Social Media

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran No Comments

It’s All Social Media Fun and Games Until You Get a Call from HR

It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye. Or, in reality, a client, an analyst’s support, or your credibility from getting your social media account hacked. And then, HR calls you about your social media governance.

Many brands govern their social media program with documented strategy and policy. And, there are many more brands who don’t govern at all. They write passwords on stickies. They don’t write down their content marketing plan. They make their CEOs and HR execs cringe with their poor writing skills.

Since clients, analysts, and the press use social media to check in on the pulse of the company, unprofessional and unskilled social media management will hurt a brand, beyond belief. All of a sudden, that ‘free’ marketing channel costs you a lot. Your well-intended missteps cannot be taken back or untweeted.

3 Social Media Governance Statistics That Are a Dangerous Combination for Your Brand

  • Ad Week reports 47% of employees will use social networks at some point to connect with customers—which sets up a slew of problems if their skill set does not match their passion.
  • Pew Research Center reports 73% of companies don’t have an official social media policy—which is an operating manual to address unapproved social media channels, interacting with the press, and developing brand-approved messaging. 
  • A MARTECH Advisor post cites a lack of knowledge and training is the #1 challenge keeping marketers from achieving their customer engagement goals—indicating that many digital marketers are undereducated with using social media.

How do you avoid losing your focus on the right things to do with your content marketing and social media? Focus on what happens when you lack the skill or understanding of running a social media program. Then hire a professional to develop an end-to-end governance and content marketing strategy. Here are just a few things that can happen to any Fortune 500 brand or small business with no social media policy.

17 Ways To Poke Your Eye Out With Social Media 

  1. No one retweets or shares your post, suggesting your brand is not engaging.
  2. You go viral for the wrong reason, and you become ensconced in a PR debacle.
  3. You get hacked and don’t have a plan to remedy the off-color posts from your channel.
  4. No one clicks on your post and your social media is not driving business impact. 
  5. You begin to lose followers, while all of your competitors are gaining followers.
  6. You forgot your social media channel password and need to take down a post at midnight.
  7. You can explain your ROI to leadership and your program funding gets cut.
  8. You don’t have enough content to use on your channels and all you do is send promotional messaging that falls on deaf ears.
  9. You use copyrighted material and you get sued.
  10. Your post has a typo and you sell content services. 
  11. A customer clicks a post that links to a 404 page and you are in the business of selling customer experience.
  12. An employee mistakenly shares a personal post and it’s a little too personal.
  13. You don’t know what you’re measuring. You can’t manage what you don’t measure, right? 
  14. An analyst calls out your company for amateurish posts and your stock price drops.
  15. A $500k potential client question posted on your channel goes unanswered and you get blamed for not responding. 
  16. Someone responds to your post with a bad comment and you don’t know what to do.
  17. You share customer-sensitive content and you lose your client.

Do you have a few more instances that you can share about your personal experience? If so, please share below. Or, please email me at moran.gerry@gmail.com. I want to include your quote in this blog post.

Remember, creating and executing a content marketing and social media strategy is not fun and games—especially when you get your metaphoric eye poked out.

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran No Comments

Paradise by the Social Media Dashboard Light

“Let me sleep on it, I’ll give you an answer in the morning.” This song lyric might be your response if asked for performance data and you don’t have a social media dashboard.

However, it’s not the right answer in today’s competitive B2B landscape. This assertion is especially true if your CEO needs quick insight into your program budget.

Two Key Social Media Measurement Stats Open Up Your Eyes to a Big Surprise

  1. A study by Adobe reports 88% of marketing experts do not accurately measure their social media initiatives effectiveness. 
  2. A Content Marketing Institute study identifies that only 24% of B2B brands are highly proficient at measuring content marketing impact.

Now, these are two reasons to make it easier to measure your social media activity.

So, with the odds stacked against you to show a return on marketing investment, what do you do? Run like a bat of hell? No!

Marketing Dashboards Turn Metrics Into Understandable Stories

A social media dashboard is your best way to provide a management feedback loop. It will help show what’s going to provide insight to make quick and actionable recommendations.

Recommended read: How to Measure the Success of Your Blog

The simple recipe for a dashboard is like an excellent basic meatloaf recipe — quickly fills the void, so people are satisfied. However, you have to go beyond the numbers with your dashboard. You have to tell a story so management ‘gets it.’ 

Social Media ROI
Instead of talking about followers, likes, and web referrals as key social media metrics tell the story about building and reaching a relevant community, starting conversations, and driving brand consideration!

For example, there is another way of explaining social media results might include followers, engagement, and web referrals. Executives will get the bigger story around your reporting if the metrics are wrapped in a community, conversation, and consideration storyline.

