Talk to your audience, not at them.Shout from the rooftops. That’s the way it used to be – shout out a strategy with all the right components in place (medium, message, time), and awareness builds.

Social media platforms threw a kink into that approach: pushing a message where people want to have conversations doesn’t work. Think about it…have you encountered someone who started an exchange with a sales pitch? What a whopping turn-off (metaphorically and literally).

Publicizing messages used to be easy: identify what to say, create the presentation, drive through marketing and advertising channels. Repeat.

Yet the art of pushing information requires a different strategy today, especially with regards to social media, blogging and digital multimedia. The spotlight shines not on product or sales pitch, but rather on people.

So…what we shout changes.

More to the point, we can simply stop shouting.

But, you may protest, there is so much competition for customer’s attention in my own space.

Yes – a valid argument not so very long ago, when sellers didn’t have direct access pitching products to people. At that time, businesses used target market information to figure out where to reach audiences with general messaging that spoke to many market segments at once. While this type of marketing will certainly continue, promotional opportunities within social media center on listening and replying.

Listening is a quiet activity. Next, and equally important, is talking to (not at) individuals whom we may be able to help. Then talking to them some more!

But (you may again protest), it takes _____, and I don’t have that.

Ah, the oft-used excuse. Recognize and nullify such limiting statements…take charge! Change whatever “it” is by getting out of your own way:

1. Who does your marketing today?

  • If the answer is you, secure help to first identify needs, and then to explore options supporting your business requirements and available resources. (Doing so may involve outsourcing processes, or arranging consultations to identify changes in work flow for creating different social marketing approaches.) You have an advantage working in ways to connect directly to people and potential customers.
  • If is the answer is a person or team, make time to talk to them. What are their obstacles? Listen to what they do and don’t say. Both provide insights. Share lessons learned and set up a group consultation. In short, find out what may help your team succeed today along with additional considerations for effective expansion of marketing efforts. They need to be able to connect your brand to your intended audience creating a connection.

2. There are things to love online – and love to hate as well!

By choosing not to be part the discussion on an Internet site you or people on the marketing team detest – but where customers are active – the choice is made to pass on conversations and potential relationships leading to sales.

Ego, please step aside: this is about business sustainability and growth.

3. From whom do you learn? What inspires you?

Building a network of experts who can both inspire and instruct will serve to promote fresh perspectives as well as people/businesses that offer something your target markets will like. That’s the benefit of not knowing it all – we can easily reach out to an authority for answers on a particular topic.

What should be a company’s primary marketing focus?

Social media professionals believe engagement is paramount; Internet marketing professionals emphasize crafting compelling messages to move the sales cycle forward; and digital strategists will say listen and then listen some more and provide information that results from listening.

The right answer? All of the above.

Pull marketing is all about approachability. Meaning, people paying attention to your conversation will make themselves known when ready. They are confident you’ll listen and talk once they are comfortable with you, trust you, and maybe even like you.

Just like utilizing call centers, email and traditional mail correspondence, incorporating social elements into business work flow further connects you to current and potential clients.

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