By Anthony Toope, marketing and channel operations manager of Fuji Xerox Printers Australia and New Zealand
As we take time in our summer break to enjoy the sun, sand and surf, many of us will reflect on the past year and start to consider opportunities which can help market our business better or to new channels in the new year.
One such opportunity is social media, which can play an important role in establishing effective customer relationships and keeping up regular communication with end customers.
In fact, at the recent Gartner IT Symposium on the Gold Coast, social media was mentioned as one of three major IT trends – the cloud and mobility were the others – so you really can’t afford to miss out.
Need further evidence? A recent study found that Twitter is already used by 91% of B2B marketers, with LinkedIn a close second. On the flip side, when it comes to converting conversations into customers, LinkedIn leads the charge, generating twice as many business leads as the popular micro-blogging site.
Here are some other key reasons why you should consider adopting social media in 2012:
- Mobility: Social media is creating immediacy and mobility with information and news. As such, many end customers now rely on social media as an information resource. Social media tools such as LinkedIn provide another way for you to reach out and communicate with your end customers.
- Contacts: As a channel partner, social media can assist in managing existing contacts and building new relationships. For example with LinkedIn, you can create online relationships with customers, link up with company profiles and join industry discussion groups.
- Understanding and thought leadership: Sharing information through social media tools can help you establish yourself as a ‘thought leader’ on matters relating to your customers. Furthermore, communicating with end customers online can help you to better understand your customers’ requirements.
- Prospects: Social media can deliver real tangible benefits by allowing you to research information on prospective customers. What are they passionate about? What are their frustrations? How could you step in and help their business?
- Cost: Social media is very cost effective and you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to get started. With most social media tools a basic account can be set up for free. Get started and try whatever application best suits your business – that is, the social media platform that your customers are most comfortable interacting with you on. It could be Twitter, LinkedIn or even Facebook.
Fuji Xerox Printers’ has recently launched a dedicated group for our channel partners on the business social media platform, LinkedIn. This is a place that we can share information with you and discuss new products, industry trends, news or business advice. If you haven’t already joined the conversation, I invite you to do so – Join the Fuji Xerox Channel Partner Forum on LinkedIn
Chances are if you’re reading this blog, you’ve already started to dabble in social media. What is your preferred social media platform? Have you engaged with your customers through social media already? I would love to hear about your experiences.