Gaining New Customers – Strategic Social Media and Marketing Focus For Integrators

social media phone

Today, some well-known (and even some lesser known) systems integrators have made their mark in marketing and social media, however many are still looking for the proper strategies as well as the more enhanced ways to build the industry profile – especially to gain new customers. It seems that for any company to compete and advance in the industry, along with presenting the proper solutions and strategies for the customer, they must also leverage more advanced tactics in marketing to the customer as well. Certain examples (beyond standard marketing) include social media, (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and more), blogging, targeted webinars and podcasts, and more.

On certain podcasts I and others have discussed marketing and social media and the benefits that certain companies have found in leveraging different platforms. On our rAVe industry podcast this week, a social media professional joined us along with the guests to talk about using certain social media platforms at InfoComm 2016, leveraging social media targeted to end users and generational groups and our manufacturer guests discussed which are their go-to platforms as well. I personally prefer Twitter as my main platform (as many others do as well), with LinkedIn as the main business-facing one, although there is a lot to be said about Facebook as well. Other platforms like Instagram have generated a certain focus for some as well. Snapchat was a new platform focus brought to InfoComm 2016, possibly more on that next year. When considering promoting and selling through social media, there are numerous ways to leverage the numerous platforms that are available, however a concentrated and coordinated approach is certainly necessary to recognize any level of success. My advice, make sure you follow on Twitter as well as look to gain followers – just make sure they are proper Twitter sites to follow.

Here’s a tweet that I put out last week on Twitter as a promo for our AV Power Up rAVe Radio podcast show, which included a link to my rAVe Pubs “Disruptive Top 10 at InfoComm 2016” blog (hashtags of course will vary depending on the targeted audience):

(Note: I have posted a podcast at the bottom of this blog where a few of us in the industry discuss certain social media platforms and how they’ve been leveraged. I also encourage you to listen to this week’s AV Power Up podcast to hear the social media discussion I highlighted here). 

Along with social media, blogging is considered by many to be a vital source for delivering a particular message about technologies, target markets, strategies and more. Many industry manufacturers use blogging as a major marketing resource – Harman Professional, Polycom, Draper Inc. and Blue Jeans are just some examples. Along with this, a company like Polycom even develops a dedicated social media page to include blogs and articles. As an industry blogger, I have to say that this strategy is one that should be utilized by any integrator that works with commercial end users to promote solutions, commercial markets that they target and more.

Putting out the News is also an excellent way to send a professional message to potential clients – appearances at trade shows, technology discussions and presentations at events, industry awards given to the company and employees, and more. Sales and marketing can readily point to this on the company’s website when talking with prospective clients.

So how do these apply to the Pro AV integrator? There are those in commercial integration who have leveraged social media, blogging and news as main resources – examples being AVI-SPL, Advanced AV, AVI Systems and Electrosonic (on Twitter) – all top industry integrators. Here are Advanced AV and AVI Systems‘ blog sites, and here are AVI-SPL and Electrosonic’s News sites.

YouTube is considered by many to be the number one way to deliver company and solutions messages via online media (Vimeo is another). During trade shows, numerous manufacturers as well as media sources upload video to YouTube for all external “watchers” to see – recorded, uploaded and even sent out over social media. At InfoComm for example, commercial integrators as well as end users who are not able to attend can see what’s taking place, solutions offerings and more on recorded video, like this (my interview with Oblong Industries):

One of the many videos from InfoComm 2016, these can even be shown to customers for a solutions preview of sorts.

With this method, an integrator can record solutions discussions or demo presentations and then be able to show the customer online, prior to an onsite demo or even at times in place of one. Other possible video-based solutions are Periscope and Facebook Live which have both been used at industry trade shows, some for business and some for fun as well.

Live and recorded webinars are other examples – industry manufacturers will offer webinars to integrators as well as end users to find out about their current solutions, usage, targeted markets (e.g. education, financial, healthcare) and more. Certain integrators have leveraged this strategy as well, partnering with manufacturers to present as well as presenting on their own.

Podcasting – video or audio – is the newer generation way of delivering the message whether it be a technology or marketing/social media-based discussion show. I have worked with certain companies to create a theme-based podcast to face the commercial enterprise end user. I can do the podcast with them doing the recording or I can as well, providing them with the audio file. I have created numerous audio-based blog interviews for rAVe – my Science Behind the Technology theme was the latest one. I use a known cloud videoconference platform to record certain podcasts or interviews, do edits at times and then upload to SoundCloud. Creating specialty podcasts can be done within one’s company, as well as working with others who do this kind of work. Podcasts can be placed on iTunes and other online sites for download.

More to come on this topic – further examples (including audio and video), discussions with industry experts and more.

Podcast: The Social Business Sphere with myself, John Greene at Advanced AV, George Fournier at FSR Inc. and Tom Roberto at Core Technology Solutions.