“Your customers and prospects are not on social to be sold to. Entertain them, tell them a story, give them something to share, help them along the way, and when it comes time for them to purchase, your company will likely be top of mind,” from Marketo’s post: An Editorial Calendar for Facebook? Absolutely.
The important observation, which some companies painfully choose to ignore, is that Content Marketing and Social Media engagement is rarely about straight selling. It’s about providing valuable, useful, and interesting material for your customers and potential buyers to consume and enjoy.
Don’t Make your Customers Climb a Mountain
Gone are the days when companies bash potential customers over their heads with offers. Gone are the days when people rely on advertising to find solutions. [Did you know "You are more likely to summit Mount Everest than click a banner ad. (Source: Solve Media)" via HubSpot. 279.64 times more likely, to be exact.]
The new connected world is a buyer’s market, in that helpful information abounds. But it’s also a seller’s market if you can provide all of the information the buyer is interested in. But social media engagement on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn isn’t enough for most brands. Yes, provide witty banter and entertainment to help you connect with people. But to drive them to your site for more in-depth, useful information, you need to leverage anchor content that you create for your site for their many needs.
You have the Map, Let this be your Compass
Treasure Island – Atit Shah
Take a step back. If you consider the prospective customer along their sales journey, or sales funnel, the first time they come to your site higher-level information will likely interest them. But the next time, or even the fifth time, they come to your site looking at your solution or service. They might be looking for white papers, product specifications, customer reviews, and other details to help inform and provide reaffirmation. The last time the customer comes to your site before the purchase, different information is needed to covince the potential buyer, be it discounts, payment and invoicing options, the onboarding process, ongoing support, etc.
The seller often forgets customers’ different scopes of interest. Sure, we think we cover the most important features, the largest pain points, the best benefits, and try to dive into the nitty-gritty details. But it’s hard to know where these visitors are starting, where they are on their journey, and what knowledge or concerns they bring.
Trust in your Team, and they will Deliver
Consider that every employee in every department interacts one way or another with your customer. You have an amazing asset at your fingertips. They each have stories to tell and interesting insights from years of experience, all waiting to be told in a unique voice. These topics will interest your customers at different times along their voyages.
Additionally, the post-sales process of engaging with existing customers, and strengthening your two-way commitment to each other is another area that your team can really deliver. The information-sharing doesn’t end when the sale is made – just the opposite. Your customers can become your strongest advocates and best sales people. But that connection and conversation starts when you first meet, not after the sale takes place.
So prepare your stories, find your storytellers, and start nurturing your customers with insightful, useful, interesting, and informational articles and content that celebrate the depth of your team’s knowledge.