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Best social media platforms and strategy for the IT consultant

A conversation last week at work around our use of social platforms has had me thinking this weekend about the IT Sales Channel, and what the data is around our demographic. Which social platforms does it tell us we should focus on?

So I got to digging into some PEW research data, along with the BLS, and some 3rd party sources below, and came up with what I feel is a simple but clear picture and strategy for advisors and sales partners.

The punchline - be obsessed with YouTube, steady on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram, and explore emerging platforms.

Why? Keep reading...

Snapshot data

  • The average age of Technical Buyers in the US is 47. 
  • The average age of IT Directors in the US is also 47. 
  • The average age of Systems Admins in the US is 43. 
  • 75% of IT professionals make more than $67,000 annually.

A Snapshot of IT Professionals in the US 

A Snapshot of Social Media Usage in the US

What does this tell us about how to social market in the 2023 IT advisory channel?

First, let me address the cynic - yes, there are a bunch of data points not addressed here. Gender, ethnicity, geography, platform focus, purpose, etc. This post is intentionally about age and earnings so that we can focus on two of the most relevant in our industry and then build from there.

You can see in the data that IT professionals 30 and over account for 86% of total employment, with more than half (56%) being over the age of 40. 

Now don't mistake what I'm saying. 

Digital natives (those born after 1980) have been in the IT workforce for years (already close to 50%), and are moving into decision-making roles all the time.

This highlights the importance of being ready and staying nimble.

Just remember that good marketing says to focus on your buyer while you plan for where things are headed. You can look at the recent marketing fiasco of Bud Light for a good example of what happens when you forget your buyer.

Currently, the IT buyer is a middle-aged, affluent professional. 

They use YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Linked In (in that order, by a wide margin). Why? They like short-form videos for content and learning. As professionals, it is the fastest and easiest place to find research, reviews, validation and even buying options. 

Here are a few tactics to help you build a strategy.

Tactics

  1. Use YouTube to categorize, and host your videos with insights about key technologies and business solutions. Post regularly and promote subscribing. The #1 industry represented on YouTube is Tech, with close to half of all sponsored content on the platform in the category.
    Building a YouTube Channel
  2. Build a thorough company page on both Facebook and LinkedIn.
    Here are some tips: Facebook  - LinkedIn 
  3. Use Facebook and LinkedIn for sharing direct links back to your YouTube channel (or website where you are embedding your YouTube videos). 
  4. Build a personal profile on Instagram and polish your personal "brand". If you dislike that terminology as I do, then just think of it as sharing a bit about who you are and what you value.
    Tips for building your brand on Instagram

I say this all the time, marketing is a conversation and the best marketing is relational.

Trust is the foundation for your economic relationship with the customer. As a consulting small business, your greatest leverage over the huge enterprise buying model is YOU...the personal touch and flavor that you bring to the experience. 

So when should you start to focus and build content around a particular social channel? 

I recommend a 30% rule for small businesses. 

When 30% of your target demographic is using a platform, you have an audience in that channel at an established level that makes sense to begin exploring, and by the time you are at 40% usage, you should have a strategy in place. 

Most importantly, don't wait any longer. If you've been hesitant, start simple. Go build that LinkedIn page, or set up your first YouTube channel. Write out a simple posting strategy, and commit to it for 6 months.

Evangelize your socials to everyone you meet. Share the link to grow your audience and you can see a community develop. Most importantly, just start.

 

Sources

  1. https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/fact-sheet/social-media/?tabId=tab-c14683cb-c4f4-41d0-a635-52c4eeae0245 
  2. https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes150000.htm 
  3. https://www.zippia.com/technical-buyer-jobs/demographics/  
  4. https://www.zippia.com/information-technology-director-jobs/demographics/ 
  5. https://www.zippia.com/systems-administrator-jobs/demographics/ 
  6. https://www.zippia.com/information-technology-professional-jobs/demographics/ 
  7. https://flowingdata.com/2022/04/13/social-media-usage-by-age/
  8. https://influencermarketinghub.com/youtube-influencer-marketing-report/#toc-2