Finding Your Market Using Social Media
Once upon a time, billboard ads were a Big Deal. They were in high demand, expensive, and effective – or so we thought. It turns out, we were never generating leads from billboards. We were generating leads online. With all of the current travel restrictions and shifts to working from home, finding that lead generation on social media has become even more important.
But how do you do that?
1) Find your audience: I started by figuring out where my audience was online. Just like with billboards, you need to find the high traffic areas among your followers. Focus on the most frequented platforms, like Twitter and LinkedIn, and select hashtags and key words that will increase your reach.
Notice that I did not place the theoretical billboard in their front yard or just outside their kitchen window. That lack of subtlety is reserved only for the most arrogant and well-funded B2C brands. For the same reason I did not connect or attempt to directly converse with prospects I had never met. However, once I knew that my target customers read certain posts and publications, it made it easy to figure out where I needed to be relevant. If the customer ‘liked’ or ‘shared’ a post from a particular media outlet or online group, I knew I had to become relevant there.
2) Get customer-centric: Traditional marketing is about building things like ‘awareness’ and ‘brand consideration’, but business buyers are sophisticated and thoughtful; liking a brand is not enough of a reason to choose a vendor or supplier. One sin I was not going to commit was to talk about my company and our offerings incessantly. I made sure to engage with prospects on the topics they were discussing. I only discussed our products and services as they related to my buyer’s business problems and goals.
3) Empower sales to carry the message: The average American sees hundreds of advertising messages each day. We have become experts in deciding what messages are ‘trying to sell us.’ We have become incredibly adept at ignoring them. Consider how many pop-up ads you mindlessly scroll past as you read your news, or click through a website. Even if you read them, you don’t retain them. By giving sales teams the right content, tools and training, you can bring extremely targeted content to the right consumers of those messages with very little effort. In my case, this proved to be spot on.
4) Augment your existing marketing activities: Events and conferences are big ticket items and a big gamble that need to pay off in high-scoring leads and, ultimately, sales. Using social media to attract prospects to you and to build a relationship before they even enter Salon B has a huge payoff. While marketers traditionally jockey for the best real estate at a conference (or the most thrilling customer even), sometimes there is a much larger sales value in engaging prospects about the event on social before, during, and after the event. Efficiency trumps massive marketing spend when applied at the buyer level. When I focused on efficiency, I saw a payoff.
Of course, this will look massively different in a post-COVID world. Conferences won’t look the same, nor other large social events. But the methods still hold true: don’t just advertise where people will see you, but figure out how you’ll stand out. Connect to your buyers about what they want. Keep the conversations going.