The mistake people make when starting to use social media marketing is to just use one channel. The trick is to use everything together and reinforce with social media marketing. Just doing an ad on Facebook is equivalent to walking into a bar and asking a random girl (or guy) out. If you’re really good looking, they are single, you said the right things fast, etc. you might have a chance. Maybe. But probably not.
However, if they had heard of you, knew you from highschool or college, you had friends that connected you, played the same sports, and like a number of the same things you would have a much better chance. It also helps to be good looking, so make sure you’ve got a good designer on your team!
Many things. This includes retweeting cat pics, getting schooled by Nassim Taleb, and, of course, being offensive towards people with different points of view. But none of these things are useful to your software business.
What is useful for your software business, though, is this: using social media to build a brand, and filling your sales funnel. Build your brand to get customers to trust you, and use your followers’ attention to explain how you solve their problem.
Think about what you do when you look at the social profiles of a software vendor you’re about to pay money to. You probably want their LinkedIn profile to mention the number of employees they have. You probably enjoy seeing that their most recent tweet was 6 hours ago and not multiple weeks ago. I’m sure you’d rather buy from a company that has some relevant recent Facebook posts rather than the one that has a Facebook profile but has never taken proper care of it.
With social media you can build a process to attract followers, then select the from them the people that have the problem you can solve, and convince them that your software is the solution.
How do you do it? By sharing relevant information on the social networks. This can include:
Publishing the articles from your blog, as a one-off post or in a constant recurrence.
Providing technical support.
Announcing a launch of a new product.
As a SaaS business you can do a few cool things that other kinds of businesses cannot do on social media:
Talk about releases and updates. Your product is constantly improving, and you can let the customers know that’s the case.
If you are offering a free tier in your software or if you have a free trial, you can show your followers where to find it.
Social media is not a place where people go to buy software. It’s more often a place where people read stuff to fill their time. The quality of attention your posts get on social media is quite bad. Each post will at best get a few seconds of distracted scanning before your follower moves on to the next item on their timeline.
What you should do is use that distracted attention to pique the interest of your prospective customer base, remind them that your product exists, and maybe offer them something that will their day a little bit better.
In my experience, you probably won’t sell anything significant on social media, as the attention is mediocre. However, you can get a lot out of social media ads and interactions if you focus on raising awareness and nudging potential customers into your funnel.