Social Media & Professional Services: Positioning Your Business to Build Long-Term Relationships
While both B2B and B2C businesses use social media marketing, their tactics, goals and objectives differ dramatically. Buy, buy, buy is often the over-arching message for B2C brands using social media. Instead, for B2B businesses social media marketing is seen as an opportunity to demonstrate your know-how and a way to build and strengthen relationships.
You may come across the euphemism every now and then that social media is about “hanging out” where your customers are. Ah, but if it was only that simple. Sure, social media entails establishing presences on multiple platforms to cover the possible places your clients and prospects are more inclined to visit, however, the major caveat is that if your business has a presence on networks such as Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, your updates and posts need to demonstrate that your business has something worthwhile to say.
By selecting a few choice platforms and publishing content regularly you can engage prospects and customers, pre-and-post sale, and continue to educate well beyond the initial sale. Furthermore, you can position yourself to build a long-term relationship and service client’s immediate and long-term needs.
Social Media & Professional Services: Learning by Example
Large professional service companies can teach their smaller counterparts about social media. By taking a look at the social media offerings at big firms you may get ideas for how to implement on a smaller scale in your business.
For this post, we’ll take a look at the global firm Capgemini, who has presences on multiple platforms and has a very active and impressive social media presence. We’ll examine how a professional service business can use a number of integrated social networking platforms, and provide a number of takeaway messages.
Capgemini is described as: “Global leader in consulting, technology, outsourcing, and local professional services. Capgemini is headquartered in Paris, France and operates in 40 countries. We are, above all, a people company— 110,000 people in North America, Europe, South America and the Asia Pacific region.”
Because of their size, and experience in many industries, Capgemini is able to publish posts on a regular basis and populate content on five blogs: CTO, Capping IT Off, Health Transformation, Procurement, and Winch5 Blog. What you see consistently across these blogs are frequently published posts which range in length on an average of 600-800 words. The posts are written by both members of their management team and consultants, who share a wealth of industry information including their insights and opinions. Notably they also include bios of the author’s, their titles and roles within the organization. Since Capgemini is in the business of selling services, getting to know their management team is essential. And, for that matter, businesses large and small should make a point of profiling the expertise of their team. There’s really nothing less productive for businesses then seeing a blog where the author is known simply as “admin” or where you can’t find out more about the writer.
Takeaway Message: Have your executive team and project leaders write & contribute to posts and be sure to include bios that identify them by name, title, training and area of expertise.
Capgemini has nearly 6500 Facebook fans. In recent posts you can see that how they’ve used Facebook to post photos from events, announced an industry award, shared a link from an interview that their CEO did with the Wall Street Journal, shared a link from their IT blog to a post about how to use Facebook, they announced a partnership with EMC, and shared a number of videos and photos.
Takeaway Message: Vary the type of content you post on Facebook. Videos and photos do well in terms of EdgeRank, so be sure to include both of these. Also, integrate your blog presence with Facebook by sharing links to recent posts that you think your fans will find of interest. Share company news. It’s okay to toot your own horn occasionally!
E-Newsletters: Capgemini also publishes five e-newsletters, some on a monthly basis and others quarterly. Their e-newsletters contain links to their social networking presences which is a great way to remind your email recipients that you have other presences, too.
Takeaway Message: As we discussed in our recent post here on GigCoin, email marketing is alive and well, and for certain types of businesses who can share narratives and stories about their business, it will be a particularly good choice. While you don’t need to have lengthy newsletters you can chunk and highlight certain information and link to information on your blog. Like Cagemini, be sure always to include the links to your other platforms.
@capgmemini, has over 10,000 followers and Capgemini has sent nearly 2800 tweets. Recent tweets included promoting a new video on their YouTube channel, inviting followers to join a webcast, shared results from a study, shared interesting statistics, linked to a PDF report, a slide presentation on slideshare and a link to a blog post. An employee tweeted about a talk they were giving at an upcoming conference.
Capgemini has a YouTube channel with over 450 followers and nearly 47,000 channel views. They have videos that focus on topics such as the automotive industry, lifecycle services for Oracle and strategies for pharmaceutical companies. While I imagine that they use professional video services to produce the videos the people in the videos are Capgemini employees.
Takeaway Message: Videos can can be a very compelling way to let prospects and clients literally hear and see you even when you can’t be face-to-face. By keeping videos short and sweet, you can invite users to view your videos and to subscribe to your YouTube channel to be notified when you add a new video. Videos can be highly instructive and informational and with even a good low-cost camera you can get a lot from videos. If you’re going to spend money on any aspect of your video campaign, use it to hire someone who is proficient with cameras and editing, and invite your staff to do interviews and informational sessions.
Capgemini has a very solid presence on LinkedIn showing nearly 80,000 followers and profiles of over 52,000 employees. They’ve set-up their company page to showcase services where you can see descriptions of different divisions. They also include recently posted jobs.
Takeaway Message: LinkedIn is a great choice of a platform for services businesses to create a company presence. It’s also important to ask employees to complete their profiles to demonstrate that they’re current employees. LinkedIn is one sure place where someone who wants to learn about your staff will be able to see where an individual has worked before and the special skills and experiences that they bring to your firm, and recommendations by clients who have worked with them. Company pages are a great place too to have a description of your business so take the time to add your products and services.
Capgemini uses their presence on Slideshare to share presentations, documents, and brochures. They have 110 followers and tag their documents so they’ll be easily searchable.
Takeaway Messages: If you’ve already presented a talk at a conference or webinar, use slideshare as a way to keep users coming back for more. Make sure that your slides have your company name, logo and urls for your website and social networking platforms.
While you may not have the internal resources to maintain as many presences as a firm the size of Capgemini you may want to decide on a few places where you can vary the content and post regularly. Blogs and videos are a great way to let prospects and clients know more about issues affecting your industry while getting a real sense of the people behind the ideas. It’s worth saying here that by having an editorial calendar, a regular day to publish posts and updates and push out the links you can stay in front of your client’s eyes and engage with them in meaningful ways. You should also pay attention to the analytics and which posts and platforms are more worthwhile for your time and efforts.
How are you using social media to showcase your professional services? Let us know in the comments below.