As marketing professionals, social media has made it much simpler to interact directly with our target audience - making it easier than ever to share relevant information when needed. If it does sound like the ideal marketing medium, there’s, of course, a caveat: what most businesses gained in reach via social media platforms, they lost in control. The truth is that they’re no longer the only captain on board and can’t fully control their brands’ images anymore. They can only contribute to shape them and try to improve them over time. Today, many organisations are walking on thin ice when it comes to their brand image. They’ve likely spent years building a solid online reputation but aren’t doing as much as they should be when it comes to safeguarding it. As a result, everything they’ve worked so hard to build - could be destroyed in seconds thanks to how fast information travels nowadays.
This is especially true in the SaaS industry where, more than on any other market, closing deals relies not only on the need of the product but also on trust. As SaaS marketers and PR pros evolve within one of the most competitive and hostile markets there is, they need to master the use of social media not only to survive but also to thrive and outsmart their competitors.
The current state of play
It is estimated that 90 per cent of new businesses don’t make it past the 7th year (Failory, 2020). Some of the top reasons are “no market need” (42 per cent), “being outcompeted’ (19 per cent), “poor marketing” (14 per cent), and “ignoring customers’ needs” (14 per cent). In that sense, social media has become an essential communication channel for SaaS businesses. To help SaaS businesses overcome these tough challenges, we stepped back and looked at what successful SaaS marketers are doing right on social media. Let’s take a closer look.
Using social media to better understand their market
Before social media, one of the few ways businesses could learn about their audience was to invest a LOT of time and resources in sending out surveys and conducting polls. Nowadays, while you can still employ these techniques, listening to your audience online can deliver a lot more insights, for a lot less. One of the best things about using social media to learn about your audience is that people give unsolicited opinions. They speak their mind and share their thoughts candidly. This is the key to help businesses learn about themselves. They get to analyse their audience’s challenges and aspirations without having to ask them directly or serve them time-consuming surveys and polls. What’s more, we strongly believe here at Mention that you can only learn if you listen.
Selecting the best social media platforms to reach their audiences
Investing thousands of dollars in a TikTok promotional campaign because you’ve been told it’s the hottest social app at the moment doesn’t make sense if no one there cares about what you have to say in the first place. No. You need to be where your audience is. To do this, you can either spend a lot of time and investigate manually (and risk missing important data), or automate the process using a social listening tool. A social listening tool will help you to view your market as a whole and identify where the key conversations are happening — and, therefore, where you should be. What’s more, you will never miss any relevant mention of your brand, products, services, competitors and eventual roadblocks you can help solve.
Leveraging influencer marketing
Influencers are social media content creators who are often dedicated to a niche market. We call them so because their voices are carefully listened to by their loyal followers. They are usually compensated by money or other benefits to promote a brand. Many brands - SaaS included - are already leveraging influencer marketing. It’s an efficient strategy to build trust and gain credibility, reach out to new audiences and share engaging stories. What’s more, those using it right see, on average, a 7-fold increase in their ROI. In 2019 alone, it’s estimated that brands spent over 8 billion dollars to have influencers advertising their products and services online (it is predicted to reach $15B by 2022). Now, we believe bigger isn’t always better. More often than not, working with smaller influencers is more interesting as they have more focused audiences. Besides, they often are often involved with and dedicated to the brands they work with.
Leveraging online reviews
Ninety-four per cent of consumers check online reviews before they decide to buy something. Without knowing your business, they need what we call social proof. Social proof says that the more people say they use your service, the more it will look like a good service. In short, you need to show how happy people are using your service. But not all online reviews are positive. Having said that, we find that SaaS companies shouldn’t ignore negative reviews. They should take the bull by the horns and turn them to your advantage:
- Always respond to relevant complaints (and as fast a possible)
- Take responsibility for what happened
- Be helpful
- Know to recognise and ignore the instigators
Using social media to learn from their competition
Over the last two decades, a marketer’s daily life has greatly evolved. Most importantly, we now can measure everything we do, including the consequences of our actions on our business. Having said that, you can’t evaluate how well you’re doing without comparing against others. Truth is, 77 per cent of businesses rely on media monitoring to keep an eye on their competitors in real-time. What this means is that 4 in 5 of your competitors are likely watching each and every single step you take. And you should do the same.
Using social media to cultivate their employer brand
Employer branding is a new(ish) term and concept that appeared in the 90s’. It depicts the image of a brand from the job seeker’s perspective. The higher your employer brand, the more great people you’ll attract. Your employer brand is fueled by how your services, employees and overall history are perceived on the market. In short, you need to inspire — and you need to do it better than the competition. This takes us back to monitoring. This is once again something social media will help you with if you have the right plan in place.
Here to stay
There’s a ton of benefits from going social with your SaaS brand, but don’t expect it to be easy. Remember, social is an on-going process that you have to continuously improve based on customer data. It’s a lot of work, but there’s a ton of data that links social media with high ROI and heaps of campaign success stories—and with the right strategy—yours can be among them.
Jean-Phillipe Baert, CEO, Mention