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The days of using marketing tools to promote and advertise your products and services are long gone. In today’s highly competitive market places it is all about providing value rather than overtly selling. It’s about pull not push and the most effective companies are those that understand that their prospects and customers are looking to find reasons to buy instead of being sold to.
Let’s face it, when was the last time you welcomed and valued a cold sales call? The promise of a special offer for this, or a discount for that. Worst still the crass opening statement, “People like you in your street are signing up….”. We have all heard it and it’s not exactly the ‘what’s in it for me’ that inevitably we are all seeking.
So how do we take the premise of adding value into one of the most cost efficient and arguably most highly effective marketing channels: social media?
The first thing to recognise is that if you add value then people listen and engage. We are talking here about providing information, education and amusement. Truly engaging them with a balanced view of the world, their world, inspired and motivating.
I call this balance the Social Media Rule of Thirds. If you haven’t tried it then you will be amazed at the difference it will create, tweet by tweet, blog by blog…
One third of what you publish should be about getting to know ‘you’. The things you are doing, saying, seeing and sharing that can add value to your customers.
One third is what we call ‘free stuff’. Things you see in your travels that stop you in your tracks because of their Wow-Factor. These things might be a blog, article, video or news story. An image, words or video all work in this third.
One third is the overt sell. This shouldn’t be your products and services though but rather the outcomes the customer will experience if they work with you or if they take your product.
The next thing to recognise is that it’s about time and place. Their time and place. By gaining a clear understanding of where they are and what they are doing you can integrate your messages and valuable content to suit them, on their terms, and by doing so you move that step closer to being a ‘social business’. Using social dashboards like Socialreport, Sproutsocial and others will give you this granular level of insights that you need, to truly understand what’s most relevant and engaging for your customers.
The term ‘social business’ is key here. Truly supportive companies are those seen to be a trusted and loyal friend. The first company you turn to for advice, guidance and support. Such companies are current, relevant and informed. Who else would they need? Certainly not your competitors who continue to sell and not see the value of ‘value’.
So your challenge for today is to list 5 things you can do for your customers that add value and support them in their world. Sales, your products and services and things covertly about you, are not allowed. True value comes from ‘what’s in it for them’. The ‘what’s in it for you’, will come soon after.
Neil Wilkins, Managing Director at Viper Marketing