Over the last ten years or so there has been a profound change in the way buyers make buying decisions. If you’re in charge of bringing in new clients for your business, I’m confident you already know this.
Where buyers used to rely on conversations with sales people and/or subject matter experts to help them understand their problems and ways to solve them, they’re postponing one-on-one communications and doing much of the research themselves. Basically, the internet and web have made it possible for prospective clients to cut vendors out of their learning process.
This has a major effect on anyone with a complex business offering. (That’s you.)
By the time potential new clients want to talk to you, they may already have a short list. The good news is you’re on that list. The bad news is you had nothing to do with shaping the terms and requirements they’re looking for. It’s hard to negotiate an agreement that is good for both you and the client when you’re late to the table.
More and more, professional services firms have come to the realization that if they don’t change the way they approach new business efforts, they could be kissing a lot of their best opportunities goodbye. And that, in a nutshell, is why professional services firms are investing in social media.
But let’s look more closely.
Where do your clients go for information?
In 2014, Hinge Marketing took a look at how prospective clients evaluate various professional services. Specifically, they surveyed 1028 buyers of accounting and finance, marketing and communications, legal, technology, management consulting, and architecture, engineering, and construction services.
A whopping 59.9% said they used social media. That was in 2014. Here in 2016, with the explosion in the use of social media for B2B networking – especially LinkedIn, we can safely assume the percentage of potential professional services clients checking you out on social media is even higher now.
As the Hinge report points out, “On average, buyers consult social media more commonly today than they use formal references. This is a significant paradigm shift …”
If you’re not visible on social media, 60% of buyers won’t be able to find you.
Specifically, which social media?
Among the easily overwhelming number of social media networks out there, one stands out by a mile: LinkedIn. When Hinge researchers asked “which social media do you use?” 70% said LinkedIn, which isn’t really surprising when you consider it’s the only social media platform geared 100% to business people.
4 reasons to invest in social media
A robust LinkedIn presence is both a defensive and offensive play in the world of professional services marketing and new business development. In our work with these service providers, the most common objectives include:
- Ensuring the company looks appealing to potential clients, partners, influencers and employees when they come to check the company out.
- Generating increased awareness among target audiences.
- Making it easier to attract and engage the right prospective clients.
- Establishing and cultivating visible thought leadership positions for subject matter experts, which in turn often allows providers to charge more for their services.
Where to start?
Social media can be frustratingly confusing to professionals who don’t work with it everyday. Good social media programs – those that actually contribute to a company’s bottom line – begin with a solid strategy, a lot of research, and the polishing of key individual profiles. These programs involve far more than simply posting updates to your company page.
The first step is to find an advisor you trust. Someone who understands Professional Services marketing and sales in addition to understanding social media. Someone who speaks your language and can make a few light bulbs go on in your head. If a social media professional can’t tell you exactly how their work contributes to your bottom line, it’s time to move on.
How The Conversion Company can help
Ready to rethink the way you look at social media? Take advantage of The Conversion Company’s Social Business Assessment and learn how you’re looking on social media relative to your competition plus what steps you can take now to improve results. Go ahead. Click here to get started.
You may also like:
Why Executives Need a Great LinkedIn Profile. Much has been written about LinkedIn profiles and their value to job hunters and sales people, but what about executives. Do you really need to bother?