Social media continues to change the way we do business. It’s changing how we interact with our customers, partners, suppliers and even our colleagues. It’s changed the way we do business and has changed the way we tell our brands story.
For years, we’ve looked at the concept of a business lead through the lens of a transaction. We’ve looked at a lead as a potential sales opportunity. Yet, in the past, we didn’t live in a world that was as connected as it is today. Right now. As you read this text, there are potentially hundreds of conversations about your industry, brand and offering. Some of these conversations will be highly relevant to your business while others will be nothing more than noise. Those conversations that are both relevant and engageable are what we define as a Social Lead. It’s actionable. It’s relevant. And it’s timely.
Social leads are what our platform delivers to our clients on a daily basis. We sift through the noise and find the signals that are true business opportunities for them to engage with. We’ve put together this slideshow to show you the power of social selling while redefining the social lead:
Twitter is an effective place to find sales leads, build relationships with prospective customers and close deals. So effective that we wrote an ebook about how you can close deals using Twitter (shameless plug). We believe that Twitter is not only an effective tool to leverage brand awareness but also build meaningful relationships with potential leads and customers.
Companies typically start by developing a plan, choosing the right social platform, creating and launching a brand presence, integrating social media tools with business goals and then pushing out their content. However, with only 140 characters to share and a feed that updates in minutes, it can be challenging to find your voice and establish credibility on Twitter.
The trust factor is the most important piece to the Twitter puzzle. Your followers will be more likely to engage with your content and respond to your calls to action if they believe you and if they trust you.
Here’s five ways to establish trust on Twitter:
1. Be personal
Twitter users want to follow brands that they identify with. Use a profile picture that represents your company accurately but at the same time isn’t too formal. Don’t hide behind the egg and consider putting an actual face to the brand. Don’t be afraid to disclose the person behind the tweets or identify the employees that are tweeting on behalf of the company. Also make sure to update your profile with relevant information about your brand and the content you will be tweeting about. Keep your tweets conversational and insert some personality.
2. Tweet what you know
Tweet your company’s expertise. Your followers will appreciate the exclusive content you can offer on Twitter and it will make you stand out as a reliable expert and source of information.
3. Tweet regularly
Keep your followers engaged and aware of your company’s activities. Remain consistent and tweet regularly. Don’t forget about current affairs and news items. This can be easy content and will show your followers that you are engaged and interested in subjects that are of interest to them.
4. Show your support
People tend to trust and engage more with tweets that have been retweeted or mentioned by their friends, brands, organizations, and other accounts they follow. The more engagement your brand generates the more recognition and trust you’ll derive from others.
5. Content counts
Share interesting content about your company as well as content that isn’t directly related to your product or service. In order to build a trustworthy relationship with your followers you should offer content that adds value to them and aligns with their interests, even if it’s not about you. This will help demonstrate that you care about the relationship you’re building and you have valuable content that doesn’t directly impact your bottom line.
For centuries, marketers and business professionals have spent time and money focusing on demographics. They have looked at their target audience from an angle that focuses on their location, age, gender and income to better tailor their message more strategically and effectively. That said, marketers recognize that demographics are limiting as they can only tell us who customers are and not what they care about.
Enter the world of Psychographics. Psychographics are described as the feelings people have towards products, causes and much more. It’s their overarching worldview of society and the things around them. It’s what makes them tick. Unlike demographics, these attributes are more abstract as they are multi-dimensional by nature, and cover subtle elements of what goes on in our minds.
Knowing Your Customers Through Data
Understanding the thoughts and perceptions of a target audience presents organization with a chance to go beyond location and really connect using a message that resonates with their audience. As such, it was an eye opener when came across a recent piece in the Economist highlighting the effectiveness (or lack there of) as it relates to focusing solely on demographics in communications:
In America alone, people spent $170 billion on “direct marketing”—junk mail of both the physical and electronic varieties—last year. Yet of those who received unsolicited adverts through the post, only 3% bought anything as a result. If the bumf arrived electronically, the take-up rate was 0.1%. And for online adverts the “conversion” into sales was a minuscule 0.01%. That means about $165 billion was spent not on drumming up business, but on annoying people, creating landfill and cluttering spam filters.
Business can do better. In fact, that’s what we’re aiming to do.
Brands have forever looked at surveys and focus groups to better understand their audience. Over time, this medium and approach has become more and more ancient as the costs to conduct the research have gone up while the effectiveness has gone down.