I’d like to know about your marketing reporting success stories or answer your questions. Please leave a comment below or reach out to me directly at moran.gerry@gmail.com.

Stop right there, I gotta know right now if you are going tell a social media story with a dashboard.

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran No Comments

36 Calls For Content Marketing Help

content marketing super powers

Do you have the super powers to hear and to answer the calls for content marketing help?

Lack of a clear and strategic content marketing plan can hurt your brand — be it a small business, big company or personal reputation. Hone your listening skills to help you help others and to save them from ineffective social media marketing.

Many corporate marketers and Main Street local business owners make more ‘I think’ vs. ‘I know’ social media and content decisions. Ignoring the nuances of proven user experience, content consumption, and native-behavior can lead to fewer buyers walking through your front door — whether virtual or brick and mortar.

4 Facts About Content That Make You Go Hmmmm.

21% of businesses can’t map their social media and content results to an ROI, suggesting they don’t know what is or is not working. Source: Content Marketing Institute

60% of brands are challenged with creating engaging content, indicating there is a lot of mediocre and boring content under-delivering on business goals. Source: Content Marketing Institute

Only 30% of B2B marketers — a 21% decline from 2015 — say their companies are effective at content marketing, implying there is more ineffective content being used every day. Source: Content Marketing Institute

32% of marketers are find their social media teams lack the skills to develop decent content setting up the need for others to influence how to posts, graphics, and videos are created — many times mistakenly. Source: Content Marketing Institute

How do you even know if you are stuck in the content conundrum? Well, here are some quips and quotes I have picked up and pondered over the last ten years of my digital marketing engagement … with clients, customers, and coworkers.

36 Indicators Suggesting Your Company Is Stuck In A Content Conundrum

If you have used or heard these phrases, think about calling in a content marketing expert to help you create your foundational strategy. Then you can begin to build on your marketing success.

  1. This is the hashtag my boss wants.
  2. This is the video title my business leader wants.
  3. We didn’t want to use facts into the messaging,
  4. We need to fit the entire quote no matter if it fits (into the viewable window.)
  5. We want to start to use a (organic, not paid) hashtag, so our readers know it’s our message.
  6. We are going to use social media to drive registration, leads, AND sales.
  7. My agency had a good idea that we want to run with — and here’s the final copy and creative.
  8. My event’s tomorrow and I need my messaging to go out on social media.
  9. We don’t know what hashtag or keywords we should be using — so can you tell us?
  10. Can you just create the social media content about my (niche) topic (even though you’re not the expert?)
  11. We need just need to do social.
  12. We don’ have to measure social media, do we?
  13. We don’t know where to send people after they read our posts.
  14. We want to increase our awareness AND drive leads with social media.
  15. We want to use all 140 characters for Twitter.
  16. What do you mean I should use a visual with my social media posts — where do I get that?
  17. I don’t care about my video’s tagging, description and playlist development — I just need to get this video up on YouTube.
  18. Why isn’t my (10-minute) video getting any views?
  19. I don’t have time to do social media (or social selling.)
  20. Why aren’t people sharing my social media posts?
  21. Our team doesn’t know how to do social media, but we need to get this message out on social media about our event.
  22. I don’t do Twitter, so YOU will have to get my message out on social media.
  23. Oh, I didn’t know hashtags, format, character count, tone, and messaging was important on social media.
  24. We need to target only the decision maker — and don’t need to consider their buying team of SVPs, VPs, Senior Directors, and Directors.
  25. Here’s the one tweet we want to use to support our marketing campaign. Let me know when it’s up, so I can tell my boss.
  26. Let’s just use the same messaging on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ — it’s easier.
  27. Will you manage my social media profile for me?
  28. Someone said something negative about us on social media — what should we do?
  29. We don’t want our employees to participate on social media unless we sign off on it.
  30. I didn’t realize our Facebook followers don’t see our message unless we pay for it.
  31. I have $200 to spend on a very targeted social media campaign on LinkedIn, what should I do?
  32. I haven’t logged into LinkedIn for months.
  33. LinkedIn’s only for job seekers.
  34. Get this message out in the LinkedIn groups that map to our business — so, what are those groups.
  35. Can you tell me who are our influencers are in our space?
  36. Let’s do social media, because it’s free.

Do you have another quip you’ve heard calls out for attention or fixing? If so, please share it below. Or, reach out to me directly at moran.gerry@gmail.com, MarketingThink.com or on Twitter @GerryMoran.

These phrases do not suggest the lack of flexibility or openness to change by others. These phrases are calls for help! When you hear them, break out your content marketing super powers to save the world from sub-par social media and content. Then you’ll start to deliver improved marketing results.

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran No Comments

4 Simple Plays To Jump Start Your Social Selling Game Plan

Social selling has clearly taken hold in the B2B world. Everyone is talking about it — especially your competition. Perhaps you still struggle with evolving into modern selling?

