What happened? In 2006 Google bought YouTube and though many businesses weren’t actively utilizing the social part of media, we could already see it was brimming with potential.
So in twelve years, we’ve learned nothing? What a time waste!
Written brilliantly in Success Magazine in 2010 in his abstract, “Social Media: the mantra of new media communication is really old school: be found, add value, find customers”, John H. Ostdick, interviewed several experts in that space at the time to gain their insight.
Though the social media sphere was looked at as a virtual telling machine, some businesses still treat that channel accordingly. And as such, their results are poor. Although, many marketers believe this space to be pretty low on the totem pole for direct selling, (Social Media Examiner, Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 2015), other benefits can be had as a part of the overall marketing mix.
Okay enough, dude. Do what you promised. Tell me the 7 places my customers are. I don’t have all day you dope.
Well reader, though I think you could have used a tad more of a respectful tone, here are three B2C methods followed by four B2B methods:
- Youtube-Look at the big players in your industry seek out their videos and look in the comments. How do they interact with the content? The author? Other commentators? You can gauge product/service ideas or how to capitalize on a gap in your market.
- Instagram-The same thing except on this platform you can see who commentators are following/being followed by and maybe even gain more insight on an audience you didn’t know existed. Hashtags are also a beautiful thing.
- Twitter-Yeah, hashtags work on here too, sure. But the way this is really a gold mine is to think conversationally and type that in the search bar. In the example below, my target market is recent college graduates. They are probably not putting #graduatedcollege, but they will speak in a conversational tone of I just graduated. Put that in the search bar with no quotes.
At the time of this writing, I had two hits within less than one minute. How’s that for lead time?
“Invitation to Try” Campaign
This will depend on the product or service you have but it if it’s consumable or your customer can experience the product via touch, this is a great way. You’ll need to consult your local ordinance to learn of any licenses needed. Set up a tent with “Invitation to try” one of your hot selling items in a high traffic area. Their won’t be too many who will turn down something for free.
Collect their e-mail/phone number/messaging app, ask if it’s okay to subscribe them to send them a monthly deal. Just make sure you have adequate staff to handle queries, product demos and sales. If you do this in winter months, I bear no responsibility for your frostbite.
Nothing revolutionary here. There are an abnormally low number of SOHO’s and medium-sized businesses which still don’t take advantage of this technique.. Find providers in your area which are in a linear field but not direct competitors. If I’m in Property Casualty insurance, I’ll partner with someone in Life and Health. Odds are, if a customer has one they either have or will be eventually seeking out a provider for another. Assemble your “power team” of 3-5 merchants that can be a good referral network and you’ll sparsely run out of prospects to call on.
Big (Or Small) Tech
What’s a summation of where everything is headed? Technology. There is a great number of companies in the SaaS sector. This is great news for you. Go to industry trade shows and see which ones serve your vertical. Buddy up with sales reps of different software providers. Offer them something of value, say a White Paper written by Ryan Foley (ahem) in their industry as a lead generator in return for some of their customers. It’s a win-win.
Commercial Loan Officers
This is prevalent if you are in industries serving financial products, staffing, or warehouse/distribution. Do you know what word CLO’s say the most? “No”. They are repeatedly turning down applications. However, develop a good rapport and remember, always offer something of greater value to your prospective partner in return.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
Now I’m sure most of you have heard about this, but I guarantee you, you can get a lot more quality leads if you use it this way. You’ll use it similar to the method above to finding someone in a linear industry.
For example, if I am an apparel vendor trying to get my retail product on the shelf, I’ll look up buyer as title but only send InMails to contacts outside of that vertical. You’ll ask them a similar question to this:
“What is the biggest headache in working with prospective/current vendors?”
You have 20 InMails to send and should receive about a 50% response. It’s small data but valuable data. You can use this new found knowledge to assess your own SWOT analysis prior to reaching out to your targeted list and clean-up any processes needed. I was able to use this and generate an 83% close rate based on this method. I’m still using it.
What is this? Google can tell you. It’s basically an advanced, refined web search to be able to pull more relevant data that’s extra targeted. For this purpose you’ll look at file lists. If I am looking for the director of communication at Aramark, my search would look something like this:
“Aramark” AND “director of communication” filetype:xlsx
The exact search terms are put in quotes and the capitalized AND in the middle advises Google to combine these exact search terms. The file type at the end is requesting to only return excel files.
The very first search I was able to obtain an attendee list from 2016 to the National Association of College Auxiliary Services. Because Aramark is involved in food preparation and in many college campuses I didn’t quite get the director of communication, but obtained about 12 ‘Directors of Biz Dev”, VP of Strategic Development and AVP of Sales. I’m sure with those names and titles I’d be able to find the exact company officer I set out to. This was all wrapped in a nice little bow.
There you have it. Now go out and conquer with your new found knowledge. Apply this and get the right message in front of the right person at the right time. To your success!