Once again, you find yourself at the largest annual conference for your industry. You’re there to glean deep insights from the thought leaders who are reshaping the way you and your competitors do business. But more importantly, you’re there to network with other like-minded professionals. You attend all the social functions, engaged in deep discussions that refine the way you think about your business. The conference is one of the most useful you’ve ever attended.
At the final social event you’re discussing new ideas and strategies with a few of the brightest people you’ve ever met in your years attending these conventions. Suddenly, one of the vendors approaches your circle in their branded polo and appears to listen for a moment. Out of nowhere, he loudly interrupts your conversation with a sales pitch that’s only slightly relevant to the ideas you were discussing.
“Who does this guy think he is?” you wonder. “We were having a great discussion until he showed up.”
You listen politely, waiting for him to finish, so you can get back to your discussion. As the vendor begins wrapping up his pitch, he tops it off with some ludicrous raffle. He offers to enter each of you in a drawing to win two free plane tickets if you pass out a few of his brochures to your other connections.
“The audacity!” you silently exclaim. “What makes these vendors think they have the right to peddle their crap here – let alone ask us to pass out their brochures?”
Surprisingly, a few of your new connections take the bait and begin circulating this guy’s brochures throughout the room. You’re appalled by the situation. It has nearly ruined the whole evening.
Believe it or not, most businesses are just like this vendor when it comes to their social media strategies. They hide their people behind a branded “polo” profile, blast superficial sales pitches in digital cocktail parties, and try to generate interest in their brand with hype rather than substance. Too often, they focus on the number of likes, follows, +1’s, shares, and retweets than on true engagement with a qualified audience.
Social media efforts that focus on superficial metrics and hype waste precious time and resources, while substance strategies generate meaningful interest and long-term relationships. Most companies want their social media marketing to have a significant impact on their business. To accomplish this, they must change the way they see social media. Their social strategy needs to be ingrained in how they operate their business.
While many businesses are missing the mark, others are making a huge impact with social media. Great social strategies involve listening to, connecting with, and educating a targeted audience. Here are a few examples of businesses that have created social media substance strategies:
Listen & Contribute on Twitter
Often a company’s greatest asset is its people. One organization recognized this and decided to champion their employees as thought leaders. Each employee was asked to clearly state who they worked for on their own profile. They “tuned in” to hashtags (#) on Twitter during events, listened, and commented. Through Twitter they were able to “attend” every conference in their industry.
The employees made insightful comments and built large audiences of followers. Potential clients began to see a trend that thought leadership seemed to originate from the same company. People wanted to hire the company because its employees were brilliant.
Create Connections via LinkedIn
Not long ago, a service company was struggling with sales and retention. They determined that a few simple invitations to connect via LinkedIn could make all the difference to their clients. A plan was drafted and infused throughout the entire organization.
Soon after salespeople qualified a lead, they sent an invitation to connect on LinkedIn. After a proposal had been sent to a prospect, the sales manager sent another invitation and asked if the prospect had any questions. Prospects felt important and signed up more readily.
Once an agreement was signed, the service technician and her supervisor reached out to connect. A few months into the business relationship the president of the company also invited the client to connect and thanked them for their business. Clients had multiple points of contact to voice their concerns. They felt that the company really cared about them and they stayed around longer.
Educate with YouTube
A software company recognized that training their customers was key to license renewals. Many of their customers needed repetitive training because of regular turnover. These training sessions also helped them identify bugs and new features.
With development costs on the rise, the company wanted to automate their training. They created a YouTube channel with a series of training videos. They allowed their customers to comment on videos and share them with new employees.
License renewals began to increase and new sales came more rapidly. Their efforts had produced a byproduct – training videos were being viewed like demos. Future customers saw the interactions between the software company and its customers. They were sold on the product and the customer service.
Trade Hype for Substance
In order to create a social media substance strategy, businesses need to take a step back and evaluate their social media efforts. They should determine how to engage a qualified audience in meaningful discussions.
In all of these cases, the businesses looked at their own needs first and used a social platform to solve their problems. They didn’t just employ someone to increase their followers and likes. They used social media in the day-to-day operations of their business. It became part of their company identity and culture. credit-n.ru