Do you remember when Heinz launched Green and Purple ketchup? It was an idea that came from a focus group and one that cost them millions in advertising to launch nothing more than a fad and a solid case study on why we can’t put our trust solely in focus groups. As it turned out, while kids liked the concept, parents aren’t all that crazy about fries slathered in asparagus-colored goo. You can quickly see how a focus group of kids would overlook this insight.
Thanks to an explosion in social media and mobile devices, consumers are sharing more insights and information about themselves than ever before. As such, it’s easier than ever for brands and businesses to discover and understand the thinking of their audiences by diving deeper into their conversations and understanding their personalities.
The millions of tweets shared daily are providing us with large quantities of data that allow us to better understand what consumers think. We scan the profiles of millions of users and dissect key conversation pieces to formulate a better understanding of both their demographics and psychographics. Whether it’s understanding their relationship status or if they’re interested in Justin Beiber, we use data to understand their personalities and true colours.
The guessing games are almost over.
Recognizing the failures of direct marketing and possibilities of big data, it’s clear that the ability to connect with people on a personal level is going to change the way we do business. Imagine for a second that you’re on the hunt for a new car and you send out a tweet highlighting this sense of purchase intent. Today, it would go out to your followers and you may get one or two responses recommending a local dealership.
In the future, imagine a world where on the other side, an automotive brand has a platform that shows not only that you want a new car but also that you’re heavily engaged with environmental issues. It notices that you follow blogs like Treehugger and Good.is and has also determined that you’re thinking about bring a furry little friend into your family. From there, they message you with you with a special offer highlighting a great deal on a Hybrid car with extra room for the pup. Sounds futuristic right?
That’s because it is. But it’s what we’re betting on. It’s where we see the industry going and where we see brands finally getting back to one on one marketing and personalization. Wayne Gretzky once said, a good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be. Are you striving to be good or great?
Photo Credit: dborman2
The year was 1997 and Space Jam had officially cemented Michael Jordan’s legacy. It was the NBA Finals and the Chicago Bulls were up against the Utah Jazz. The championship game was coming down to two teams that had amazing seasons and were filled with NBA Hall of Famers.
It was 3-2 in the series and an ongoing battle between two of the most impressive teams in the league. It was amazing to watch as the team’s battle back and forth but one thing stood out. In Basketball, like many sports, there are two sides of the game: offense and defense.
The Utah Jazz were amazing on defense; grabbing rebounds, generating steals and forcing turnovers. Yet, the Bulls, matched them defensively and surpassed them offensively. This allowed the Chicago Bulls to beat the Utah Jazz two years in a row and be coined one of the most impressive dynasties in all of sports.
The idea of having a strong offense and defense is something that is just as important in business as it is in sports. If you could make a comparison, it’s fair to say that in business, customer service, crisis management and public relations goes along the lines of defense. It’s built on the importance of protecting your brands reputation and ensuring that issues are resolved.
But where’s the offense? Offense puts points on the board. It’s what differentiated the Bulls from the Jazz. It’s what differentiates the companies who survive and the companies who thrive. It’s the idea of developing a sales funnel that is fully integrated between both marketing and sales.
The beginning of a successful offense is found in their ability to identify key opportunities to score. It’s important for sports teams to create plans that will make it easier to score and get the ball in the hand of their most valuable player.
In business, the concept is the same. Sales teams need to develop plans and strategies that will help them score. They need to practice and build their talents so they can beat the competition and stand as leaders in their industry.
It all starts with opportunity. If a defender is slow to the line, it presents a better opportunity for a player to score. If a point guard has a clear path to the hoop, it presents a better opportunity for them to score. Opportunities are the livelihood of a solid offensive strategy and team.
In business, opportunities are found in leads. Leads are the livelihood of a healthy sales process and sales funnel. Yet, there are a handful of leads going untapped every day in a variety of different industries. Whether it’s leads in automotive or leads in the telecom industry; these are missed opportunities to put points on the board.
Today, we live in a world that is more connected than ever before. Brands are connected with customers and sellers are more connected with buyers due to the power of technology and social media. As such, there has been increase in the number of people communicating on social media about their needs and wants. And while brands have been reactive in responding to complaints (playing defense) they have missed an opportunity to fulfill demand (playing offense) when potential leads are sharing messages that indicate intent to buy.
It’s time for businesses to start playing better offense. It’s time for businesses to look in the mirror and determine whether or not they want to be the Bulls or if they want to be the Jazz.
How is your organization playing offense on social media? Have you seen any brands doing well? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!