If you have been directed here from this week’s newsletter, the article you are looking for is The way out for old corporate data centres – we apologise for the error.

Back to the social media discussion below.

If you are among those who think that data centres don’t need social media, you may want to think again. Data centres’ sales cycles have changed dramatically in the last few years. Instead of approaching vendors at an early stage, when they are looking for information, customers now do most of their research online. They only approach a vendor or provider when they have largely made a decision about their purchase.

In other words, if you’re not visible online and on social media, you will not be part of the process. It doesn’t matter how good your sales team is, they can’t close a sale without a customer. As content marketing becomes significantly more important, social media is an essential part of engaging with potential customers, and generating leads, and also in turning leads into customers.

Using social media

There are a number of ways in which social media can help data centre providers. These are:

It can help to bring the right visitors to your website – By the ‘right’ visitors, we mean those who are in the right location and are from companies of the right size, who might want to buy space in your colocation provision. After all, others may be clicking on your site, but you’re not going to convert them to customers.

Of course you need to do your research first, and find out which social media sites are being used by your potential customers, as well as their pain points. But once you know that, you can make sure that your social media posts are aimed fairly and squarely at the right people, and direct them back to your website. And it goes without saying that your reach on social media will be significantly higher than the personal contact that you can achieve face-to-face via your sales team.

It is a valuable source of market research and a way to engage with potential customers – Your customers are almost certainly on social media. What’s more, it’s not just the buyers who are on there, but also the decision-makers. And they are likely to be talking about their problems and searching for solutions. Social media is, therefore, a really good place to go and find out what your potential and target customers are worried about, at all levels of the business—and then to provide information that will help them to solve their problems. In other words, you can engage with them on the issues that bother them most, and become their go-to provider for solutions. There is really nothing else that provides this two-way interaction in the same way.

You can even use a social media monitoring tool to focus on your existing leads. That way, you can work harder to engage those you already know are interested, and convert them from ‘leads’ to ‘customers’.

Social media helps improve alignment between sales and marketing. Social media isn’t unique to either sales or marketing. Both teams can and should be on there, monitoring conversations, providing information, and building relationships with potential buyers. Customers don’t want to build relationships with someone in marketing, only to find that they have been handed over the moment they want to talk business.

Social media therefore helps to ensure alignment between sales and marketing, as everyone can see what is going on, and how the conversation is developing. It also enables you to make your company sound a bit more ‘human’.

If you’re not on social media, you can’t deal with disgruntled customers who complain publicly. You may be just so good that you never have disgruntled customers, and nobody ever complains. But you’re probably not, because nobody is. And nowadays, the first place customers go to complain is not your complaints department, it is their social media site of choice. You can suffer major reputational damage if you’re not there to reply immediately, and help to sort out the problem. And really, there is no coming back from a social media problem that has been ignored and gone viral.

A vital resource

In other words, social media is vital for data centres. It is a key tool for sales and marketing, because it enables you to build relationships with customers and potential customers before they are even classed as ‘leads’. And that—in these days of self-service buyer research—is worth its weight in gold. The question, perhaps, should not be ‘Why do data centres need social media?’, but ‘Why would any data centre provider consider doing without it?’

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