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Social Media Marketing and Damage Control for Web 2.0

NSCA's Essentials of Systems Integration Provides Guidelines for Use of Social Media Tools 10/05/2011 7:09 AM Eastern

Social Media Marketing and Damage Control for Web 2.0

Oct 5, 2011 11:09 AM

NSCA's Essentials of Systems Integration Provides Guidelines for Use of Social Media Tools




NSCA has added a new document, "Use of Social Media," to Essentials of Systems Integration, the association's online library of more than 650 customizable, industry-specific forms and templates. The latest addition to an already robust collection, the "Use of Social Media" provides a foundation for a company's social media policy and strategy through a series of guidelines and rules for both personal and professional use on a variety of social networks.

Depending on how they are used, social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and FourSquare can either boost a company's profits or decrease the productivity of its staff. As more integrators utilize these tools to promote their products and services, grow their businesses, and communicate with customers, it is important to ensure the proper use of these valuable marketing tools. The "Use of Social Media" document helps integrators clarify how employees should represent the company not only through the company's official Facebook or Twitter pages, but also through their own, personal social media accounts. The policy covers information such as:

  • Use of company equipment and time for personal use on blogs or websites;
  • Confidentiality and disclaimers when using social media; and
  • Parameters on appropriate comments and information distribution.

NSCA members have had mixed results integrating social media into their business plans. For some members, it has increased sales leads and website traffic, and improved their name and brand recognition. South Central AV in Nashville, Tenn., began using Facebook and Twitter a year ago after discovering that most of its employees had an account on at least one of these sites. Employees posted links and information about the company, and word spread quickly. The company established a goal of 100 "likes" on Facebook, which it exceeded in just two hours. This positive response quickly fast-tracked South Central's need to add social media marketing to its plans, resulting in sales leads it would not have received otherwise.

However, some members have had negative experiences with social media. Using personal accounts on professional sites has hurt some of their brand images and deterred customers in specific market segments. For instance, something as simple as the profile image of an employee could have negative repercussions on business opportunities.

Regardless of the outcome, social media provides opportunities for instantaneous feedback and improved customer service. Establishing official guidelines and rules for the use of this new marketing medium will help protect a company's brand, employees, products, and services. Identifying the appropriate staff to administer company profiles, as well as goals and strategies for each site, is critical for businesses that choose to utilize social media.

"In this day and age, no business can afford not to be active in social media. Your level of activity directly affects how search engines will rank your home page," said Melonee Hurt, South Central AV marketing manager. "We are making an effort to more regularly engage with our customers and potential customers by being a quality provider of industry-related information and having active conversations online via our blog, through a variety of social networking sites simultaneously."

"Some may look at this as a way to 'police' what their employees are saying on social media sites," said Chuck Wilson, NSCA executive director. "However, it can go either way; we've heard from integration businesses that have prospered and those that have had to do damage control because of the interaction between their employees and customers in these communities. By setting the ground rules, you can add a completely new element of successful marketing and communication tools—along with customer support—to allow identified staff to properly use Twitter or Facebook, for example."

The "Use of Social Media" document can be found under Business Forms and Templates > Internal Documents > Miscellaneous Operational Templates at www.nsca.org/essentials. Essentials is an NSCA member benefit that provides documents, forms, templates and agreements for human resources, legal, finance, and more. In addition to the "Use of Social Media" policy, Essentials also includes a policy on "Internet and Email Use," which allows companies to communicate to employees that the business has the right to review any files, messages or communications sent, received or stored on the company's computer systems.

Review this new policy and more by visiting www.nsca.org/essentials. For more information, contact NSCA at nsca@nsca.org or 800.446.6722.

Losing Sales? Bad Timing?

If a sale is lost or delayed, common excuses include: "My customer didn't have it in his budget anymore;" "The timing wasn't right;" "The price is too high;" or "I don't have the authority to make this decision."

These financial buying signals can easily be overcome with proper financing solutions. Integrators can utilize NSCA's partnership with PNC Equipment Finance to offer financing solutions. This partnership gives the customers of NSCA member companies the ability to spread out the cost of technology projects. Additionally, PNC offers cash flow solutions, complete financing solutions, including multiple vendors, equipment and technology, labor, installations, training, warranty and service, and more.

For example, a customer organization that wants to integrate a new installation at a cost of $500,000 makes three basic decisions:

  1. What system they are going to get,
  2. Who they are going to get it from, and
  3. How they are going to pay for it
The PNC program addresses the third decision and allows customers such as churches, businesses, universities or civic centers to initiate a project without having cash on hand to pay for it.

The value of this program shows in PNC's current figures. Last year alone, PNC Equipment Finance funded equipment for more than 7,000 customers, including commercial projects; city, state and county governments; and many non-profit organizations for almost $4 billion in equipment and technology financing. Vendors who utilize financing—such as NSCA members who take advantage of this member benefit—see an average of 13 percent higher margin on sales that are financed and significantly higher average transactions because customers who finance buy more products.

