By the year 2015, more than 40 percent of media companies will employ subscription services to sustain their businesses, according to independent research group Gartner. This emerging business model of recurring revenue (also known as subscription billing) has yielded impressive results, particularly in the software as a service (SaaS) market. So how can businesses that sell SaaS through a recurring or subscription billing tap into the powerhouse marketing tool of social media to promote their businesses and products and boost sales? With the right businesses practices and and a few savvy tips, your company can make social media work for you.
Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are a great way to reach your customers, as well as gauge customer satisfaction. These sites can aid SaaS businesses in identifying problems and complaints through customer feedback, as well as generating solutions to those issues.
But before launching a massive social media campaign, it is important to assess your company's business tools. Subscription billing brings a unique set of challenges, including managing late payments and ensuring customer data security. If you do not have a strong billing system, you could be flooded with payment issues when your social media campaign generates a large number of new customers.
To counter such a complication, you can utilize a company like Chargify, which offers social media compatible features like an easy-to-use online interface that does not require tedious software downloads. These features also allow customers to sign up, make payments, upgrade their accounts and use coupons, which also serve as excellent social media promotions.
Tips for Successful Social Media Campaigns
- Use infographics: Mark Smiciklas, President of Intersecting Consulting, points out in his book "The Power of Infographics" that modern demographics respond well to infographics because they incorporate visual learning, making information absorbency easier for the consumer.
- Integration: You can gain a larger customer base by integrating your product with other products and services. This is especially effective in the social media realm where one product or service can create a cyber path to another.
- Target mobile devices for marketing: More than 71 percent of social media users access these sites with smartphones and tablets, and nearly 44 percent of all consumers now own a tablet device, reports Adobe. If your SaaS business does not offer a mobile compatible interface, you are missing out on an important demographic.
- Utilize trending: Originally a Twitter feature that has now spread to other social media, trending and #hashtags not only keep users informed, but also offer a unique opportunity for advertising. Trending catches the user's attention; #hashtags focus that attention and simplify online searches. #Hashtags can also encourage informed users to participate in online conversations about your product, and limit random or irrelevant user comments. Utilizing these social media features provides businesses with an extra visibility edge.
The social media market can be a tough nut to crack, but by following a few choice tips and implementing the right business practices, your SaaS business could be booming in no time.