Social media for the security industry
By Suzanna Alsayed
If you’re not active online you’re missing out, but treat this like any project and plan accordingly
By Suzanna Alsayed
Nowadays, there are a myriad of social media platforms available for professionals and companies to use.
I have received many inquiries on how social media platforms should be utilized in the security industry, what they can offer a security firm, and if they can help a business grow or scale.
These are complex questions because there is no single answer. The answers ultimately depends on your business, product, service offerings, targeted audience, and your ability to be versatile. Just like a business is focused on a specific scope, social media platforms function in the same manner, requiring different skills and content that target different demographic groups.
No matter the size of your security business, if you are not on social media, your business could be missing out on potential clients, leads, brand exposure and opportunities to engage with your audience in a personalized way. In fact, using various platforms and even investing in ads, can be a fruitful combination for a security company!
This article will shed light on social media platforms and their benefits, and discuss how these platforms can be adopted in the security industry.
Understanding your target audience
One of the first things that a security business or security professional needs to identify when choosing a social media platform is their target audience and why a particular platform is the best tool to reach one’s business goals.
In order to be successful in any business, you need to understand your customer, who they are, how they tend to spend their time online, and what content they search for.
You need to ask yourself the following questions:
1. Why is social media the best tool for you to generate more leads and business awareness?
2. Are you going to use it to sell services or only build awareness?
3. What social media platform(s) do your existing or future customers prefer? How frequently do they dedicate time to browse this platform? How much time is spent daily on the platform?
4. How do your customers process information? Through writing, imagery or video? How would they like to find out about your company, services or products?
At the end of the day, you need to identify in detail who your consumer is, prior to even beginning your social media approach, in order to ensure that your chosen platform enables you to properly reach and engage your audience.
Social media platforms
When looking for a social media platform for your business or to build your personal brand, be sure not to spread yourself too thin and tackle every possible social media venue. In fact, it is not necessary to be on every available platform. One needs to understand that each social media platform should be approached like an art but tackled mathematically.
I recommend utilizing one or two social media platforms before expanding or adding additional forums to your strategy.
If you or your business can decipher and utilize even just one platform efficiently, that alone can produce significant business results.
LinkedIn appears to be the preferred and most utilized platform for the security industry from my own
Individuals that use the platform are open to networking opportunities, hearing different business pitches, as well as are seeking ways to make their work easier.
LinkedIn primarily adopts the B2B and B2C model. Professionals on the platform tend to be more business-minded and willing to learn. They update their profiles, employer information, job position, and contact information on a regular basis in order to maintain their professional personal brand. Additionally, creating a LinkedIn company page can help you to expand your network reach, find prospects or leads, as well as establish a public image on a global scale as a trusted and legitimate organization.
Thus, if your security business prefers to target consumers based on job titles, company profile, and within a specific company or industry — LinkedIn might be the perfect platform for you!
Facebook and its advertising platform are sophisticated marketing engines compared to other social media platforms currently on the web. On Facebook, you can target your audience by age, gender, hobbies or interests, career, relationship
status, and even analyze different groups by their purchasing behaviours and previous engagements. If someone or a business is seeking to acquire new clients, Facebook will give you the power to approach your exact target audience, as well as post ads and develop content that can be published on your audience’s newsfeed.
However, with Facebook, you need to pay-to-play. Professionals or businesses will have to set an advertising budget aside to reach their targeted audience in an easier manner.
Security businesses that provide guard management services, consulting services, or sell a security or artificial intelligence software, can benefit from Facebook advertising. As I like to say, everyone needs security, and sometimes a client does not even know they could benefit from having security services until they see or experience it.
Additionally, Facebook Messenger can be utilized as a resource. For instance, when a user clicks on your ad, they will be sent to your Facebook Business Page to find out more about your offerings or diverted to your Facebook Business Messenger to start a conversation with you. If a potential or current client does reach out to you, you can set up a personalized automated message. Having an automated messaging system provides reassurance and more trust. Hence, accessing both Facebook and the Messenger feature can aid in adding another layer of trust and reassurance for your current or prospective clients.
Instagram is owned by Facebook and as such it possesses a similar user base, advertising, and most recently an e-commerce platform. However, compared to the other platforms above, Instagram is more visual and relies on posting photos and videos.
Depending on your strategy and services, your business can benefit from Instagram by telling your brand story in a visually unique and engaging manner. You can share with your audience what inspired you to start a security business, how it came around, what were the ups and downs of your journey, showcase your services, client testimonials, and how your business impacts and safeguards the lives of others.
YouTube is a video-based social media platform that allows its users to watch and upload videos. It has over 30 million active users on a daily basis, who are likely to watch or stumble upon your company’s content. YouTube is actually owned by Google, and thus, you can use Google’s advertising platform to run YouTube ads on your videos.
YouTube is occasionally used in the security industry. Most often it is employed to promote conferences and social events, and showcase security professionals. It has also been used to conduct interviews.
So why aren’t more businesses taking advantage of the YouTube platform if it grants such exposure? It takes a lot of work to get YouTube to work to your advantage. Your business will need to invest time and money in order to produce original content. It could entail acquiring video equipment and creating a filming set up, including proper lighting, microphones, cameras, and even video editing software. Production can become time consuming and impact your business’ budget, however, it remains an effective tool to showcase your company highlights.
Twitter is another platform that is popular within the security industry. It can allow professionals to see real-time events and occurrences, but also reshare work and articles with their following. In simple terms, Twitter is like sending a text message to the entire world. There is a challenge with the platform, however, as you can only express yourself in 280 characters or less. A message needs to be crafted distinctively and concisely.
A business can benefit from using Twitter because it exposes them to new potential leads through the use of hashtags. It is also similar to a feature found on Instagram where you can search a specific hashtag and find other posts and content from current and potential consumers — even competitors.
Planning your presence
Social media platforms should be approached like an art, thus, before you jump into creating different profiles and accounts, be sure to also consider these factors:
- What resources (and budget) do you have for this newventure?
- How much time can you dedicate to social media strategizing? Will you hire someone to maintain your social media platforms or do it yourself?
- What are you tackling? Brand awareness? Traffic? Or methods to boost your revenue?
Once you have identified your platform(s) of choice, ensure that you stay on top of the trends and updates, and continuously adjust your current social media strategy. These are not one- and-done tools, this is something that needs to be worked on consistently, just like any other aspect of your business. There are many social media platforms with a range of different users that can benefit your security business and the goals that you are trying to achieve. Even if there is no single answer on what the best platform for a security business is, identifying your target audience, branding your product or service, and dedicating a specific amount of time to social media can get you closer to a unique solution and strategy.
No matter the platform that you decide to use, ensure that you invest time into crafting a strong marketing strategy and that you post consistently. Remember to have fun with your content and regularly engage with your audience. This can be done through running contests, advertising special offers, hosting live video events, sharing exciting updates or news and much more.
The best way to ensure that social media brings value to your business is to take the time and devise a strategy that includes all of the platforms that you are planning to use, the kind of content you want to produce and share, and why this avenue of promotion will benefit your security businesses and services.
Suzanna Alsayed is the founder of Evolutz (www.evolutz.com) and Hilt Security International Security (www.hiltsecurity.com).