I think since so many companies are having success with social media the decision of whether or not to take a brand social has gotten easier and easier. In the tech industry, personally, I think its a no brainer but thats not to say that there isn’t any risk involved. In this post I will discuss some of the rewards and pitfalls of adopting social media in my industry.

You will often hear me refer to my industry as the tech industry. For those who don’t know what it is, its simply the technology sector. Investopedia defines the technology sector as:

“A category of companies relating to the research, development and/or distribution of technologically based goods and services. This sector contains businesses revolving around the manufacturing of electronics, creation of software, computers or products and services relating to information technology.”

The cool thing about the tech industry is that its full of socially connected gen y-ers. This makes the decision to go social a no brainer. In order for marketers to connect with their audience they must go to where their audience is, luckily for tech marketers, their audience is already well adapted to social media technology. Seeing as how all the major social sites are free, the monetary risk is very low however if executed wrong, the risk of damaging your brand is high. The glory of the internet and social media is that it connects the world faster than ever before, the bad side to this is negative publicity can spread like wildfire. Unfortunately, people tend to pay more attention to the negatives than the positive things brands do.

One example of a tech brand struggling with poor social media choices is the cooking site Epicurious, which is a cooking website.  Following the Boston Marathon bombings they tried to capitalize and push their brand with a couple tweets. (Feloni, 2013)

After a major tragedy like that is not the right time to push your brand and Epicurious paid for it with a lot of negative responses. Social media marketers must have a good grasp on common sense and know their audience very well so they can predict how people will interpret and react to their social media communications

When done  correctly, social media can do wonders for brand awareness. One of my favorite campaigns was beautifully executed by a Belgian television company called Telenet . They launched a Youtube campaign back in 2012 to promote a new station they were offering simply titled “A dramatic surprise on a quiet square.”

This video quickly went viral and now has just under 50 million views on Youtube. Its hilarious, disruptive and conveys their message that TNT is coming and bringing drama to their network. Typically the rule of thumb with video’s is 30 seconds or less because people’s attention fades after that but this video is so outrageous, they are able to push that to almost 5 times the recommended length. This is a very elaborate example of social media success and isn’t necessary for all companies. Video is huge now a days in the social sphere and they don’t need to be as elaborate as this one to be successful. My company launched a series we call DynEdu which are short bits about general concepts in our industry of internet performance. They are simple to make and quick to execute. They do wonders for market education and really help us establish ourselves as though leaders in our space. Here’s one for example:

As you can see there are many different ways you should go social. Notice how I said “you should go social,” this is because in the tech industry it shouldn’t even be a debate. Your audience is highly connected with social media and its free. There is enough information out there for the newbies to read and learn what to post and what not to post. For the more seasoned marketers, it offers them a platform to be creative and connect with their customers on a more personal level. If you haven’t yet, give it a try! Start small, measure success and grow from there. And remember, the most important trait of a social media marketer is common sense, the more you have, the less risk is involved!

Feloni, R. (2013, November 21). The 10 Biggest Social Media Marketing Fails Of 2013 Read more: Http://www.businessinsider.com/10-worst-social-media-marketing-fails-of-2013-2013-11?op=1#ixzz2tvDfxd2X [Web log post]. Retrieved February 20, 2014, from http://www.businessinsider.com/10-worst-social-media-marketing-fails-of-2013-2013-11?op=1
Moth, D. (2012, December 3). 10 of the best social media campaigns from 2012 [Web log post]. Retrieved February 20, 2014, from http://econsultancy.com/blog/11244-10-of-the-best-social-media-campaigns-from-2012
Technology Sector. (n.d.). Investopedia. Retrieved February 20, 2014, from http://www.investopedia.com/terms/t/technology_sector.asp

Since the managed services industry is relatively new, our marketing team has to spend a lot of time educating our market. Our services are very technical but serve a very simple purpose, on the DNS side, we route users to websites, and on the Email side, we ensure transactional email delivery. Now, there is a bunch of stuff that goes on in the background that we don’t need to get into, but that is the just of it. There are some things my company does that  align with other companies in our space like webinars, whitepapers, case studies, etc but on top of this we host, what we call, “Roadshows.” Roadshows are themed lunch seminars to create a more intimate environment to educate prospects and build customer loyalty. Along with these roadshows we host a lot of parties, whether they be at events or at our office, for networking and meeting with prospects.

In order to manage all these events, we use an application called Eventbrite. Eventbrite is a social event platform for creating, managing, and promoting events through social media and email. An example of one of Dyn’s event’s promoted via Eventbrite can be found here, where all the information for our SXSW party is located. This app allows us to break the mold when in our industry which historically relied heavily on the traditional tradeshow’s for event marketing. We have the ability to provide experiences for our clients and prospects that will last a lot longer in their memory than a conversation at a booth at a giant tradeshow.

