If you have read more than one blog post about social media, it is likely then that you have read one about the importance of listening and monitoring social mentions and conversations. All of the bloggers out there are right. Listening is very important. However, what has largely gone overlooked during this listening craze has been ideas to leverage listening to benefit business objectives. The great thing about social media monitoring is that it gives you a chance to get in front of the right people in a different way.
Bloggers have been doing this for years They mention important bloggers, or influencers, in their posts, in hopes that the important bloggers will read the post and possibly tell their audience about the ideas in it. It is time for B2B companies to adopt this approach and use it not only for influencer marketing, but also for lead generation.
Calling Out Prospects
Most agencies and consultants are selling listening programs to your customers complete with daily briefing reports of direct mentions about their company and industry. They are doing the work, monitoring and sharing it with executives and internal staff members on the client side. Tools like Radian6, Filtrbox, and even Google Alerts, are making listening easier than ever before.
So what happens if you directly call out, or mention, potential customers in blog posts or other social content? That’s right. The potential lead will read the post thanks to their spiffy new monitoring campaign. I would argue that mentioning the company multiple times will likely bring about a note highlighting it in the monitoring report, thereby drawing more attention to the mentions.
You Still Have To Say Something Valuable
It is important to remember that if you decide that this approach is worth trying, that you still have to say something valuable and relevant about their business situations. People gravitate to others that help them solve problems. I would recommend writing about what the prospect needs to solve their current business issues, not how awesome your cool new product is. Demonstrating that you understand their current business situation and their position among competitors is likely enough to generate some type of response.
Right now you are likely say: “aren’t we telling our competitors who we are targeting?” My response would be: don’t they already know? This doesn’t give away your whole sales and marketing strategy. It instead gives you another method to get in the door with potential customers that had previously been unresponsive. If you have a strong relationship with the lead, then you don’t need to take this approach. Look at this as an opportunity to open a dialogue and get your company on their radar.
Can They Call You Easily?
This may sound trivial, but there is this thing called a phone and it lets you talk to people. In the day of e-mail and social networks, I would argue that the phone is now a more valuable tool then ever, because it is being used less. For many e-mail is easier, not faster, but lets a sales person say “I sent them a note about that last week.” It gets us all of the hook. We have all done it.
My point is that if you are going to use this approach, make sure it is effortless for them to call the right person. Leave the name and direct number at the bottom of the blog post and/or include it in the sidebar of your blog. Look over to the right of this post. You see several ways to easily contact Jeff and me. Yes, if you call the phone number on the right, you will reach me and we will talk about whatever you want. A sales situation should be the exact same way.
Is this idea crazy? Would you do it? What is the risk? An hour of your time?
We have talked constantly that social media is changing the way B2B companies get information and interact with external audiences. Our challenge as marketers and industry leaders is to step back and take time to think about how we can develop new ways of connecting and driving transactions.