In the current economy, few companies, non-profit organizations and governments are using their own cash. Their hesitancy is due, in part, to the uncertainty concerning dwindling budgets and unknown future revenues. NSCA offers the PNC program to help its member companies increase their quantity of projects as well as the number of products and services their customers can include in a project.

PNC Equipment Finance (PNCEF) is the $9.6 billion technology and equipment financing subsidiary of PNC Financial Services, Pittsburgh, the fifth largest U.S. commercial bank. PNC Equipment Finance provides financing for equipment and systems integration projects in the broadcast, communications, media, entertainment and AV industries. Offering creative AV financing that traditional banks often won't provide, yet as a major, bank-owned finance company, PNC rates and terms are highly competitive.

For more information on PNC Equipment Finance, visit www.nsca.org/PNC or call NSCA at 800.446.6722.


Social Media Marketing and Damage Control for Web 2.0

Oct 5, 2011 11:09 AM

NSCA's Essentials of Systems Integration Provides Guidelines for Use of Social Media Tools




Randy Vaughan "Founder's Award" Applications Available

The NSCA Education Foundation is now accepting applications for the Randy Vaughan "Founder's Award," which provides free registration to the 2012 NSCA Business & Leadership Conference.

Ten awards will be given in this inaugural year of the "Founder's Award." These awards, in honor of Vaughan's commitment to the systems integration community, will be given to qualified applicants interested in attending the Business & Leadership Conference (BLC) for the first time. The conference is attended by industry veterans as well as up-and-coming industry managers, owners and executives.

"Randy was a passionate advocate of what BLC contributes to the systems integration industry and was committed to helping association members become professional and well-trained systems integrators," said Andy Musci, NSCA Education Foundation board president.

NSCA's BLC is the only industry-specific conference where owners, executives and managers of commercial electronic systems companies meet to discuss common obstacles, challenges and opportunities. The 2012 conference will be held March 1-3 in Dallas, Texas.

Randy Vaughan was a charter member of NSCA, a well-known and respected integrator in both the commercial and residential electronic systems industries. He served on the NSCA Board of Directors from 1997-2008, including a two-year term as president beginning in 2005. Additionally, he served as an instructor for NSCA University for more than 12 years, and was named its Educator of the Year in 2007. He also served as chairman of the NSCA Education Committee for a number of years. His greatest accomplishments for NSCA include the creation of NSCA University and the Business & Leadership Conference, as well as his role as a subject matter expert and content developer for the industry.

"In honor of Randy and what he stood for within our industry, the 'Randy Vaughan Founder's Award' will work to raise awareness of the contributions and opportunities BLC provides," said Chuck Wilson, executive director of NSCA.

The Foundation has received many contributions and pledges since the news of Randy's death in late December 2010. During the 2011 Business & Leadership Conference, long-time NSCA member and Education Foundation board member Loyd Ivey of Atlas Sound/IED contributed $10,000 to kick off the Vaughan Award. Ivey said Randy's commitment to building better integrators would be passed on through the years of this conference because of this scholarship.

Applications are due by November 1 and winners will be notified by December 15. For more information on the award or to apply, visit www.nscafoundation.org or contact Education Foundation Managing Director, Barbra Snitker, at bsnitker@nsca.org or 800.446.6722.

NSCA Announces New Appointments to Board of Directors

The NSCA Board of Directors appointed two directors to the association's leadership team: Jim Huber, director of sales and marketing for NOR-COM, Inc. and Josh Shanahan, president of Sport View Technologies. The NSCA Board of Directors includes 11 directors who oversee and drive the association's mission to help commercial electronic systems integrators improve business performance.

"Adding Jim and Josh to the Board provides NSCA an even greater strength in representing our membership base—the systems integrator," said Ron Pusey, president of the NSCA Board of Directors. "Our leadership has recognized that most of today's integrators are branching out into new technologies, services and applications. Jim and Josh provide background in both small and large companies as well as the growing industry of integration, and bring a fresh perspective to our association's leadership."

Huber joined NOR-COM in 2001 and has held a variety of leadership positions within the organization prior to being named director of sales and marketing in 2004. Huber has dramatically improved the manner in which NOR-COM sells and markets to its more than 1,200 domestic and international customers. As part of these efforts, NOR-COM installed a robust IT digital signage system throughout Procter & Gamble facilities globally.

Shanahan, one of the recipients of NSCA's 2011 Movers and Shakers awards, has held various technical, sales and management positions in the industry. He has been a key stakeholder in launching and growing sustainable new revenue streams, including an alternate channel program at SBC Datacom, which provides large-scale video teleconference and communications networks to national government and educational markets. During the past nine years, Josh has successfully diversified his family's third generation business, Sport View Technologies, increasing revenue more than 300% by developing key national vertical markets, including gaming, hospitality, retail, entertainment and enterprise clients.

To learn more about NSCA, its programs and its services, visit www.nsca.org.


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