Sure, plenty of companies and sales professionals have a presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or other social sites. However, that disparate presence is a far cry for most sales teams to integrate social media and content marketing into their sales strategy. The question is — how can you begin to activate social media and content best practices into a powerful sales tool for your business? An even more significant qusetion is —  is the payoff worth the effort?

The Rewards of Social Selling

Much research supports these questions with a solid “yes.” The growing body of evidence demonstrates social selling delivers results — and organizations with an effective social strategy are reaping significant benefits. For example, an Aberdeen study reports social sellers significantly outstripped sellers who do not use social selling based on multiple sales effectiveness KPIs — including total team attainment of sales quotas, customer renewal rates, sales forecast accuracy and percent of sales reps achieving quota. Social Centered Selling reports that 72.6 percent of salespeople using social media as part of their sales process outperformed sales peers and exceeded quota 23 percent more often. And the list goes on.

With benefits like these, why don’t more companies embrace social selling? Uncertainty of the right approach ranks high for this lack of embrace. If that uncertainty holds you back, the following four strategies—used successfully to implement social selling at many organizations —offer a good place to start.

4 Easy Sales Plays to Start Your Social Selling Strategy

Creating a social sales strategy can be compared to making a birthday cake: just add the extra social media ingredient to each layer of your existing sales process.

Social Selling Is A Piece Of Cake

You can also think of it as adding new moves to the plays already in your sales playbook. The power of social selling will up your advantage at each stage of the game. Viewed this way, social becomes less intimidating and more fun. Here’s how it might look.

Social Selling Play 1: Integrate social into prospecting and preparation.

Why do it: At recent leading technology event, many enterprise software sales executives told me how tough it’s getting to break through the noisy sales clutter. In fact, InsideView reports that 90 percent of CEOs don’t answer cold emails and cold calls anymore, a trend also occurring with sales decision influencers. So what’s filling the gap? You guessed it—social media. For example, IBM reports that 75 percent of B2B decision makers use social media to inform their decisions, and blogs play a burgeoning role as well. The takeaway: layering social media onto the sales process helps you connect with the “unconnectable,” providing crucial access to prospects and targets you might otherwise never reach.

Social Selling Anatomy Of A B2B Decision-Maker

How to do it: Before you talk, it’s important to listen. What are your prospects tweeting, posting, or blogging about? What do they praise or decry? This information will help you know how to enter conversations later on.

  • Start by creating private social media lists of your prospects, then follow them using a social management site like HootSuite or Google Alerts. Learn which social influencers your targets follow, and follow their reports and influencers yourself.
  • Make it a daily habit to read industry publications and news your prospects wish they had time to read. Curate relevant content to develop diverse sources to draw on, and follow the hashtags your prospects associate with most.
  • You can also Google your prospects’ names with the word “blog” to see where they’re blogging, then set up ongoing searches through tools like Feedly or Flipboard to stay on top of their talk.
  • Search for their questions and answers on LinkedIn, and conduct keyword searches to find comments, discussions, and questions circulating in LinkedIn Groups.

Social Selling Play 2: Use social to make the first contact.

Why do it: With fewer people responding to calls or emails—and buying organizations typically completing 65 to 90 percent of the sales cycle before approaching a supplier — social media may well be your best bet for connecting with prospects. Customer-centric social media provides a comfortable, convenient way to learn your qualifications and credibility — in an unbiased environment on their terms. This opportunity makes the case for your brand in a less direct, yet far more effective way than traditional sales approaches.

Hitch A Ride | MarketingThink.com | @GerryMoran

How to do it: A simple three-part strategy can streamline your path to successful social connection:

  • Don’t jump the gun. Before reaching out on social, get your ‘ducks in a row.’ Identify the network(s) where your prospects are most active, and establish your presence there with a polished, complete profile. Then use the engagement strategy most suited to each location. For example:
  • On LinkedIn, “get introduced,” engage in a group they belong to or ask them a direct question relevant to a group discussion or their area of expertise.
  • On Facebook, like, comment on, or share a prospect’s post.
  • On Twitter, retweet, reply to, or “favorite” a prospect’s tweet; mention the prospect in a tweet; tweet a question to your prospect, or list them.
  • On your prospect’s blog, comment or reply to a comment; on your blog, you can ask a question or request recommendations, leverage LinkedIn or Twitter, or mention your prospect’s blog.
  • Play nice. Remember, how you say things conveys as much about you as what you say — so be helpful and honest, friendly and polite, professional and relevant. And as your mother always told you, etiquette counts. Follow group or site rules, never send spam, don’t ask to add people you don’t know, and keep your exchanges focused on others (no one wants to listen when it’s all about you). Finally, pay attention to your spelling and grammar; careless or sloppy language suggests that you might be, too.
  • Stay in the game. The way you follow up on initial connections can determine whether you launch a conversation or nip it in the bud. If your prospect responds, be sure to reply within 24 hours. If not, wait five days before initiating another contact (just like in dating, overeager pestering can kill interest faster than a dad with a shotgun). Once a conversation gets going, establish yourself as an available resource by maintaining contact … with your contact by setting up alerts on your prospect’s activity to ensure you don’t miss any of their input.

