How to Make Technical Products Relatable on Social
There is always the temptation to talk “speeds and feeds” when it comes to technical products and services. But when marketing to the awareness and consideration portion of the funnel on social media, a product sheet doesn’t cut it.
The Social Media Metrics Map
Outside of a major launch, product-centric announcements tend to perform poorly. You can’t present a technical product manual on social media—you have to tell a story.
Here’s how I make the technical more relatable in my job as a social marketing manager at Rackspace.
Bring the Abstract to Life
Instead of talking about the theoretical benefits of a product, tell a story through the eyes of a customer.
— Rackspace (@Rackspace) March 7, 2016
Having a person describe the benefits they’ve received from your product is gold; getting it on film is even better. It would behoove any company that offers early access or beta programs to line up customer stories prior to the general availability launch. Don’t have any customers? Create a real world scenario or thought experiment where you provide a narrative of your technical products’ abilities.
Provide Helpful Content
Our mantra on the Rackspace social media team is Be Helpful. While the team was founded as a way to support customers, we have extended the Be Helpful ethos into our marketing efforts as well.
How-to articles, guides, best practices, or forum posts that address your community’s pain points always do well. Even if you can only tangentially tie-in your product or service, demonstrating that you have the ability—and willingness—to solve a problem performs well on social.
Eye Towards the Future
Whether it’s our constant yearning to become better, or simply that we like thinking about the next big thing, people love looking towards the future.
A photo posted by rackspace (@rackspace) on
And, chances are, your technical product has some sort of role in shaping what tomorrow looks like. Discuss the trends in your industry and find a way to explain your role in it.
Unexpected Ways to Demonstrate Product
Your audience may be familiar with your product, but showing it in an unexpected way can lead to social media gold. A couple classics come to mind to illustrate this concept. The Samsung video promoting their SSD hard drives shows juxtapositions of digital performance with physical activities.
The Shouting in the Data Center video by a couple of guys at Sun shows the effectiveness of monitoring in a new way.
A team of Rackers (what we call Rackspace employees) showcases the effectiveness of our OnMetal product when their Simpsons quote search engine hit massive amounts of traffic.
If you are going to speak in “speeds and feeds” on social, the best way to do it is through technical benchmarks. People love seeing hardcore research and metrics that pit one thing against another: time to go from zero to 60, number of concurrent connections, time to run a 40-yard dash.
— Rackspace (@Rackspace) March 2, 2016
If your product has outperformed your competitor’s and you have research to back it up, use that data on social.
Learn to Laugh
Possibly the most risky strategy, but also the greatest reward, comes from creating “fun” content. While we may finally be past brands trying to create content what will go viral, clever content can go a long way. In most cases, this type of marketing will be tangential to your core product. Poking fun at a particular pain or nuisance that your audience experiences can go a long way, such as the Email in Real Life video by SolarWinds.
Additionally, find something that causes a controversy to your community and stoke that controversy—I call this the Oxford Comma Exploit. Nothing gets a group of writers hot and bothered like a good ole fashioned Oxford comma debate. At Rackspace, I found a similar topic for developers: their choice of text editor to write code. We helped bring that fervor to life by creating a Text Editor March Madness bracket.
Going from the Relatable to the Technical
With the exception of technical benchmarking content, most of these content pieces play at the top of the demand funnel. So while these tactics can get folks interested in your product or services, don’t squander the opportunity to take the customer or prospect farther down the funnel.
Be sure to provide a path where they can learn more about your product and take a deeper dive into that highly technical content that may not perform as well on social but is needed for the buyer journey.
Need help putting these techniques into practice? Download Simply Measured’s How to Build a Social Media Calendar Guide below to get started.
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Garrett Heath works as a social marketer for Rackspace, the #1 managed cloud company. He has previous experience as a content marketer and a technical project manager, maintains a blog on the food and culture of San Antonio and is an inventor of the Pi Pie Pan . You can find him on Twitter at @pinojo