Eventbrite allows people to register for your events via mobile app or web application and share it over their social media network. It also automatically email’s and reminds them when events are approaching to make sure it is not forgotten. After an event it allows you to export all your attendees and non-attendees to an excel file for upload into your CRM and/ or Marketing Automation platform. At my work we adjust follow up messaging depending on whether people attended or not attended. While the attendees are more engaged than non-attendees, we will send a relevant piece of content to the non-attendees to try to re-engage them prior to passing them to sales. Ultimately our events are evaluated on how many net new leads we can acquire and how many sales opportunities are generated and closed as a result.

Event follow up is crucial for converting event goers into leads in our industry. Since our product’s implementation process is technically complex, it requires walkthroughs and multiple phone calls with our sales engineers along with a contract to complete. This cannot be done at a tradeshow so continuing the conversation following these events is key. We are able to track all these events from Eventbrite all the way through our marketing and sales software’s to track ROI and make decisions about what events to have in the future.

Some other features worth noting are its analytics and ability to take payments if the event were to cost money to get into. All of Dyn’s events are free so we don’t use that feature too much but I have attended events in the past which use Eventbrite and needed payment. It’s very simple to pay through the app and when you get to the event all you need to do is show the person working the door your mobile device.  I also like how it recommends events based on past registrations, if you have friends within your social network that have registered and your location. When I travel to tradeshow’s it helps me find smaller events in the area worth checking out as well as smaller get together’s in my area. I would say Eventbrite is a must have for any company organizing events on their own and individuals looking to get involved with their industries/ communities. It takes a lot of legwork out of the logistics, aids with the tracking of success, drives attendance and the kicker is, it’s free!

So it’s no secret I work for Dyn, one of the biggest DNS companies in the world. Companies that make money off their websites pay us to ensure their website is always available and fast. Ok, so it may be a little more complicated than that but that’s it in a nutshell. When you look across our industry of internet infrastructure/ performance providers, you will notice a lot of trends when it comes to social media marketing.  I’ll dive into the 4 major trends I have noticed.

Product Support

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Many companies are using social media to communicate with customers. I know my company encourages it. People reach out to us via Twitter all the time whether they are happy, mad or just have a questions about our products. Our social media team does a great job at assisting people when they have questions. In one of my previous posts, I mentioned a social media tool called Tweetdeck which is a great tool to use when trying to monitor this. Not all people know your companies’ Twitter handle or they will use a hashtag instead of an @ sign. This helps pick up the stragglers. 

Updates/ Outages

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I think that Twitter is great for product updates, especially in the internet space. When DNS or Hosting companies have outages, it is very difficult for them to send updates out to their customers. Without working DNS you cannot reach a website or send an email in most cases, so companies will take to social media to update their customers. Since we are in the internet infrastructure industry, if we or similar companies have outages, then our customers’ websites would be offline as well. Because of this, it is  imperative that you notify people as soon as possible. As you can see to the right, Cloudflare has created a Twitter account specifically for communicating these updates. 

Product Releases

Since most of our customers and prospects are active on social media, it makes it a great place to announce new product releases. We find that when people are shopping around in our space they will follow all the major players like Dyn, DNS Made Easy, Neustar Ultra DNS, Cloudflare, etc to get a feel for their companies. As you can see in the picture below, DNS Made Easy just released a new feature that is in high demand due to recent web security issues.

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This is a great example of how to communicate product releases and it would be a great candidate for a promoted/ paid Tweet as well. A promoted Tweet would help get this info out to non followers. It would be wise to target the followers of their competition (like us) because they are one of the few to offer this in their consumer level products.

Events

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 10.15.18 PMOne last trend I’ve noticed over social media is event marketing. In a world where most communication is done over the internet, it adds a whole new dynamic to actually meet the person that is interested in your products and talk face to face. At the end of the day, whether your marketing b2b or b2c at the end of the day you are selling to another human. Face to face interaction helps push this process forward creating  higher close rates and shorter sales cycles. This is why events are so important. In order to succeed at events companies must inform people that they will be there, where to find them and get them to stop by and talk. Social Media is a great way of doing so. In an effort to create social media buzz for our presence at SXSW, which is a huge music and technology festival in Austin, we created a contest which the winner will win a free trip.

There are certainly many more uses for social media in the business world but in the internet industry these are the trends I have noticed. It will be interesting to see where these trends go as social media evolves.