Q&A | May 23, 2014

Marketing Your IT Business? Use LinkedIn And Facebook

By Bernadette Wilson, associate editor, Business Solutions magazine
Follow Me On Twitter @bernadeditor

Social Media Marketing For VARs and ISVs

Online marketing strategies were on the agenda at the 2014 Technology Marketing And IT Sales Training Boot Camp in Nashville, TN, last week. Robin Robins, CEO and author of the Technology Marketing Toolkit, and Jeff Johnson, staff marketing coach for Technology Marketing Toolkit, detailed two useful — and maybe surprising — tools that can help you build and target a prospect list: LinkedIn and Facebook.

Robins says to begin leveraging LinkedIn, you should create a profile that makes an impact. She points out when someone types your name in a Google search, your LinkedIn profile is often one of the top results, and for that reason, it should be professional and complete. Don’t skip LinkedIn’s offer to include a summary — provide information about your job and your company. She comments that your LinkedIn profile is as important as your “About Us” page on your website. People who are considering doing business with you want to know who you are, and your profile is an opportunity to make a good first impression and build credibility. Robins also advises using a professional photo, not just your company logo. She adds that you should make sure your employees are making the proper impression with their LinkedIn profiles as well.

Your profile lists the number of connections you have on LinkedIn, and it’s important to build that number for credibility. You can start by connecting with colleagues, clients, and prospects — LinkedIn enables you to upload contacts from an email list to send invitations to connect with people on your list who have accounts on the site. LinkedIn offers a standard message to invite someone to connect — but Robins advises using a personal message instead. Once someone accepts your invitation, they are a “first connection,” and you can communicate with them and receive news about them through Linked In.

You can also connect with prospects through LinkedIn Groups — the site has numerous groups related many IT verticals and niche markets. By joining, you can DM (direct message) your fellow group members — including people who are not first connections.

Another option is to start your own LinkedIn group, which gives you the opportunity to provide information related to your industry and establish credibility. Group administrators have the opportunity to send an announcement to group members once each week through email — an opportunity to communicate directly with this audience — and you can include a URL that leads them to an offer or opt-in page on your website. Groups also provide the opportunities for members to post and comment, and can include a job board and a promotions board for announcements such as events and webinars.

You can invite members of LinkedIn groups you are a part of to become a connection, further expanding you connections list — and LinkedIn enables you to download your list of connections.  

Options to use LinkedIn expand with an upgraded membership or by purchasing services. These include In Mail emails to LinkedIn members, LinkedIn for Salesforce, and search capabilities that enable you to find prospects by criteria such as geographic location or title.

Johnson explains using a list developed on LinkedIn with ads on Facebook can create a very targeted campaign. He explains Facebook provides the opportunity to advertise through native ads that appear in Facebook’s newsfeed. You can target specific geographic areas and types of companies — and because the campaign is so targeted, it is relatively inexpensive to do. By uploading your list from LinkedIn, you can send Facebook ads to the same contacts.

Robins comments that email remains “the workhorse of Internet marketing,” but people tend to get inundated with email and sometimes opt out. The lines of communication and engagement you create through social media will give your customers options to follow you in different ways — and more of a chance at getting your message across to the right people.  

Robin Robins, is a marketing and sales coach for Managed Services Providers, VARs and companies selling IT services with over 7,000 clients and more documented client success stories than any other IT marketing or IT sales consultant in the industry. To get a free one-on-one marketing consultation and customized marketing plan for your IT services business, go to www.toolkitlive.com/businesssolutions.

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