As I discussed in last week’s post, reference selling is a great first step in marketing your MSP. For those of you who have taken this first step, congratulations! Now that you’ve gotten in the “reference selling” habit, let’s take the next step: content sharing.
Countless online articles and posts have proclaimed 2014 as the year of “content marketing.” Many of these posts offer lots of suggestions, many of them contradictory and overwhelming to any business that doesn’t have a dedicated marketing department.
My suggestion? Don’t get overwhelmed with all the noise out there. Instead start the process simply by sharing great content with your customers, leads, partners, and peers. When you share useful, relevant, even fun content with these groups, you become part of the conversation and begin to be seen as a trusted source for information. And a prospect who “trusts” your content picks may well trust you to run their IT when the time comes.
Step 1: Set up (or reactivate) your MSP Business’s Twitter account.
If your MSP business doesn’t yet have a Twitter account, set one up. Ideally you give that account your company name, like “@myMSP.” If your exact name isn’t available, you can use underscores to separate words, like “@my_MSP” or “@my_great_MSP,” or add an identifier related to your organization, like “@myMSP_Provo” or “myMSP_health.”
Tip: Twitter usernames are limited to 15 characters, and each character contributes to your 140-character Tweet limit.
Step 2: Choose relevant people and organizations to follow.
To start off, follow individuals, companies, and organizations that relate to your business. A few obvious possibilities include:
- Potential customers
- Channel partners (like StorageCraft)
- Other MSPs, including competitors
- Software, hardware, or services you use in your data centers
- Professional organizations related to your business (like IEEE) or your customers’ businesses (like American Dental Association if you cater to healthcare providers)
- News outlets or blogs germane to your business (like InfoWorld or MSPmentor)
- Thought leaders (like David Linthicum in cloud computing or Stephen Foskett in network computing, for example)
You don’t have to follow everyone at once. You could start by following your customers and users that immediately interest you. Then add as you go along.
Tip: Are you a big Los Angeles Dodgers fan? Do you want to grow up to be Ron “Effing” Swanson? Do Onion headlines make you laugh out loud? Then by all means follow them and retweet when appropriate! They are part of your “personality,” for lack of a better word.
Step 3: Use an RSS feed service to find good content.
A free news aggregator service like Feedly is a great way to find valuable content in one place. Sign up for a free account, populate it with applicable sites and blogs (see Step 2 for ideas), and tweet links to these posts and articles that you think would interest your Twitter audience.
Tip: If you find something particularly relevant to your followers, don’t hesitate to tweet that link multiple times over the course of a day or week. Just make sure to alter the actual Tweet, so that Twitter doesn’t mistake your Tweets for spam.
Step 4: Use a free service to schedule the majority of your Tweets.
A social media management tool like Hootsuite or Buffer lets you schedule when your Tweets get posted, so that you don’t have to waste hours doing so manually. I particularly love the way Buffer integrates directly with Feedly so that you can schedule Tweets (as well as LinkedIn posts, Facebook posts, and Google + posts when you’re ready to do so) of your favorite content throughout the day. Start by scheduling five or six Tweets per day and go from there.
Tip: Buffer lets you schedule Retweets directly from the Twitter web interface. It’s a great way to acknowledge great stuff from your followers, prospects, and others at times that are convenient to you. As an added bonus, retweeting a Tweet hours or even days after its initial post can add life to that Tweet and generate additional value for that user.