Social engagement advances your company’s social influence. Social influence creates a solid digital footprint for your company. Social engagement creates dialogue.
Is your social selling strategy one-sided or is it the beginning of a beautiful relationship?
In my May 5 MidmarketIBM post, I stressed the importance of social influence on business development outcomes. There’s more involved.
Calculate the social ROI of all of your activities. Are you winning more business as a result?
Business development outcomes are based not only on how well you know your customer: their habits, preferences and decision-making context. These outcomes are a matter of how well you engage them.
While your company’s social influence impacts brand and image perception in the marketplace, your objective is customer engagement instead of social voyeurism. You want prospective and current customers to reach out to you digitally. You want to start a conversation.
This strategy is important when dealing with buying committees and technical teams. These folks are elusive and skeptical. There may be as many as 3-7 buyers involved in an IT decision. The buying team may be geographically scattered rather than consolidated.
How can you engage them when they are all over the place?
Buyers and decision makers also are social and digital consumers. As a buyer, my perception of your company’s brand and image influences your selection as my vendor of choice. While your selling strategy focuses on the logical side of my decision, I’m also looking for subjective information, including peer opinion, to help me make my buying decision.
As a seller, you are in a position to leverage your company’s social footprint with additional business development assets.
- Use your own social footprint.
- Combine it with additional resources you have discovered.
- Reinforce your company’s brand, image and social influence.
That’s what social engagement with your buying community looks like.
Today’s decision makers have way too much on their plates. They are looking for reasons to reduce the number of decisions they must make. That means eliminating new vendors and sticking with less risky choices.
If you are trying to unseat an incumbent vendor (and who isn’t?) focus on social engagement to influence buyer perception.
Social engagement is not achieved by socially throwing more self-serving marketing communications at buyers. Combined with all of the other vendor noise in the digital and social space, you only provide buyers with one more reason to hit “Delete” and dismiss you and your company’s products and services.
Social engagement is achieved by providing provocative, industry-related content to decision makers. Ask them a question which begs to be answered.
Social engagement makes your buyers and decision makers think about you differently. Your questions stick in their brains.
Social engagement creates a critical, initial digital handshake and the start of a compelling sales dialogue.
Focus on leveraging social engagement within your customer acquisition strategies. After all, it’s a conversation your customers want to have with you.
Babette N. Ten Haken catalyzes collaborative business transition, startup growth, and professional development. She works with non-traditional sellers, engineers, small and midmarket manufacturers, and technical startups.