Who to Connect with and How to Manage Multiple Networks on Social Media



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    See the original blog at: MSP Blog

    Social media can be a real driver for your business. If you've taken the time to set up your accounts, share content and make connections, you've probably experienced this firsthand. Still, managing all of these social networks can become a bit overwhelming if you're not connecting with the right people and keeping your contacts organized. The more you grow your network of connections, the more content and messaging will be made available to you. With this stream of new information, it can be easy to miss important posts. Luckily, you can continue to grow your following and influence without losing key content. In this post, I'll explain who to connect with and how to stay organized by segmenting contacts across the various social channels you're now active on.

    Before you start to segment your contacts into groups or lists, start by first connecting with the right people.

    Who Should You Connect With?

    The answer to this question largely depends on what you're looking to get out of your social media efforts. In the meantime, here are a few categories of potential connections that you should explore:

    Current Clients
    You might be thinking, "Why would I need to connect with my clients? I already have their business!" This is true, but the key to retaining your current clients is to build strong relationships. Of course, new business is great, but you also want to make your current clients feel valued. Make new friends but keep the old! By connecting with your current clients on social media, you'll be able to see, in real time, what they're interested in and talking about. What if they're talking about you? Perhaps employees in their office can't connect to the Wi-Fi and are reaching out for assistance via Twitter. You can leverage your social presence to field these requests, troubleshoot the issues and deliver superior customer service. By following the client who's having trouble, you'll see this tweet in your feed. Instead of waiting for them to call you, proactively reply to their message and let them know that you're sorry for the service disruption, but are looking into it!

    Additionally, following clients expands your reach to their own individual networks. if you're having discussions with your current clients on social media, their connections are going to see these threads. Who knows, maybe the owner of one of the companies they are connected with will appreciate your accessibility and immediate response so much that they become a future client of yours!

    Prospects
    In our "Step-by-Step Guide to Targeting Your Verticals on Social Media," we discussed the importance of targeting the companies in your area that fit your buyer personas. Evaluate your current clients and determine which verticals you're serving. Additionally, identify which geographic areas you are servicing. Once you have broken your business down into verticals (it might be just one) and location, you should do an audit of all businesses that fit these two qualifiers. These are the companies that you should be connecting with. As you make connections, the content that you share will be made available to these potential clients. At the same time, you'll be able to see what they think is worth sharing and can learn of new trends and stories you may have otherwise missed. This way, you'll position yourself as a thought leader and problem solver in the industry, and your company name and logo will gain more visibility in your area.

    Relevant Publications & Thought Leaders
    We've mentioned "sharing content" a couple of times in this post. Where is this content coming from? Hopefully, your company has a blog that you and your employees are consistently contributing to. However, blogs take time to create and maintain and sometimes, you just don't have that time. When this is the case, connect with and follow relevant publications, those that create the exact kind of content that will be interesting and helpful to your clients and prospects. This way, you'll see the content that these publications are sharing and can pass it along to your own connections.

    Even if you do have your own blog, it never hurts to connect with these publications and thought leaders. If you share one of their posts, they may reciprocate and share something that you have published. Now, you will increase your exposure and get in front of a larger collection of strategic accounts.

    How to Stay Organized

    Once you have built out a solid network of connections, you might notice that monitoring and managing social media can get a bit hectic. Messages from your prospects are mixed with your clients are mixed with the publications. If only there were a way to keep everything nice and organized...

    There is! You can utilize social media lists or tags to segment contacts and connections. Some of you may choose to do this to separate personal and professional content. The methods vary a bit on each of the platforms, so let's take a brief look at how to stay organized on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

    Keep reading!



  • How many people connect with current clients via Social Media? I know that we do, to some degree, through sites like MangoLassi and Spiceworks as we have clients from those shared professional communities. But outside of that, do people really manage to connect with clients via Twitter, Facebook or something like that? Who is doing this and what has your experience been? What kind of interactions are you having?



  • @scottalanmiller We talked about this at our user conference. I think the best example that I can give as to why this is important is from a Celtics game that I went to earlier this year. We were delayed getting in because of an issue with the security scanners and missed the opening tip off. I tweeted at the Celtics that I was frustrated and they immediately got back to me with a direct message offering me a seat upgrade. My frustration was immediately relieved and we watched the game from the floor.

    This wouldn't have happened if they weren't monitoring their social media accounts.



  • My side gig is 95% social media driven. My partner and employee stay active on social media and answer questions throughout the day. It's basically the same concept as SW and ML except we use facebook as our main platform.



  • @GlennBarley said:

    @scottalanmiller We talked about this at our user conference. I think the best example that I can give as to why this is important is from a Celtics game that I went to earlier this year. We were delayed getting in because of an issue with the security scanners and missed the opening tip off. I tweeted at the Celtics that I was frustrated and they immediately got back to me with a direct message offering me a seat upgrade. My frustration was immediately relieved and we watched the game from the floor.

