Twitter Newcomers: How To Form Your Social Media Strategy

Interviewer’s Note:  I met Jay while perusing my Pluggio follow suggestions.  Though e was fairly new to Twitter, I saw that he was quite a business veteran in general, and wanted to see what he thought of social media so far.

Hello Jay, welcome to the Pluggio Blog.  How do you describe your business?

I run Better Minds Consulting; we are an IT Consulting firm with niche services in IT Project staffing and application development. We’re based in Pittsburgh, PA, but we serve our clients across USA.

How did you get started?

I’ve got over twenty years of technology experience, and I’d  seen how projects were impacted due to resource issues and lack of project management.  I was able to analyze the bottlenecks and wanted to assist organizations in timely delivery of their technology implementations. While I was providing services as Director with an IT consulting firm, I was not fully able to accomplish my mission to help clients. So, being an independent minded person, I decided to take the plunge and branched off on my own with the sole aim of making a difference to my clients.

I see you’re fairly new to Twitter- what roles doe you expect social media will play in your business?

Yes, I signed up with Twitter just a month ago, almost seven years after I started my small business consulting firm. However, I did hear about Twitter and how companies are trying to reach out to potential clients.

How so?

IT firms are sharing project opportunities with IT consultants, which can motivate passive candidates to respond. The biggest challenge is to attract highly skilled people for IT projects who avoid the job boards.  So, social media tools like Twitter can provide the direct access for us with qualified candidates.  Besides, we can follow our clients and potential leads and track their IT investment plans and build pipeline of opportunities.

What impact or change do you expect to see due to Twitter/social marketing?

Twitter, I feel is a unique and effective marketing / branding tool. It can play the dual role of being an active and passive market vehicle for any size company. The only difficulty is accommodating our elevator speech within those limited characters.

That is tricky- 140 characters really does force one to be concise.  We should stop calling them “elevator speeches’; maybe “elevator tweets” would be more appropriate.

I am hopeful that we can tap the IT talent through our project opportunities posted on twitter while reaching out to potential clients with our consulting services.

In addition, if we do not have a presence on Twitter and other social media outlets like Facebook, we may not attract the “social media friendly” consultants. By adopting emerging technology trends, we show our agile and techno-savvy approach to prospective clients – our customers and consultants.

How are you building your following?  What kinds of people/businesses are they?

My Twitter bio clearly states what I do for a living and also what I aspire for. So, IT consulting, Knowledge Management, Social Networking / analysis are my key areas of interest. Also, being a small business owner/CEO with the above interests, a few have been following me possibly to see how a guy like me builds networks or tweets. That can throw some light in an ethnographic research for KM experts. A few IT providers are following me possibly looking for some business opportunities. I am not sure.

I enjoy sharing things about interesting happenings and about people doing motivating stuff. That may also lead to some followers.

But there are a few who are the typical spammers who have nothing in common and follow just for the heck of it and I block them.

How will you choose who you will follow?  What do you look for in a follower?

Good question. I did a search on topics which matter most to me: Technology, IT Consulting, Knowledge Management ( which is close to corporate resource utilization) and social network analysis ( my doctoral research thesis uses this for studying the knowledge sharing behavior in project teams). Identified a few well known people like Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt and then choose a few of their followers who match with my above topics of interest. Then it builds, like the snow-ball effect.

That’s a good idea.  What strategies did you use for social marketing (either online or offline)?

We strongly believe that word of mouth  and personal attention are the best marketing vehicle for us. So, we do interact closely with our employees and small business forums to share our products/services and accomplishments ( offline marketing) .

For online marketing?

Online marketing: By building a CMS website, we update our website with our portfolio of services which has propagated globally and provided us with business leads.  We also have blog features on our CMS website to highlight new technology areas where our consultants have implemented projects and blogs to attract new talents. Our customers are able to see testimonials from our project successes and get an insight of our capabilities.

Linked In has provided us some leads through networking and so we see the potential for social marketing.

What has worked for you so far?

As mentioned already, we are beginning to use social media tools like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn ( Google + is also in pipeline). Linked In and our corporate CMS websites have actually provided us business leads and traffic.

What didn’t work for you?

Online marketing has gotten us leads. Offline has not worked as expected but has given us opportunities.

If you could go back to when you first began using social media, what is one thing you would have done differently?

I would use the online video tips on building a social media strategy and develop a business plan using social media tools.

What does Twitter do for you that nothing else can do?

Twitter can provide business intelligence (BI) of who is following us and why? This can help us look for potential business tie-ups, opportunities to provide consulting services and hire talented consultants ( and avoid costly job boards). By analyzing the followers, we can identify the reasons and improve website content and social media marketing to attract more traffic.
What lessons have you learned about Twitter and online marketing?

Twitter and online marketing gives any business, especially small businesses like us, local and global reach and familiarity.  If the marketing campaign is compelling ( and brief as in tweets), it can generate an interest for potential customers to seek more details about our products and services.

Unlike emails, Twitter like tools can reach potential customers without spamming. The increased use of smart phones and tablets is going to engage people more and more with social media networking and the best way to reach the target audience with a clear message is using the social media tools.

Follow Better Minds Consulting on Twitter here.

_

Do you use social media in a unique way for your work, career, or industry?  If so, would you like to be featured in one of our interviews?  Email us and tell us what do you.

Become a follower of us on Twitter at: @Tweets4SmallBiz

For my posts about topics in small business and entrepreneurship,  follow my updates via RSS here