of it. I think there is yet another way to approach this — create an alter ego. Your company is Clark Kent — you need a Social Media Superman. Something that connects with your audience on a personal level.
This alter ego would be both a departure from your brand, but also have a connection to your brand. It would have a sort of theme or mantra. Here’s some ideas:
– Lifehacker is a popular website/blog because they include some really creative, counter-intuitive ideas, most of which can be implemented for little or no money. It demonstrates you’re not just trying to make money off the audience. You could include info on hacks to manage the network while you’re on vacation, free up bandwidth, tighten up security with freeware, get a better discount from carriers, you get the idea.
– Everybody cares about their career. If you focus content around how IT professionals can advance their careers and up their marketability, you’ve got an audience. People enjoy making more money and visualizing their ascent up the corporate ladder.
– Everybody likes to laugh. Sometimes, we really need to laugh. Sharing humor that is relevant to the industry strikes the perfect balance. There’s a lot of free tools out there like www.stripcreator.com to create free comic strips. Or you could create animation via goanimate. I know of one VAR that makes fake onion-esque news articles that spread virally. Here’s an example of a comic strip I created.
It’s possible to do all of the above while at the same time creating a path back to you for a discussion that leads to more business.
Really, it’s just common sense. It shouldn’t be all about you or the junk you sell, rather it should be all about your audience. Not many VARs have cracked the code here which is good. You’ve got a great opportunity to make social media work for you while your competition languishes.
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