Social Selling Play 3: Nurture warm prospects through social.

Why do it: Social media not only offers an excellent way to make non-intrusive contact, it also lets you differentiate yourself while your prospects are still in the early stages of information-gathering. Think of social as your online golf course: on the surface you’re just pleasantly chatting while you bat around some balls, but at a deeper level you’re building relationships that can pay off over the long haul.

10 Social Selling Touch Points

How to do it: The key to effective nurturing is simple: add value. When you join groups and conversations, enter with your hands full. Contribute relevant, non-sales-oriented insights to blogs, groups, and sites that customers frequent. Offering knowledge or subject matter expertise that addresses their pain points and concerns is more likely to cement connections than pitching your products or services, so listen for the major issues through Google Alerts and similar sites. If your prospect tweets about a problem, tweet back with solution-oriented YouTube videos, links to white papers or blog posts, or other helpful content relevant to their issue. And don’t forget to share the love. Retweet and like your prospects’ posts and tweets, and mention them in your tweets; monitor their social media accounts to discern follow-up, blog, and comment points plus content to pass along.

Social Selling Play 4: Make your brand easy to find through social.

Why do it: When prospects start their purchasing cycle, having an established, highly visible social presence ups your chances of being in the right place at the right time—when they’re ready to buy. That accessibility also goes a long way to ensuring you’ll make their short list when decision time arrives. What’s more, it’s an excellent way to extend your reach and build your brand without heavy legwork, since a valuable social identity represents a one-to-many resource that can engage prospects 24/7 without your constant, direct presence.

LinkedIn Profile | MarketingThink.com | @GerryMoran

How to do it: There are myriad ways to strengthen your social visibility. Don’t neglect the obvious ones, like including links to your social accounts in your email signature, updating your social profiles regularly, and staying engaged in the major prospect forums. Adopt these strategies as well:

  • On your blog, use SEO keywords and include links, and be sure to comment on other blogs as well. Focus on discussions that interest your prospects and targets.
  • On LinkedIn, perfect your profile, use keywords, and list multiple contact touchpoints to make yourself easy to reach. Include a custom URL to make your digital identity more memorable.
  • On Twitter, use your full name in your handle, include your location, and incorporate keywords and links in your bio. Make sure to tweet and retweet frequently and at the right volume.

Do you have a quick-start social selling tip to share? If so, please add below. Or, contact me directly at gerry.moran@marketingthink.com, Twitter or LinkedIn.

5 Other Interesting Social Selling Posts

Sometimes you just need a few simple suggestions to understand how you can activate a strategy, like social selling. You can start using each of thse four plays today — and start seeing results in no time!

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran No Comments

10 Customer Experiences You Need To Deliver Today!

The customer experience is your next competitive battleground. Are you prepared to win it?

You can claim victory by way of this competitive differentiation war by offering the lowest prices or providing a superior, surprising and spectacular customer experience! You may win the price battle, but that is only a short-term solution. However, you will always win the customer experience war. Providing a spectacular experience is more sustainable!

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 3.02.20 PM

What Is Customer Experience And Why Is It So Important?

Customer experience is your customer’s perceptions of his or her relationship with your brand. These perceptions result from the collection of their interactions with your brand’s touch points during the customer lifecycle.

The rules change daily. Customer expectations of experience are set and improved by the best in class in an industry – Google, IKEA, Subway and many others. So, with every new improvement or introduction of a new way of doing things, your customer raises the bar and increases your pressure to deliver. Think Amazon’s user experience setting expectations for a B2B software company, or that Apple sets expectations for a retailer, and you start to connect the dots.

5 Key Customer Experience Facts

  1. 80% of U.S. consumers would pay more for a product or service to ensure superior customer experience. Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs
  2. 68% of businesses plan to increase their spending on customer experience. (Source: Call Center Executive Priorities)
  3. 44% of consumers consider customer loyalty to be a relic of the past (Source: Avaya and BT Research)
  4. Shoppers use an average of 10.4 sources of information to make a purchase decision (Source: Google)
  5. Referred customers deliver 16% higher lifetime value (Source: Wharton School of Business)

Connect The Dots In The Customer Journey Touch Points

Each customer journey includes touch points – dots you need to connect to draw a holistic experience. You need to increase the value of your relationship currency with at every section of the sales funnel – using social media, content marketing and traditional interactions to connect these dots. The question is, do you have the resources and know-how to connect the dots to draw a winning solution or a scary picture?

