Engagement is key for retaining clients and reducing churn. There are a number of ways your SaaS can boost engagement, but an important factor is ensuring that they are educated about your product and able to derive value from it.
Generally speaking, customers don’t know what they don’t know, so as we’ve established previously, education can provide a win-win for the business and the customer.
Social media often tends to be underused by SaaS as a channel for educating customers. While it won’t suit everyone, with 2.3 billion active users worldwide, there’s a good chance you can reach a large number of your customers through social media.
Source: Smart Insights
What can you be doing to encourage better results with social media? Let’s look at some strategies:
Know Your Customer
First up, it’s a difficult task developing an effective social media strategy if you don’t have a clear picture of who your customer is. We’ve discussed previously how you need to be able to identify your customer personas and the key aspects that define individual customer success.
When you’re looking to educate, you will be much more effective if you can speak to those ingrained preferences and produce content that directly addresses how your customer can achieve success.
Choose Your Platform(s) Wisely
A mistake that many companies make is in trying to cover too many social media channels at once, but not having the time to do any of them effectively. You will only harm your brand if your social channels are used inconsistently or ineffectively.
This is another part of knowing your customer; you need to know where they tend to hang out on social media so that you can focus on the one or two channels which will get you best bang for buck.
Social media has not traditionally been a huge push for B2B SaaS, but you may also find that there are less “traditional” platforms which are ideal for your target audience. For example, SlideShare is used by many businesses and can be a great opportunity to educate through engaging presentations, while Medium is another channel frequented by professionals.
Rather than jumping into a social media group and blurting or saying what you assume people want to hear on your own channels, spend some time hanging out where your people do and listen to what they’re saying.
Identify themes and common problems/questions so that you can frame up your educational posts in a way that speaks to the needs of the customer. You could also just ask questions at first, for example “what is your biggest challenge with (something that relates to a problem your SaaS solves).”
[tweetthis]SaaS social media: Listen to your target audience, then create a strategy to address needs.[/tweetthis]
If you want to gain engagement from your educational social media content, then it must be insightful, relevant and of high quality. There’s a lot of noise on social media so you are competing for attention with others who may have the same goals as you.
The engagement of customers is better achieved when you’re able to make an emotional connection. This means truly speaking to their issues and desires. You should be finding out what those are by listening in on platforms as suggested in the last section, but other ideas include checking out Quora and Reddit for questions and pain points that come up. Your educational content will probably answer questions like “how do I …” and “how can your SaaS help me to …”, so look at those social platforms with those questions in mind.
Sure, you can deal in purely the cold, hard facts and figures, but neuroscience tells us that’s not the best way to achieve the audience connection you’re looking for. If you want to really grab them and make a lasting impression, weaving storytelling into your educational content is the way to go.
When we are told a story, studies show that more parts of our brain light up and become engaged than if we are processing facts and figures. Imagine what that could mean for your content! If you are able to directly speak to those needs of your customer but do so while crafting a compelling story, you win on engagement and become instantly memorable to the customer.
You can create the most emotion-inducing story to educate your customers, but it’s of no use to you if it doesn’t get read. There are a number of barriers that can put people off consuming content, no matter how well put together it is and these tend to come down to the readability of the post.
It might seem like a lot for a busy, early start-up SaaS to take onboard, but taking the time to ensure that your posts are crafted for readability can pay dividends in terms of engagement.
The “how to” for specific posts will vary according to the platform you use, but here are some general rules for ensuring your content is readable:
- Use formatting where possible. Change up your text with italics, bolding, underlining and bullet points.
- Keep paragraphs short and easy to consume. If you’re using slides, stick to one or two key points per slide.
- Use high quality images. We tend to be drawn to images over text and statistics show that people’s willingness to read a piece of content increases by 80% when colored visuals are included
- Use images that are sized correctly for the social media platform.
- Write conversationally and try to have personality!
Readability is a factor that often gets left out in the hustle to produce good content at the same time as growing your SaaS, but if you forget this point, your content creation efforts could be a waste of time. Don’t let yours become a snooze-fest of lengthy paragraphs!
How Does This Look In Practice?
You aim is to grow engagement and retain clients by using social media as a channel for education. Good content strategy is not easy, so let’s look at a couple of examples of SaaS who have met the criteria discussed here…
Shopify has been a mega success story on how education can boost current customer engagement while growing their brand and encouraging new sign-ups. Social media has been a big part of their content strategy and they can be found on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Instagram and Pinterest (whew!).
While they are a large player now, it’s important to remember they didn’t start out that way. They employed a very successful content marketing strategy and were able to grow ten times larger within three years.
If you look at their social media accounts now, you see they tell stories and they educate. A powerful part of that has been in sharing customer success stories. It’s through these real-life examples that others can relate to their own situation.
Hubspot is another example of a SaaS which has grown with a large emphasis on content marketing (which is hardly surprising, given that it is their specialty!). They are also across multiple different social media channels educating both clients and prospects, but they are a good example of a SaaS doing well on less traditional channels.
Hubspot was an early adopter of SlideShare and use the channel to produce educational content that is garnering a high level of engagement. They currently have nearly 40,000 followers on SlideShare alone and tend to produce something new once or twice per month, often in tandem with a larger blog post on their website.
Social media can provide a big opportunity for SaaS to educate and engage customers and prospects, but only if you take the time to know the customer and develop a strategy first.
Social media channels will potentially give you good reach due to their high numbers of active users, but you need to be producing engaging content that elicits emotion from your audience and really speaks the successes they desire.
B2B SaaS have often been slow to create much of a presence on social media, or they are simply creating the token pages to get found. But if you choose the right platforms where your target audience can be found, you can build your brand for customers and deliver quality educational posts that will help their decision to stay with your SaaS.
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