With over 20 years of experience, mostly in senior roles, I have seen first-hand how sales & marketing has changed over time.
Sales & marketing is of course a constantly evolving environment and has always been quick to adopt new technologies and strategies in response to economic and social changes. The move from more aggressive and interruptive selling methods, such as cold calling and door knocking, was already well established long before Covid-19, and the adoption of a more informative and customer discovery-oriented approach was already long underway for most forward-looking organisations.
But what the pandemic has done is to make this approach a necessity rather than a choice. After all, you can hardly knock-on doors if there is no-one at the offices.
Another factor in this has been the meteoric rise in the popularity and use of all social media platforms during the worldwide lockdowns… here are some interesting statistics to underline this point.
- As of the start of 2021, there are 4.7 billion active internet users worldwide, accounting for about 60% of the total global population, and around 4 billion of those are active social media users, more than 80% of them.
- LinkedIn is the 2nd largest B2B social media platform, and while Facebook does remain dominant for both B2B and B2C social media sales, The Business Insider Trust rankings rate LinkedIn as the world’s most trusted business social media platform while Facebook has dropped out of their Top 5 entirely.
- LinkedIn added around 3.5 million unique registered UK users in 2020, breaking 30.9 million users worldwide, and cites that over 10% of the UK’s current working population now has an active LinkedIn profile.
- Of that UK user base 58.3% are aged between 25 and 34 years old and 21% are aged between 35 to 54 years old.
That is a lot of engaged business owners and employees that trust LinkedIn as a source of information.
Statistics like these absolutely show that ignoring the potential of social media marketing is just not realistic for most businesses already and the value of a social media presence for your business is only going to rise going forward.
Who, if not you?
So, social media marketing is something that you should be incorporating into your business plan. But is it something you should be doing for yourself?
The answer in my experience is not necessarily.
Absolutely, you should be social marketing your business, but doing it yourself requires a level of commitment and time investment that will not work for everyone.
One of the first things you should consider is what your own time is worth and decide whether you would be better-served outsourcing to a social marketing professional instead.
To help you fill in the blanks in that calculation, let me tell you some more about our own decision-making process and the consequences.
Social media marketing, LinkedIn marketing specifically, takes up between 1 & 2 full days each week of my own time, and, truth be told, I should give it much more.
Why is this?
Commitment, the first thing that everyone should know about Social Marketing.
Social Marketing simply does not work if you dabble in it. In fact, to see any results at all requires a heavy and consistent investment of effort and time.
There is a direct correlation between engagement on Social Media and the amount and quality of the content that you put out. Nothing revolutionary in that of course, it only makes sense, the more informative and interesting content that you publish, the more you will get seen and the more people will engage with that content.
But there is a layer to that that is not immediately obvious. Creating content with the regularity required is not something that drops like mana from heaven, it requires not only the time investment to research and create the content itself, but also constant monitoring of the results and the willingness to adapt to those results as necessary, completely revising your approach when needed, potentially over and again.
Getting off the blocks
When we first took the decision to do this internally, we started by attending a few seminars and began by implementing some of the approaches suggested to us, largely focussing on simple “industry news” type posts and stories of general interest, ideally connected in some way to our industry sector but sometimes just stuff we found interesting and that we hoped others might find interesting too.
But what we soon realised was that there were a million other businesses doing the exact same thing and that this sort of content, while better than nothing, does not do much for the business, as readers only focus on the story and not the fact that it is you presenting it. We do incorporate a few “news” posts in our content still, but much less than when we began, and we now apply our rule for content – something that I will come to shortly.
About this time, we were also re-developing our website and implementing some new ideas there, such as staff profiles and case studies, or what we call “Success Stories”.
It was at this time that something became apparent to me, and this is not at all a new idea, but something that I had not heard from anyone previously as a strategy for online marketing. This was the “Rabbit Hole”.
It is a well-known phenomenon that you will start looking at something online and suddenly find yourself, sometime later, reading or watching something that you had never dreamed you would have been previously. Like when you start looking at potential sheds for the garden and an hour later, you are watching a video on the social impact of goat farming in Eastern Europe, and then a little while later that lead you to the filmography of Peter Sellers, somehow?
I am kidding of course, but we all know that this is a real thing on the internet, and it is commonly referred to as “going down a rabbit hole”.
What I wondered was if this could be applied to social media marketing for a business?
The real goal here, after all, is to keep your business “front of mind” for potential customers. When someone thinks “IT Support” I want their next thought to be “Supreme Systems”.
What if it was possible for us to encourage people that have engaged with our online marketing in any way, to stay in a Supreme Systems Rabbit Hole? Could we encourage someone who sees a news post, for example, to then, of their own volition, view a page on our website, say a staff profile, and from there may be to read a case study, and from there back to another social media post entirely, potentially on a different platform, and from there to watch an animated video about a product offering?
That must be ideal, right?
So, from there we looked at other forms of online content and media that we could create to help form these rabbit holes.
Want more advice?
If you would like advice about IT for your business, get in touch…