LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are great tools for promoting brand awareness, increasing online presence, interacting with current and potential clients and marketing services, but it can be a challenge to market B2B services in a consumer environment. We conducted research for almost two years prior to launching PTM’s Social Media Marketing campaign. While there has been plenty of advice written on social media marketing for businesses, we found that once again, there was nothing written that was tailored even remotely to companies offering payroll and payroll tax filing services.
We have a unique industry with unique needs and we built a social media marketing campaign that is sensitive to those needs and the “small world” that is the payroll industry.
When starting or running your own social media marketing campaign, while not necessarily exclusive to the payroll industry, the following are a few keys things you should keep in mind for your B2B Social Media Marketing.
Follow your competitors. It may seem a little crazy, but don’t you want to keep tabs on what they are doing? Maybe they will share new products or ideas that you need to know in order to remain competitive. They may Tweet tidbits that are not listed on their Web site.
• Are they offering new ancillary services?
• Do they process garnishment payments?
• Are they offering online payroll tax services?
• Do they guarantee payroll tax compliance?
• Are they processing Canadian payroll and taxes?
You may never know unless you follow their online conversations.
Watch how you interact with competitors. In reference to the above, you want to keep tabs on them, but do you want to help promote their business or increase their online presence? I didn’t think so. Prior to starting your Social Media Marketing campaign, be sure you have a well defined plan as to how you will interact with competitors online. Please be sure to consider not only your direct competitors, but competitors of your alliance partners, vendors and clients.
Don’t give too much information. You want to give your prospects and clients enough information about your products and services to keep them interested. However, please remember that (in reference to the above) your competitors are probably following you. Don’t give away your secrets!
Keep it professional. This goes without saying for any business, but it is so much more important in the payroll industry. We are, after all, asking that people entrust us with very sensitive financial matters and data. We want people to know and believe that when we draft their account we will, in fact, calculate the employee payroll and taxes correctly, and remit Federal and State payroll taxes timely. No one will trust you if you tweet like a 15-year old. It can be a challenge on Twitter, with only 140 characters, but try to keep grammar at its best whenever possible. If your post is too long, consider writing a blog about it or posting it on Facebook or LinkedIn.
Try not to follow significantly more people than follow you. Facebook and Twitter remind me of high school and unfortunately no one is going to want to follow you or “Like” your page if you are unpopular online. People will wonder if you’re tweeting at all, if you are giving good information or just posting shamelessly self-promotional items. Follow all the people you need in order to stay up-to-date on all the industry news, but try to have a balanced profile.
Don’t be a Spammer. Everyone knows that every social media campaign is meant to increase online presence and drive more sales but payroll professionals are very busy and are not going to take time for your posts if all you do is tweet or post about your services. Bring added value to the table to keep your followers interested, Tweet on topics that will educate your clients, such as;
• New requirements for payroll tax forms
• New agency requirements that will affect employee payroll and taxes
• New laws that will affect payroll tax withholding and calculation
• New payroll or tax software updates
• Schedule updates for agency payroll tax deposits
• Other useful payroll and tax compliance updates
Show your clients and prospects that you are an expert in your industry and a great source of information protecting them from needless penalties and interest. They will choose you over your competitor who only tweets about how awesome he is or why you should buy his products and services.