In order to fully realise the benefit of using Social channels, in conjunction with Marketing Automation solutions, I suggest using a simple analogy.
Let’s say you had a fishing spot where you knew all your favourites constantly congregated. The really big ones were just always there. Every time you went there you nailed it. You actually have to stop fishing because you can’t bring any more into the boat for fear of it sinking. If you only had a bigger boat you’d stay and catch as many as you could eat. Right?
That favourite spot represents the social networks.
They are a major fishing ground for your favourite target prospects. Yet you still have two problems:
- How do I accurately tap into the right social networks?
- How do I attract and ‘reel in’ the big ones (read: target market) while understanding how to throw back/ignore the little ones (read: off-target)
I would then suggest you even have a third problem — the size of your boat. The boat is your Marketing and Sales automation system coupled with the knowledge and capability to tweak it and make it work for you. From experience, I know that if you don’t have the capability to automatically repel off-target people in socials out of your universe then you will waste a ton of time on these off-targets.
Time is THE most important asset, eh?
Therefore, wouldn’t it be wise to marry a larger boat with your newfound amazing fishing spot?
The jury is in on the socials as a valid marketing channel. Microsoft bought LinkedIn! Now the task is how to make it hum and sing for your business. Let’s dig in:
First, you want to prep your staff that you are going to start collaborating on the socials. Not you; the whole business, the business LinkedIn page, and Facebook page. Everyone in the business needs to be onboard and engaged in this new channel or it will fail. You probably won’t get away with simply putting in a Community Manager and landing the responsibility of all the social engagement on this one individual. Those days are over. Social is just part of the business fabric now. This is a change management exercise. Not all staff members associate the socials with the same business messaging (adhering to the brand, sticking to the corporate story) as you, the business owner. Some staff need to be trained and coached to treat the business LinkedIn page VERY differently from their personal LinkedIn page so they don’t end up tarnishing the brand by bad dialogues or posts.
Secondly, you want to prep your team and/or Salesforce partner that you want to engage socially and use those connections throughout the business. This will take a decided effort, not to be taken lightly. If done wrong you definitely won’t get the benefits you know are there and, at worst, you can actually damage your brand online by doing things like emailing people on a nurture track too often (overselling). Social is actually meant to have a dialogue with people rather than a sales channel so you want to be careful of the language you use on socials. Too oversalesy and you lose people who you really want to have a conversation with! Remember, social is about the relationship, not the sales pitch.
Lastly, you want to get some advice from people who specialise in Social Networks. This is a specialist area and agencies who can REALLY do it well are way ahead of the rest. Let’s face it people think they can do most things IT themselves nowadays. I think that way myself! Social for a brand or service is another animal altogether and so I’d encourage you to do your brand the courtesy of getting a professional to assist. Mess this up at your peril.
Here is a good rule of thumb: email for sales, social for connecting, phone calls and in-person meetings for closing. If you try and close over an email or on social, don’t expect the customer to be hugely interested. Face it, busy executives are not sitting around waiting for your ‘nurture track’ emails to come in so they can rush in and buy from you.
In today’s connected world, every customer interaction matters. Nurture these interactions into relationships through a balance of conversation, communication, and promotion. Get this balance right and you’ll turn your social connections into loyal, engaged customers.
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