Connect the dots puzzleThe Customer’s Customer Requires 10 Key Experiences

Customer experience manifests in social selling, content marketing, social media and every touch point on the customer journey. Your customers don’t want it. They require it. Here are ten experiences your customers demand in today’s economy.

1. Keep the experience simple and easy.
Forest Gump couldn’t have said it any better – “Simple is as simple does.” Brands providing an integrated experience across channels make it simpler and easier for customers to engage. Whether it’s the one-off Google search experience or ordering a sandwich at Subway – two of the most highly ranked ’simple’ brands – a simple and easy experience differentiates your business from the competition. Making it easy to find your brand and consume your content is the key to winning their heart!

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Google delivers a simple and successful customer experience for users searching for results!

2. Educate and communicate with your customers.
Your customers do not want to be sold your stuff. They want to be educated on how your stuff can help them – then they will buy! The Home Depot builds a great customer experience by giving away their expertise during their Do-It-Yourself, Do-It-Herself and Kids Workshops! And, Stitch-Fix, the woman’s subscription clothes service, presents possibilities by providing custom combinations printed on in-box instructions. Customers are self-educating, so integrate education and relevant content into their experience. 82% of U.S. digital buyers prefer to research products from multichannel retailers on the internet (Source: March 2014 study by UPS, ComScore, and the E-tailing Group). If you don’t educate your customers, then your competition will! Take the teaching approach with your customers instead of selling to them and they will make you a trusted advisor – with sales becoming an exponential by-product!

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3. Quickly resolve the bumps in the road.
You can’t make all of your customers happy all of the time. However, you can resolve most of their bumps in the road – the wrong-sized Boden pants, the missing button on your Stitch-Fix jacket, or even the Amazon Prime order that missed your deadline. Your customers expect resolution – from an under 60-minute response on Twitter to reading a blog post to help self-resolve an issue! Respond to social media outreach and make it easy for customers to easily find content at 2AM to resolve their issue and your will quickly become a part of their ‘family.’

bodenusa2009

4. Personalize the customer experience.
Smart, connected customers, expect personalized experiences. From REI’s persona-based content marketing strategy targeting (tongue-in-cheek) narcissists who love biking to Nike ID’s custom footwear, customers require an experience that is all about them! A data and analytics strategy gives brands a single-view into individual customers – enabling a positive customized experience.

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5. Make it easy to #humblebrag!
Customers love to #humblebrag since it validates their purchase. It’s part of their brand experience – both with you and their community. Brands who strategically integrate a video, pictures and hashtag strategy into the customer experiene score the most points – and social referrals!

nastygal-new

6. Deliver a safe and secure experience.
Customers’ heads are spinning with cyber-security breaches. People will share their details to enable a great experience. Just make sure you explain how you are going to securely handle their identity.

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7. Surprise and delight your customers.
Marketing automation has created this ‘bland-compliant’ messaging. The customer wants a little personality and delight with their relationship with you. You have to work hard to differentiate yourself from the competition. Surprising and delighting can be as simple as Netflix’s season two House Of Cards Tweet chat with the actors to Mastercard’s #PricelessSurprises campaign featuring Justine Timberlake! Brands can combine a little bit of big data and creativity to create a priceless connection with customers!

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8. Be ‘always-on’ to be in the heart and minds of the customer.
FOMO (fear of missing out) is the Millennial’s number one fear. So, you want to be always-on with cross-channel access to your brand – on Instagram and Snapchat –  so they never miss out on not missing out. Gartner predicts that by 2017, 50 percent of consumer product investments will target customer experience innovation, so investing in an always-on and brand-to-demand strategy makes sense. Translated to the Gen X – it’s staying on top of the newest ‘thing’ to ‘keep up with the Jones’. BirchBox does this well!

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9. Mobilize your experience.
With smartphone adoption reaching 70% in the U.S, reported by Asymco, providing a mobile customer experience is not an option, but a requirement! From mobile banking experiences like TD Bank offers or content updates from the Wall Street Journals app, customers want mobile access to your brand. As the man in the old Verizon commercial says “Can you hear me now?”

td-mobile-deposit-ipad

10. Create the circle of trust for your customers.
88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, reports Bright Local. The fact of the matter is many customers begin their customer journey amongst their circle of trust. This activity means you need to build a trusting relationship with a great brand experience – using social, mobile, analytics and cloud technology – making it easy for others to communicate their trust. Consumers will continue to build up their trust by using Yelp, Trip Advisor and Amazon Reviews, and their social media networks. How do brands build trust? Listen, respond, and do what you say you are going to do – just like any good relationship.

