New Business Tips series aimed at helping sales operations.
I am asked this most often – the typical question is – “do I need to engage with social media?”
Remembering that most of the businesses I deal with are business to business and what I would call solution focused. In other words, generally not consumer based.
Now statistics can say all sorts of things. On the surface the appealing thing is that around 70% of the population engages in Social Media – maybe the other 30% get the work done!! Just joking… The figures are clear that we cannot ignore Social Media as PART OF our marketing mix.
It sounds like there is a great pool of opportunity there to tap into. Hell yeah!! If you are seen when it matters – when someone is receptive.
Is someone on Facebook going to look at a software strategy for their business? Probably not.
Social Media is all about building an interest and desire to engage. You need a medium to long term strategy and to follow a plan.
In the Online world, most business will be driven by web search and email interaction. Social Media is a great open net, but direct engagement is where most professional businesses gain success.
You need to leverage the big net of Social Media to pull it back into your more targeted and personalised marketing & engagement.
Having said that, promoting your brand can be of great relevance in Social Media.
Social Media is a phrase for describing some extremely different platforms.
Facebook and LinkedIn are very different; however, the strategy of building contacts has some similarity.
Build an Engagement Process
The more important question is “What do I do with a new potential business contact?” “What is my engagement strategy?”
How many of you have met a contact at a conference, connected on LinkedIn and that’s it?! There is a whole lot more you could do.
With one recent project, we knew we needed to target a set of roles, we understood who the buyers were, so we used LinkedIn to help focus in on these. This was not a one off “blast” but a planned engagement over a period of time. Facebook was the wrong place for buyers but still good for awareness. We found a high incidence of potential customers saw us on Facebook, but our actual engagement came from LinkedIn and subsequent traditional sales activities.
Conversely, another business we built a strategy for meant Facebook was a great fit as we could target business owners, above a certain age and within a very specific geography. Targeting this group with a Facebook Event was ideal.
(Click here for our blog article “Targeted Approach to Marketing”)
Publishing to Multiple Platforms
We have mentioned LinkedIn and Facebook, but you still need to publish to blog articles and via email campaigns.
This leads to the other question; how do I manage publishing to multiple sources with the minimum of effort?
To help I have produced a “flow chart” image. If you would like a copy of this click here.
Analytics and Integration
There are some great management tools around, but I have found Zoho Social to give me the best value outcome (Particularly as it integrates back into my CRM). It is simple to use, can publish to all the main targets including: LinkedIn for both your personal and business pages; Facebook (page only, not profile); Twitter, Google+, Instagram.
You can create drafts, so others can review before publishing. You can also schedule a list of articles to publish. Zoho Social delivers great analytics about all your activity on Social Media in one place.
Here are a couple of examples.
You will see from the flow chart that the key aim is to build a list of people who find your information relevant and that at some stage will potentially be a customer.
Through these methods we can build a long-term nurturing process that is inexpensive to deliver, yet can give us great metrics on interest levels.
Communicate, Educate, Engage, Resolve, Transact, Service. CEERTS
One of the best tips I remember getting for marketing – if you have marketed well, the customer is ready to buy from you. That is a whole other discussion, however getting the customer ready to buy is certainly a function of Social Media.
The other thing we will touch on briefly is what do I talk about in Social Media, what material do I present? As with all marketing, the old saying is still true … “Content is King”
A couple of quick things to consider:
Provide informational pieces. Back to my CEERTS process.
Don’t oversell, focus more on good information. The parallel I draw here is how I conduct a seminar – most of my effort goes into ensuring the audience leaves having learnt something. Sure, I am upfront about why an event is sponsored, of course someone needs to create business from it – but it is not about the product, it is about what you can do with the product or service; what you can say without even mentioning the product name.
Content is always important….
- Video has rapidly become the king of communication on LinkedIn and Facebook. Short 2 to 4-minute videos about a subject are very popular and there are many economical ways to build a video; even just you in front of your phone video recorder.
- Make it educational.
- People love reals situation examples, you may not be able to mention names, but describing the scenario is very helpful.
- Something new you have come across
So, in summary – what do you need? You need something to manage your Social Media Campaigns. I am using Zoho Social, there are other popular tools like Hootsuite, Sociable etc. You also need to have a Campaign tool for your email campaigns. I use Zoho Campaign, once again due its tight integration back into my Zoho CRM but you might use Mail Chimp, Constant Contact or similar.
Let me finish with a note on why I am using and promoting Zoho – simply put; INTEGRATION. The screen shot below is a great example of the benefits. All that other activity shows up in my CRM, LIVE.