Networking Brings In Commercial Accounts
onsidered to be the more formal approach to social media, LinkedIn is a popular networking resource for businesspeople who want to connect with other professionals. In part, the Web site is used as a platform to exchange company information and opportunities among industry peers.
“At SDA, we use LinkedIn to show professional contacts the new things going on with the company,” O’Neal says. “So, if there are articles out there with our name, I put it on our LinkedIn page so people can see that we’re not just sitting around.”
LinkedIn is probably the best social media site for electronic security contractors vying to win commercial and national accounts, according to Simmons and Vector Security Vice President of Marketing Art Miller.
“I think some folks [initially] looked at LinkedIn as kind of a resume,” Miller says. “It’s really a community of business leaders, and it’s a powerful one, too. Suddenly you have access to some very big decision makers in the commercial and national account space that have the opportunity to see your profile.”
Simmons says it’s important for security industry executives to build up their own networks on LinkedIn. That way, if senior management pursues a certain company for business but has no initial contacts at the corporation, they can look through their LinkedIn colleagues for a possible way in.
“All of a sudden, you can figure out who you know in your network that might know someone at that company who can recommend you on a personal level,” she explains.
She also suggests that security professionals join the various security-related groups on the site and become a frequent contributor to the discussions. A prospective commercial client will see that you’re knowledgeable and will perhaps keep your firm in mind when seeking an electronic security contractor.
Bonus Online Material: How to Drive Traffic With Video
The few security firms utilizing social media have signed on to drive traffic to their Web sites and increase search engine optimization. Google is the top-ranked search engine in the world. Can you name the runner-up? You may be surprised to learn it’s YouTube.
Because video is more engaging to the average person, using YouTube can be an excellent selling tool, according to Tim Smith, director of corporate support, Per Mar Security Services of Davenport, Iowa.
“From a technology standpoint, we wanted to make sure that we would have the ability to share information about our products and services without them necessarily being in front of a salesperson,” he says. “We wanted them to do it at their leisure.”
Per Mar’s videos are also beneficial for salespeople who are trying to secure a sale. When trying to close a deal, the sales team will send a follow up E-mail to a prospective client that features a link to the company’s YouTube page highlighting the technology discussed in an earlier meeting.
“We use our videos to show potential customers that we’re still out there and we’re thinking about them,” Smith says.
Of course, social media managers can’t throw just anything on YouTube. After all, every company wants to be known as the foremost authority in the electronic security industry. When it comes to posting content on YouTube, there are several options to take. Often, manufacturers create videos that highlight their products. Security firms that sell or install those products can embed the content onto their YouTube profiles and acquire views. Local news reports that discuss relevant information for customers, such as crime trends, also work well.
Additionally, electronic security contractors can create their own content, albeit a time-consuming process. Despite hiring an outside person to shoot the video, it takes Per Mar Security roughly two weeks to come up with a story idea, write the copy, shoot the footage, edit the content and post the final result. It costs the company, which started using YouTube in 2010, between $325 and $450 to develop video content, Smith says.
For organizations considering shooting their own videos, Smith suggests using someone from your company that has the knowledge and passion for technology to show clientele that the company is knowledgeable in what it’s selling.
“Most of our videos feature our manager for the technical services department Kevin Link,” he says. “He tests the equipment when it comes in and he has a good understanding about what it can and can’t do. Instead of hiring an actor, we got someone with the knowledge that is sincere.”
Jagger, who has 60 videos posted to his YouTube account, records video footage for Provident Security using either an iPhone or a simple point-and-shoot camera. On average, it takes three to four hours for Jagger to edit the content and post.
It is vital to optimize videos for search engines, since a well-optimized video on YouTube can often rank first on Google faster than a page on a company’s Web site, Plant explains. Thus, creating a strong title and description for a video is crucial.
“If you’re promoting a video about home alarm systems in Seattle, use the key phrase, ‘Home Alarm Systems in Seattle’ as the title, not your company name,” he says. “Keep the description short and keyword rich and tag your video appropriately.”
What about the length of the footage? “Anything over four minutes is way too long,” Smith explains. “Anything under two minutes and 30 seconds is probably not going to get the message across.”
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