TripAdvisor-hotel-review--006

Do you have another customer experience you think customers require? If so, then please share below. Or, contact me directly at moran.gerry@gmail.com or MarketingThink.com.

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As Jimi Hendrix kind of said, “Are you (customer) experienced?” If you aren’t, then you aren’t adding value to your customers, and you will lose the battle and the war with your competition.

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran No Comments

Stop Being Snubbed On The Buyer’s Journey!

If you were a hitchhiker on the B2B highway, would customers pick you up?

Or, would they stick their disapproving and down-turned thumb out?

Many new prospects and consumers might consider you a traditional selling stranger – who will scare, bother and inundate them with unwelcome emails – and an unworthy candidate to help them solve their business challenges.

Today’s sales reps need to be social selling and content marketing experts to help position them as a stop-over  on their customer’s journey.

Hitch A Ride | MarketingThink.com | @GerryMoran

The Social Selling Facts

  • 92% of customers would engage with their sales contacts who are thought leaders on some level (Source: LinkedIn)
  • 86% of clients would engage with a sales rep if they provided insights about their company, industry or category (Source: LinkedIn)
  • 17% of customers would engage with a seller if they reached out cold, indicating that cold calls are like jumping on a  car speeding by! (Source: LinkedIn)Social Selling Thought Leaders | MarketingThink.com | @GerryMoran

These facts suggest the best way for you to hitch a ride with the customer is to be a thought leader who can offer relevant insights. That’s your relationship currency to buy you a ticket  to join them on their buying journey.

3 Ways To Use Social Selling Picked Up On The Buyer’s Journey

1. Look The Part. Like any other scary 1970’s horror film filled with axes and leather masks, no one is going to pick you up unless you sound like you can help them! So, tune up your social media profiles to back up the content marketing and social selling value proposition you are offering.

2. Talk The Talk. Your customers expect to be engaged differently on each social media and content channel. Know how to pass on the right information on the right channel in the right way. Otherwise, you might look like a poser or at least not very authentic. Learn how to retweet, learn how to tweet and learn how us LinkedIn posts to help you build your customer credibility.

3. Be The Gasoline and the Roadmap. Use insights, knowledge and content to help fuel their research process and show them the direction in which they should be driving their buying decision. Use social selling and content marketing skill sets to develop a relationship with your customer. Listening, blogging, regular Twitter and LinkedIn posting and engaging with your customers on their networks will make it easier to jump on the buyer’s ‘ride.’ Increase your personal reputation to help build value to the customer.

Do you have another social selling tip to offer? If so, please share below!

The Big Buyer’s Journey Takeaway

By being consultative and providing relevant information you can become a trusted advisor, and be asked on the next trip before it starts! This way you’ll both have a smooth ride on the buyer’s journey, and you’ll have a successful social selling one, too!

P.S. Your Next Steps! I am the author of MarketingThink.com, a social media and social selling coaching blog. Please sign up for email delivery of my posts and pass this sign-up link to your friends and co-workers, who you think might benefit from reading these ideas.

P.P.S. If you want to get hold of me directly, please send me an email to moran.gerry@gmail.com or contact me directly on MarketingThink.com. I read every email.

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran No Comments

You Need To Stop Focusing On The Sales Process, Silly!

The buyer’s journey and the selling process terms are often confused.

However, the sales process focuses on how to push the customer to get them to buy from you.

While the buyer’s journey presents the client’s questions and needs that need to be answered and met.They need content and contacts to help them through their journey – at their own pace.

seller-250x239

They need content and contacts to help them through their journey – at their own pace.

So, are you creating your business strategy based on the selling process or the buyer’s journey?

It’s important for you to rethink your content marketing and social selling strategy to sherpa the buyer through their decision making process.

Your Customers Are Researching For Answers To Help Them Buy

  • 70-90% of the buyer’s journey is complete prior to engaging a vendor, so it’s difficult to sell to someone who is not listening to your sales tactics. (Forrester)
  • B2B buyers engage with 11.4 pieces of content prior to making a purchase, indicating it takes multiple types of content are critical to touching your audience base. (Forrester)
  • 76% of buyers prefer different content at each stage of their buying research, so content marketers need to (Source: Pardot)

The research suggests that decision makers are self-sherpa their way through their buyer’s journey with content. They have their own content marketing strategy to guide their purchase suggestions, no matter what your selling process.

3 Key Steps To Use The Buyer’s Journey Instead of The Selling Process

1. Focus on Content Development For Each Phase Of The Buying Process. Creating customized content is the key to joining you customer on their buying journey!

2. Deliver Content To Where Your Customers Congregate. Social selling requires more than sending out Tweets and LinkedIn posts. Marketers who map their expertise, content and connection to customers in their watering holes will cross the winners line at the end of the buyers’ journey.

