social media 101

In our last post, we showed you how email marketing pays off your other social media marketing efforts. Every other social media marketing tool is primarily a way to get people to your website so you can get them to give you their email address and kick-start marketing automation in order to generate further interest and sales.

For most B2B companies, social media networks are about making first contact with your target audience and positioning your company as an interesting and expert source worth their time. These networks are about amplifying your message and gaining trust. They’re NOT about direct sales.

Uh-oh. That doesn’t sound as appealing as the first couple paragraphs? You thought Gorilla 76 was a strategy-driven, lead-focused marketing agency? We are, I promise.

We’ve come to the part where successful corporate users of social media separate themselves from the thousands of companies that try social media for one month, achieve no success, and give up. Here it is. It’s the point that marketing agencies and social media gurus try to hammer home, the part that many executives ignore: social media is not “one-way,” it’s a “relationship.”

You’ve heard it before, but what does that actually mean? We’ll try to explain with a classic concept.

Putting relationship-based marketing in perspective: think like an inside sales guy

It appears counterintuitive, but it’s productive for B2B web marketers to think more like inside sales guys than like traditional marketers. Just ponder, for a moment, your purchaser’s buying cycle.

The people you want to reach work at companies that often have a long buying process when they pull the trigger on the products and services B2B companies sell. But those same people may also need to make lighting quick purchasing decisions in emergency situations. You want to succeed in both places. So, you want your marketers to have what account managers and inside sales guys already have with the accounts they manage: real trust.

Real trust, developed as part of a two-way dialogue over a length of time, gets you on bid lists and keeps you top of mind in last-minute buying cycles. Email marketing is about maintaining contact with your purchaser through the buying cycle. Social media is primarily about making first contact with your target purchaser, but secondarily about maintaining that contact.

The inside sales guy makes follow-up phone calls to maintain contact with his accounts. During those calls, many of the best sales guys don’t blabber on about sales points or company superlatives. Instead, those savvy salesman provide useful information to their contacts. That information helps their contacts research solutions and clarify questions, it helps those contacts in their businesses and it introduces those contacts to your company.

The principal of publishing social media posts

The posts you publish on your social media accounts should not be salesy but instead be as informative as your inside sales guys.

Why? Because every post is just like that follow-up phone call, aiming to inform your target audience in an actionable way that spurs them to listen to what you have to say. Every post gives you another chance to put out another resource or interact with other people’s resources by adding your own insights. When you’re a trusted resource, you stay top of mind, you get clicks to your website, and you get email addresses, aka leads.

People fail on social media when they’re not a resource and instead only talk about press releases, company events and company history. To quote Kipp Bodnar and Jeffrey L. Cohen from The Social Media B2B Book, “Every post must be exceptional.” Pure self-promotion just doesn’t cut it on social media.

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