Are messages heard in social media?

By now, most of the marketing people we meet in the B2B space are past the “try social media” hype and are looking for ways to integrate their offline and online marketing programs to work together cohesively.  If you are one of those people, then I have some good news for you today.

Apparently, users of social media are open to receiving messaging about products, services, programs through outlets like Twitter, Facebook.  I’ve noticed a pick up in buzz over the last week about shopping and Christmas as we barrel ahead towards Thanksgiving and the holiday season.   Supporting this thought was an article I read on BtoB Online about a  study that was unveiled at Ad:Tech that wanted to know how receptive social media users are to marketing messages.  Some  of the results that came out were:

34% of respondents said that after seeing an ad about a product or brand on a social networking site, they then went to a search engine to find additional information.

30% said they first learned about a new product or service via their social media use, with a similar percentage indicating their interest in offers presented in a social media context.

Sure, we could also say that 66% didn’t search after seeing something about a product or brand on a social networking site.  But we have to  remember, this is in its infancy and has tremendous upside within it.  This could become as powerful as Google search in the future, we need to keep our eyes on this ball.  Also, the world of B2B is different from consumers in some respects, but we are all consumers of something and this line is becoming very grey with social networks.

If you are not sure what technical buyers are looking for, then read our recent e-news article  “What do buyers really want“” that highlights a recent Telesian survey about what engineers want to see in our marketing efforts.

I think the trick is that we gotta keep things real.  People like to be talked to, not talked at in social networks.  Just like going on a date, the last thing any of us want is a partner who talks about themselves incessantly.  It feels much the same way when you are reading social messages.  You tend to notice promotors and can tune out after while – just like you would if you were stuck networking with a person like that, you’d be looking for the bar.

So the good news is, that if you are considering how to integrate your off line marketing with online, it’s a good time to experiment with that.   All the social rules still apply though, including:

1.  Maintain a 1:10 promotion/educational-value message ratio so you’re not bore

2.  Make posts inviting.  Intermix  marketing messages subtly with postings that invite  further exploration

3.  Remember that when you post, you are essentially talking to people.  Try to keep your language colloquial, and not corporate tone

4.  People Love Special Deals!  I know that special twitter deals are often repeated throughout the network, and people love to feel “like they are getting a  deal”.  So if you can, experiment with Twitter and Facebook special offers and see how they work.

5.  Remember to test, test, test.  If a message seems to hit a flat wall, try another way, then another until you find the right thing that people want to learn more about.  That’s the beauty of social media, posts have a short shelf life so if one doesn’t work, try again.

If you recall, we want to invite people to take the next step in the buying process, whatever that step is.  Make it simple, talk their language.

Lastly, always remember the powerful reach of a good tweet.  Just last week, @Telesian was highlighted in this blog post by Chris Hebert, founder of MI6, also known as @b2bspecialist on Twitter.  Chris illustrates the far reaching power Twitter can have with just one tweet that extended out to 170K:  ‘The Network Effect of Twitter“.

This is the power that social networks can bring to spreading a message.  We must channel this power wisely, and be responsible with it.

Psst…Pass it on.

2 Comments

  1. Great article Juliann. Social media/networking is a great way to reach people, connect with them and create conversations. In fact, I would propose that if you use etiquette and a framework for participating in social media amazing things will happen.

    Many people and companies are skeptical or scared of social media. That it is a fad. Well, I’ve got news for them. It ain’t! People want to connect, network, socialize and do business with each other.

    They want to participate in conversations with people, they want to share, learn and help each other. They want to find like minded people and group socially.

    What is new is that we don’t want to be interrupted and dictated to with one directional messages and advertisements. Not all of us want to create conversations but we do want to know what people think about products, services, restaurants, breaking news…

    So, go ahead and get on the social media/networking bandwagon and participate, learn and share. A caution though. The key to social networking is to focus on sharing and helping others. It’s ok to promote yourself/your business but more of your time should be on helping others. I love your 1:10 ratio.

  2. juliann says:

    Hi Chris,
    Thanks for making a comment, I appreciate your insight. You touched on something that I think needs more elaboration too. And that’s etiquette. Etiquette is a huge factor in social media success. There is a delicate balance, or say a dance when it comes to social media conversations. For example, in participating in social media, there is a sense of intimacy that happens. But that doesn’t mean the person is now a close friend and you can say anything you want to them. There are boundaries, and it’s a professional relationship for all intensive matters. Until the point where you actually get to meet someone in person, and you can cross over into the next boundary of “friends”. It is important to be considerate, and to put others first before serving yourself. The problem is, the old marketing way was always putting yourself first. We had a message, it had to get out at all costs. And it did, What we didn’t hear was all the backchannel conversation that either agreed or disagreed with our premise.

    It reminds me of something I told my 13 yo son yesterday: “Just because you haven’t seen or heard it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist!”

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