Biggest Social Media Marketing Mistakes For Tech Companies
There was a time when technology companies believed in the approach of “if you build it, they will come.” That is, build the best products, and people will buy them. But the harsh reality today is: the best technology doesn’t always win the market share. One of the main reasons technology companies struggle to gain market share despite their superior products and services is because they’re still trying to sell technology to technologists—and haven’t recognized the paradigm shift in decision making that is occurring in most technology industries today.
This decision making paradigm shift is the continuing trend for companies to make technology decisions based on business goals and strategies—not just solely on technology plans. Thus, the decision for the purchase of technology solutions and services has broadened to a team of decision makers beyond the technologists, often including business strategists, business information directors, and business operations executives—or in the case of small and even mid-sized companies, the company vp or owner.
Identifying today’s true decision makers
Unfortunately, too many technology companies, rightly proud of their products and/or services, continue to market to the audience they’re most comfortable communicating with: other technologists. After all, these are often the users who “get it”—who understand the complexities of your technology and truly appreciate your innovative product features or service capabilities.
But the fact is, they are no longer the sole (and often not even the primary) decision maker when it comes to the acquisition of critical technology for their organization. And this is especially true if your technology solutions or services must integrate with an overall company technology infrastructure.
Technology Vendor vs. Strategic Business Advisor
When a technology company fails to truly understand this need to focus their social media marketing beyond the traditional technology users, this is assuming that they have social media as one of their marketing channels, they end up in an uphill battle to be recognized and known to the true decision makers in the executive offices. Companies with superb technology that for years saw excellent growth while selling to highly technical users—are now facing longer sales cycles (and faltering sales revenues) because purchase decisions are no longer being made in isolated pockets within the technology labs.
Because they’re virtually unknown to the business executives within their customers, they’re perceived as one of many vendors at a time when their customers are looking to consolidate their business among a fewer, more strategic suppliers—companies that are seen as highly-trusted business advisors—not merely vendors. The net result is that they’re not gaining the traction and visibility on sites like LinkedIn and via business-targeted Facebook groups they need in order to reach today’s true decision makers. Meanwhile, more savvy competitors are grabbing the mindshare of those decision makers because they are engaging audiences where their audiences are...on social media.
A Few Steps To Avoid This Mistake
Identify and profile today’s true decision makers.
Re-evaluate and identify who today’s true decision makers are in the new paradigm. Profile them in detail to examine their roles, their personal and business goals, their strategic objectives, and their influencers—the sources of information they go to for insights and perspective on potential solutions. You'd be shocked at how many of them are using social media contacts in the decision making process.
Create strategic message maps.
Create strategic message maps, curated as stories and themes, designed to communicate your most relevant and differentiated value proposition for the true decision makers. This should include your primary value proposition, strategic elevator pitches, supporting sales messages, and promotional theme messages - bu there's the hard part: without being sals-y. This also means that your messaging must be broadened well beyond traditional technical features and benefits—and communicate why your company (and its products and/or services) are most qualified to help solve the strategic business challenges your customers face today on mediums that are built to entertain.
Your message maps should be created for each target audience persona. This includes not just your decision makers but also your key influencers. It’s easy to overlook your influencers in your messaging efforts, but they can be extremely important advocates—or barriers—that directly impact purchase decisions.
Review Your Brand Identity
Ensure that your brand identity is designed specifically to support your strategic messaging in a social media world.
If your brand identity no longer supports your new strategic messaging given the paradigm shift in decision making, or if it feels too stiff and corporate, then it’s probably time to revamp it. But, be carful when examining the redesign of your brand identity. An update on your brand does not necessarily require the abandonment of your previous brand identity for the sake of a completely new look and feel. A rush to revitalize your brand too drastically can result in losing the equity that your brand has built over the years. It may be best to implement changes in carefully planned stages so as not to fully abandon your previous company brand identity. If you don't have the skills in house, get a professional with expertise in brand identity to assist. This is something you need to get right. This is the new face of your company and skimping on budget here is not the place to save a few dollars.
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