    This wouldn't have happened if they weren't monitoring their social media accounts.

    I'm familiar with this for consumer services, but for MSPs with business customers? I can't imagine SMB managers reaching out on Twitter (or knowing what it is) nor how they would expect their MSP to respond - especially when they have a continuous communications channel to us. Social Media for complaining about support makes sense when you don't have a channel to talk to the vendor, but that isn't the case with MSPs.

    How would the corner store use Twitter to communicate with the guy that runs their IT? Why wouldn't they email, open a ticket, call, etc.?



  • @IRJ said:

    My side gig is 95% social media driven. My partner and employee stay active on social media and answer questions throughout the day. It's basically the same concept as SW and ML except we use facebook as our main platform.

    And your customers are businesses? Or is it consumer?



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @IRJ said:

    My side gig is 95% social media driven. My partner and employee stay active on social media and answer questions throughout the day. It's basically the same concept as SW and ML except we use facebook as our main platform.

    And your customers are businesses? Or is it consumer?

    consumer, but we deal with businesses as well on the advertising side.



  • Outside of discussing advertising on social media, which is a unique case, would you ever expect business customers to reach out for support, once they were your customer, via a channel like Twitter other than reaching out to support or their account manager?



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    Outside of discussing advertising on social media, which is a unique case, would you ever expect business customers to reach out for support, once they were your customer, via a channel like Twitter other than reaching out to support or their account manager?

    Yeah, and you will see Facebook leaning towards that. Business pages now get a green icon for being responsive to messages. This encourages customers to reach out to you via facebook. Here are 3 different examples below. If you respond in 10 minutes or less you get the response time listed. An hour or more and you get a standard icon. Less than an hour and you get a green icon

    2_1453394731641_2016-01-21_11-43-24.jpg 1_1453394731641_2016-01-21_11-44-18.jpg 0_1453394731641_2016-01-21_11-44-41.jpg



  • That is so weird. Are those like completely incompetent clients that don't know how to use email? Why would they choose a tertiary communications method instead of official ones that can be managed, monitored, etc.?

    If a business did that to us, I feel like that would almost certainly put them into the "not going to be able to pay their bills" category if they were unable to email or open a ticket or other appropriate business communications channel for a partner.

    Facebook is fine when you have no relationship. But for partners? That sounds crazy.


  • Banned

    @scottalanmiller said:

    Why would they choose a tertiary communications method instead of official ones that can be managed, monitored, etc.?

    That's the thing, you decide if you want it to be tertiary or primary.

    Do you want to log Facebook chat as a ticket? You can do that now, respond in your ticket system and it responds in chat. Someone tweets at you? Messages you? You get a note then respond to it.

    Whether it's good or not is up to each business.



  • @Breffni-Potter said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    Why would they choose a tertiary communications method instead of official ones that can be managed, monitored, etc.?

    That's the thing, you decide if you want it to be tertiary or primary.

    Do you want to log Facebook chat as a ticket? You can do that now, respond in your ticket system and it responds in chat. Someone tweets at you? Messages you? You get a note then respond to it.

    Whether it's good or not is up to each business.

    Agreed, but any business using an unmanagable channel as their primary communications seems... flawed. No ticketing, no tracking, no ability to assign or store or hand off.

    This sounds like increasing levels of incompetence to come up with use cases.

    Would anyone consider an MSP that uses Facebook posts as tickets to be worth talking to? if so, would they be a viable business? I'm being serious, this is like "business for twelve year olds who can't even".


  • Banned

    @scottalanmiller said:

    Agreed, but any business using an unmanagable channel as their primary communications seems... flawed. No ticketing, no tracking, no ability to assign or store or hand off.

    But there are plenty of tools to manage it, audit it, track it, do hand off, ect. - If you do it amateur hour style then yes you get problems but if done correctly, it can work.

    @scottalanmiller said:

    Would anyone consider an MSP that uses Facebook posts as tickets to be worth talking to? if so, would they be a viable business? I'm being serious, this is like "business for twelve year olds who can't even".

    Probably not MSP, but in other markets, sure.



  • @Breffni-Potter said:

    Probably not MSP, but in other markets, sure.

    But we are only discussing MSPs. Of course it works in other markets.



  • I agree with you Scott.

    The only thing I can see being used by MSP's and clients is FB chat - but I would still fully expect the ticket to be created through either an online portal or email.

    That said, you can open tickets through a chat portal with HP on their website - so that same thing could be expanded to work through FB chat as well I suppose.

    So the chat portion I think could work, but the general page? it's little more than a Yellow Pages ad in my view - one that now potentially allows people to litter all over their page.



  • Universal chat is something that's still missing.

    Facebook is quickly closing this gap.

    The closest thing we currently have to universal chat is SMS. But international SMSing costs a fortune, and I'm guessing it all but avoided.

    It would be awesome to see a platform for universal chat - but I have no idea who would be willing to host it, and how would they be paid for it?



