With over 900 million users – and rapidly approaching the 1 billion mark – Facebook is the prime destination for business to customer (B2C) social media engagement. With the largest population of potential customers in one place, cloud service providers can use Facebook to simply and easily engage with a diverse range of customer and/or client segments instantaneously. While this is great news for just about every cloud computing service provider, there is also the reality that there are massive amounts of cloud computing companies trying to engage with customers on Facebook.
Engaging Customers on Facebook
This is where many cloud service providers go wrong. Some simply believe that merely blasting out Facebook messages about their company will attract followers. While a large number of Facebook “likes” looks good on paper, it’s more important that a cloud company attracts the right users.
In the case of the cloud computing industry, ideal Facebook fans will include IT professionals, tech business entrepreneurs, as well as Web developers, tech journalists and engineers – basically anyone that can be turned into an influencer. Influencers are people that are knowledgeable about your product or industry, and eagerly rave about your services to friends and colleagues throughout Facebook.
One great example of this is from the infrastructure-as-a-service provider, Rackspace. Widely known for their fanatical customer service, they not only go out of their way for their customers, but their social outreach campaigns are effective because they know their customer segment so well. On regular basis they submit questions on Facebook on topics ranging from cloud computing trends to specific questions on Rackspace services. This allows them to create relevant and compelling content – blogs, video, and company/industry news – on a regular basis.
Three Elements of Social Media
- Outreach Campaigns – Launching an effective outreach campaign is a critical component of any social engagement strategy. These are often made up of a hybrid approach including advertising, public relations and social media. Facebook isn’t necessarily the silver bullet, but it is a significant piece of any cloud company’s outreach strategy. With Facebook advertising companies have a pool of hundreds of millions of potential followers. Through the Facebook advertising portal companies can get real specific about the types of customers they reach out to.
- Content – As with any form of Web marketing content is king on Facebook. The key to really engaging customers on Facebook is providing relevant content on a consistent basis. This basically means providing stories and posts that your customers will actually read, and do it on a regular basis. This can be something as simple as sharing a blog post, or as complex as launching a Facebook-based Web video series. Either way, the point is to use Facebook as a content generation platform for your customers to participate in with you.
- Connections – A Facebook campaign is only as strong as your most loyal followers. As mentioned earlier, the best way to measure success is through creating a community of influencers. Some of the best influencers for the cloud computing industry often happen to be tech bloggers. Popular tech bloggers have massive amounts of loyal followers eagerly awaiting their plug for the latest and greatest tech. If you get a popular tech blogger on your side, they can establish your cloud service as the latest and greatest in tech.
It’s important to remember that while Facebook is an important aspect of your social media outreach strategy; it doesn’t work the same for everyone. Each cloud computing company has very specific needs, which translates to very specific customers. But with the crowded space that is the cloud computing industry, the thing that sets you apart is the thing that will help you influence the massive Facebook community.