3. Use Your Employee Evangelists To Go Wider and Deeper. Activating your employees and their earned networks will help you consistently connect with an incremental network (to your company’s owned channels) of buyers at the various levels of their research and decision making.

Do you have another way to map your efforts to the buyer’s journey? If so, please share below!

The Big Buying Lesson

Companies need to put themselves in the shoes of the customers. Understanding questions they will ask will help deliver the expertise on their terms vs. trying to sell them something you think they need!

P.S. Your Next Steps! I am the author of MarketingThink.com, a social media and social selling coaching blog. Please sign up for email delivery of my posts and pass this sign-up link to your friends and co-workers, who you think might benefit from reading these ideas.

P.P.S. If you want to get hold of me directly, please send me an email to moran.gerry@gmail.com or contact me directly on MarketingThink.com. I read every email.

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran No Comments

Tap The Heavenly Power Of Employee Evangelists

Meet John – or Mary, or Tom, or Vijay – the (brand) evangelist – a critical part of your employee advocacy strategy.

No, I am not talking about a Bible-like evangelist. I’m talking about an even more efficient way of spreading the word about your company – the social media evangelist who sits inside your business.

mployee Evangelists | MarketingThink.com | @GerryMoran

He works for your company and has an entirely different social network that can be reached by your business’s owned for paid channels.

If you unleash the power of your company’s individual evangelists within an employee advocacy strategy, then you will reap many rewards!

The Employee Advocacy Research Suggests Everyone’s Looking For An Evangelist

  • 92% of customers want individual coworkers to be subject matter experts (Source: IDC)
  • Customers trust content from a company’s coworker vs. content coming directly from a company (Source: Edelman Trust Barometer)
  • 75% want to engage with your coworkers on social media (Source: IBM)

This research strongly suggests your customers are looking for authentic interactions and content from your co-workers – instead of a faceless brand. They need to place a humanizing face to your brand. Tapping the power of your evangelists uses earned media to drive real business impact.

How To Tap The Heavenly Power of Your Evangelists

1. Articulate a clear Governance policy to your evangelists. Make sure you articulate the dos and don’ts of what to share and what not to share!

2. Teach your social media evangelists to fish. Create a Center of Excellence or a set of training sessions to show your coworkers how to Tweet, post and engage with social media to ensure your earned media is working as hard as it can for your brand

3. Gamify the experience. Give our Social Media Rock Star awards or points to acknowledge positive behavior to be modeled!

Do you have the idea to share to help our community enable more evangelists with an employee advocacy plan? If so, please share below!

The Real Lesson Learned From An Employee Advocacy Program

Teaching your coworkers how to fish by using social media to spread the good word of your brand will return your investment tenfold – at least! Introducing the concepts of earned media and how to use one’s personal networks will expand the reach of and engagement with your brand.

So, help your employees go forth and multiply the impact of your brand by introducing a little rigor to the evangelism … and employee advocacy plan!

P.S. Your Next Steps! I am the author of MarketingThink.com, a social media and social selling coaching blog. Please sign up for email delivery of my posts and pass this sign-up link to your friends and co-workers, who you think might benefit from reading these ideas.

P.P.S. If you want to get hold of me directly, please send me an email to moran.gerry@gmail.com. I read every email.

 

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran No Comments

Romance Your Customers Before Asking Them For A Date

Would you agree to go out on a date with someone who you did not know and called you out of the blue?

Of course not! You’d expect a little flirting and romancing first, right? And, you’d want to have an idea who’s asking you out too.

Well, B2B decision makers expect that same flirting and romancing before they agree to a first appointment with you – even if you promise you can save them money, make them money or fix a problem you think they have!

I bet you are are breaking the rules customer courting and losing business to your competitors, who are romanticizing your quota attainment away!

Customer Romance | MarketingThink.com | @GerryMoran

Research Tells You That You Need A Social Selling Strategy

Assuming most initial B2B contacts start with a phone call, email or chance meeting at an event, here’s a handy breakdown of the odds of making a successful contact with your customer.

  • Only 2% of cold calls result in appointments. With only 2% of cold calls resulting in a sales appointment, 98% of your time is wasted; your target audience does not know you who are and will not allocate their precious time to receive your pitch. Spend some time establishing your brand so your customer will take your call and invitation to your first appointment!
  • It takes 8 attempts to make a successful connection (or an appointment.) You can spend those early contacts with phone calls or emails intruding with your pitch, which will likely be met with rejection. Or, you can find a way to make a meaningful connection earlier in the buyer journey to increase your chances of meeting earlier with your contact.
  • 92% of B2B decision makers want their sales reps to be subject matter experts. As food is the key to many a man’s or woman’s heart and attention, so subject matter expertise is the way to a decision maker’s heart – and a place in their office!

