The SaaS market is vastly different today than it was just a decade ago. From 2008 to 2016, market worth jumped from about $5.5 billion to $116.4 billion and has continued to grow every year since. This means that, for SaaS companies, both opportunity and competition have increased dramatically. With Generation Z entering the workforce, it’s even more important that SaaS companies find ways to engage with this new subset of digitally savvy clients.
Every SaaS provider must aim to stand out if they hope to succeed. And that's precisely where a proper social media strategy comes into play.
Social media can help your business communications with your customers and build trust with them while jumpstarting awareness about your brand and products to drive up audience count. If you handle it appropriately, it's a form of off-page SEO that will bring more visitors to your website and services. With Generation Z entering the workforce, social media is becoming a must for SaaS companies
It's social nature also allows you and company representatives to become a part of relevant, forward-facing discussions. You can see and respond to customer sentiment about your brand or products, collect customer feedback, alleviate customer service issues and even respond to competitor trends. If a customer base is complaining about a competitor's product, for example, you can enter the conversation and either suggest your own services or learn what's going on so that you can bolster your products.
But as useful a tool as social media is, there are right and wrong ways to go about using it. Here are some strategies that will help you positively incorporate social media into your marketing.
1. Social Customer Service Channels
One thing that a lot of businesses are doing is providing open customer support via social media. This is a great idea, but it can be troublesome if you're not willing to invest the necessary time and resources.
For starters, your customers are likely going to talk about your brand and services on social media, whether you're part of the conversation or not. Being a part of it is always better because it gives you the opportunity to respond. And with something like always-on SaaS products, fast and contextual support is necessary to keep things running smoothly.
Not to mention, any communications or support you offer on social media is public and visible to all, which shows potential or interested customers the kind of support they can expect from your company.
Salesforce does a great job of this on Twitter, for example. A customer who is having trouble with one of their services can reach out to the social media team for a relatively quick response. This avenue is in addition to their conventional customer service channels.
2. Social User Reviews and Shared Experiences
Customer reviews, recommendations and testimonials are all necessary for growing your business and building trust within the community. One great thing about social media, again, is that you can enter into discussions with your peers and customers, further enhancing their experiences.
Let's say a customer has a negative experience with one of your products during some unfortunate downtime. They take to social media to air their grievances. This is an opportunity for your company not only to rectify the situation but also to improve its brand image. You can politely explain what was wrong, how you fixed it and what you're doing to ensure it doesn't happen again. You can also take the opportunity to repair the relationship by extending user discounts and promotions, solutions and general support. Other followers will be able to see evidence of how seriously you take customer satisfaction.
Every product or service is going to have issues. It's how you respond to them that makes all the difference to customers.
This also works to build trust because you're not sweeping reviews and opinions under the rug. You're giving the people who post them more of a soapbox by interacting with them and sharing their comments.
3. Work With the Community
Social media gives you the opportunity to engage with your customers and those interested in your company. Having such easy access to this community affords you an incredible opportunity to improve and develop your products and services further.
By opening discussions with the people who use your products you can better understand their experiences and use this information to shape the future of your offerings. SaaS products are almost always in active development, with regular security and feature updates, tons of maintenance and both live and offline code changes.
Social is a direct line to your active customers that allows you to see how an update or revision affects their operations. Maybe a new feature implementation broke a certain aspect of the software? Perhaps it brought to light a string of related yet missing features? Maybe there's a security flaw that someone in your community discovered?
It's this level of feedback from the community that can really help you elevate your services. By continuing to improve and deliver upon what your customers want, you establish a loyal community and support structure that will perpetuate growth.
4. Publish Visual Content
In social networks — be it Facebook, Pinterest or even mobile-heavy platforms like Instagram or Snapchat — visuals are key. Images are incredibly effective with social media users, especially when they come from a brand or business they trust.
60 percent of respondents between 18 and 24 want to see more visual content and images from brands they support. 56 percent of respondents between ages 25 and 34 want more images, as do 42 percent of respondents between 35 and 44.
In other words, it doesn't matter what age group you're talking about — people love visual content. It's a great way to drum up engagement, especially via social platforms. It also happens to be a great way to represent and promote your products as so many of us are visual learners.
Even something as simple as a quick tutorial video on YouTube or a custom infographic about how customers use your products will not only garner a lot of views and shares but provide a clear picture of what your brand offers as well. Think of it as a form of external marketing or promotions, by which people outside your active customer base come into contact with your products and services.
Social media can help you grow your install base beyond anything you ever expected. But most importantly, you have a direct communication channel to the people who matter most — your active customers.
About the AuthorMore Content by Nathan Sykes