We have heard it a thousand times, marketing is now a DIALOGUE. No longer is marketing simply post and pray. When we post to our websites, to Facebook, Instagram et al, we can see how many visit, who they are and which of our products and stories they like. This information helps us better understand both our new and loyal clients so we may reach out to them effectively. Terrific! But that is only a small part of the dialogue. There are other interactions going on that we are ignoring that are loaded with leads.
Your customers, be they trade businesses or homeowners, are also on social media and posting like crazy. They are proudly sharing their work and their unique insights into what looks they like. Plus each of those good customers are being followed by many similar people with similar tastes. Social media is a treasure trove of information about your customers and future customers just waiting to be mined. It is all interconnected like a web, a world wide web.
This can be very good information for your businesses but farming it requires hard work. Most salespeople love getting the order and marketers enjoy creating stimulating content but slogging through your top accounts to better understand them and discover new leads requires a lot of screen time, meticulous note taking and planning detailed meetings to share the information and devise your strategies.
“We have never done any marketing for the bag — people post their own pictures, and we repost. It means a lot to us, the way people post the bag, and for us to see who our customer is,” Telfar Clemens from Vogue Business article How young designers create powerful brand identities by Kati Chitrakorn
Are you willing to dig in?
Step one is to note which social media platforms your top accounts are active on. Note these locations to their account information in your CRM database. Now simply flip through their individual feeds noting what styles they tend to post, what hobbies do they partake and what projects have they done and what they are now working on. And, if you are not following them, start by liking and commenting on their posts. Let them know you are paying attention to their world and supporting them. You need to be consistent; do not review, like and comment on their feeds for a week and then go away for months. You will lose all the goodwill you had won. Set a plan to review and interact with their feed once at least once a month.
Step two is simple: go back through the feeds and note all who comment and like your clients’ postings. Once you have the list, look at their social media posts and their business websites. If they look to be a good fit for your business, follow them on social media, learn a bit about what styles they prefer and add them to your sales target list. Also add them to your planned list of social media sites to interact with monthly. I do not suggest you take the information and blindly add them to your customer email list. If they are doing good work follow them and like and comment when appropriate. Through your likes and posts make sure they know who you are and what you do, subtly.
Two things are important to remember. There are very good customer opportunities that are right under your nose that you do not know about. Secondly, the World Wide Web is used by most businesses and people in the capitalist world today and still offers a tremendous amount of information if we are willing to put the time in to mine it respectfully.
Do not continue to heave good money looking for new customers when some wonderful opportunities are probably posting on social media and talking with your good accounts.
P.S. You can also look to see who is following your competitors. I would bet they have some very good accounts that you do not work with.
A version of this article previously appeared in the July issue of Supply House Times.