What does this research have in common? It supports the need to adopt social selling. Like trying to seal the dating deal with the first call, this B2B research indicates the unlikelihood you will secure they big first appointment on your first call.

With so many touch points challenging your customer’s attention – competitors, communities, and social media – you need to invest the time and creativity to get their attention.

What’s The Social Selling Lesson To Learn?

You should invest more time engaging and ‘flirting’ with customers with knowledge, expertise and content to show you can help them. Some people call this activity social selling. Spend time developing why customers should be interested in you and then how you can help them before you try to sell to them. Use content and social networks to professionally ‘flirt’ and get on their radar.

Oh, let’s be clear about one thing. You still need to ask for the first appointment. However, by you can increase your odds of meeting success by using your subject matter expertise to flirt with your customer. Get on their radar first – with socially delivered content, retweets, comments – and you will have greater success to secure that first meeting!

P.S. Your Next Steps! I am the author of MarketingThink.com, a social media and social selling coaching blog. Please sign up for email delivery of my posts and pass this sign-up link to your friends and co-workers, who you think might benefit from reading these ideas.

P.P.S. If you want to get hold of me directly, please send me an email to moran.gerry@gmail.com. I read every email.

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran No Comments

Social Selling Is More Than A Set Of Tools

You can’t build a house without the right tools. Just because you have the right tools does not mean you can build a house that is sturdy and will inspire people to visit or buy it.

The same goes for social selling. You need the right social media and content tools to succeed, or at least come closer to meeting quota. However, the tools, like LinkedIn Navigator, alone do not equate to building a winning social selling program.

Social Selling Tools | MarketingThink.com | @GerryMoran

You Need 3-part Blueprint To Succeed At Social Selling

Successful sales organizations will benefit from integrating social media into their sales motion if they focus on this 3-part platform.

  • Enablement. How do companies show their sellers to use content and tools to engage with their customers to build a relationship? You cannot automate all activity. So, we need to get everyone to think differently about customer contact. Sales organizations need to teach an end-to-end strategy and activation plan, so sellers know what engagement activity to do at what time. Companies also need to enable their teams to increase LinkedIn, Twitter, watering hole, blogging, and content skills to activate selling strategy with social media.
  • Tools. Giving a construction team a box of saws and access to a 30-minute training to show them how to cut a piece of wood in half is one thing. Working with them to show them how to build a house with that same saw is another. Sales organizations need to find the right tools and scale them across teams to the impact results – continually measuring and monitoring the effectiveness.
  • Content – Company, Curated, Created. At the end of the day, we are all publishers, whether we are a marketer or a sales representative. With customers depending on more content than ever at each part of their buying process, sales reps need leverage the right content at the right time on the right channel. Sales teams need to work with their sellers to show how to curate non-branded content (e.g., passing on a great article from the Wall Street Journal), create their own content (e.g., Tweets, blog posts) or pass on company-created content. Providing the resources

Social, digital and content tools are critical to scaling selling success across the organization. Using the proper roadmap to focus on the destination – like awareness, relationship building, pipeline acceleration – will help inform the best tool set.

5 Ways Tools Help Support A Social Selling Strategy

Companies interested in executing a social selling strategy cannot drive sales without the right tools. They need to make sure they buy the right tools to do the right things!

1. Profiles. Sales professionals need to build their personal brand profiles to show customers, peers and influencers that they have the credibility.

2. Reputation. Sellers need to be able to scale their reputation as thought leaders and solvers with content instead of being ‘shills’ offering nothing but company messaging.

3. Insights. Sale representatives need to listen for sales and opportunity triggers and understand how to use them to start and build relationships.

4. Action Plan. After a sales professional develops an insight based on a sales trigger, they need to act strategically on those triggers.

5. Social Channel Mastery. All sellers need to be able to use social and digital channels expertly to build a relationship and accelerate pipeline.

A Social Selling Tool Strategy Alone Won’t Work

Going into a social selling strategy with a tool-first approach, as opposed to a requirements-based approach, might achieve some early and low-hanging fruit wins. However, this ‘bright-and-shiny-object’ approach is not sustainable. Think about it, after giving everyone a ‘tool’ and some training, then what? Replacing a holistic strategy with an only a tool strategy will fail. Alone, this approach misses the mark – not clearly mapping the tools to strategic sales requirements!

Do you have a favorite tool you have used to help  you reach your sales quota? If so, please share your experience below. Or, contact me directly at MarketingThink.com.

A sales organization needs to articulate clear business requirements to find the right tools for their social selling strategy – and then show how the tools drive measurable business impact. And, once you build a house, there’s lots of ongoing maintenance you will need to do – so keep on learning how to improve your tool skills!

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