  • @Dashrender said:

    The closest thing we currently have to universal chat is SMS. But international SMSing costs a fortune, and I'm guessing it all but avoided.

    It's funny that local SMS is what I never had for free. Now I have international for free. 🙂



  • @Dashrender said:

    It would be awesome to see a platform for universal chat - but I have no idea who would be willing to host it, and how would they be paid for it?

    Google, Facebook, Apple, Yahoo and Microsoft all do that on a huge scale.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    It would be awesome to see a platform for universal chat - but I have no idea who would be willing to host it, and how would they be paid for it?

    Google, Facebook, Apple, Yahoo and Microsoft all do that on a huge scale.

    You're right, but they aren't universal.

    Apple for example is limited to Apple's hardware. Google has thus far refused to make a client for Windows Mobile/phone. Yahoo - is that still around, j/k.

    FB Chat is the only one that I know of that is on nearly every player out there, and it rides the coat tails of their money maker FB.



  • @Dashrender said:

    You're right, but they aren't universal.

    Mostly they are. Especially Google which uses XMPP. Can't you connect with any client that you want?



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    You're right, but they aren't universal.

    Mostly they are. Especially Google which uses XMPP. Can't you connect with any client that you want?

    Sadly this is no longer the case. Link

    Google dropped support for XMPP federation in May 2014, meaning that Google Talk servers will no longer communicate with other XMPP servers.[10]



  • @Dashrender said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    You're right, but they aren't universal.

    Mostly they are. Especially Google which uses XMPP. Can't you connect with any client that you want?

    Sadly this is no longer the case. Link

    Google dropped support for XMPP federation in May 2014, meaning that Google Talk servers will no longer communicate with other XMPP servers.[10]

    that's talking to OTHER services, but can't you still talk to it using XMPP?



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    You're right, but they aren't universal.

    Mostly they are. Especially Google which uses XMPP. Can't you connect with any client that you want?

    Sadly this is no longer the case. Link

    Google dropped support for XMPP federation in May 2014, meaning that Google Talk servers will no longer communicate with other XMPP servers.[10]

    that's talking to OTHER services, but can't you still talk to it using XMPP?

    well, according to that page I linked to, yes you can. Is that important?



  • @Dashrender said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    You're right, but they aren't universal.

    Mostly they are. Especially Google which uses XMPP. Can't you connect with any client that you want?

    Sadly this is no longer the case. Link

    Google dropped support for XMPP federation in May 2014, meaning that Google Talk servers will no longer communicate with other XMPP servers.[10]

    that's talking to OTHER services, but can't you still talk to it using XMPP?

    well, according to that page I linked to, yes you can. Is that important?

    Quite important since that's what would qualify as universal instant messaging. So the answer would be... yes, we have universal instant messaging today.

    I just tested and it is indeed open.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    You're right, but they aren't universal.

    Mostly they are. Especially Google which uses XMPP. Can't you connect with any client that you want?

    Sadly this is no longer the case. Link

    Google dropped support for XMPP federation in May 2014, meaning that Google Talk servers will no longer communicate with other XMPP servers.[10]

    that's talking to OTHER services, but can't you still talk to it using XMPP?

    well, according to that page I linked to, yes you can. Is that important?

    Quite important since that's what would qualify as universal instant messaging. So the answer would be... yes, we have universal instant messaging today.

    I just tested and it is indeed open.

    It's universal because the XMPP protocol is open and anyone can write a client for it?

    next question - how do you get users to move to it en masse? it's not worth much if people aren't there.

    I constantly hear people saying how they hate facebook, but they are only there because that is where everyone is.



  • @Dashrender said:

    It's universal because the XMPP protocol is open and anyone can write a client for it?

    It's universal because:

    • It's open and free to the public.
    • The protocol is open and free.
    • The protocol is effectively human readable if you want to forego a client (ugh)
    • Clients and web interfaces are provided for essentially any viable platform.
    • Clients can be written anywhere that they are needed.
    • Clients have been written and are native on all platforms except Windows where nothing like that is included.

    It's really hard to come up with how anything could be more open or universal.



  • @Dashrender said:

    next question - how do you get users to move to it en masse? it's not worth much if people aren't there.

    You can't, people don't want a universal system 🙂



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    next question - how do you get users to move to it en masse? it's not worth much if people aren't there.

    You can't, people don't want a universal system 🙂

    You don't think people want a replacement for SMS, the only universal chat platform in the US?



  • @Dashrender said:

    You don't think people want a replacement for SMS, the only universal chat platform in the US?

    Nope, they had universal IM before anyone uses SMS and they switched to SMS anyway because people hate technology and things that work well.



  • @scottalanmiller Why does it have to be a complaint? How about praise for a job well done? Or maybe it isn't the social account of the SMB, but the business owner's personal account.

    Imagine the owner of that corner store sounding off on their own personal twitter account about a technical issue they are having and being able to find a quick and easy resolution via a reply.

    It's about positioning yourself as a problem solver and building strong relationships.


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