I recently came across an article from inc.com that, I must say, sums up our typical “social selling” soap box lecture pretty succinctly. It inspired me to chat with you all about the two main techniques used to market a product, whether it be at a trade show or on a social network.
Push vs Pull
Basic marketing principles state two strategies for getting your product to market, push and pull. While both strategies have their place in a marketing plan, social media has proven to be most effective when practicing the pull method.
In practice, many companies historically attempt to push products to their customers on social media platforms by tempting them with sales promotions, coupon codes, and discounts. While this bait may lure in a few leads, a lasting relationship wasn’t formed. Rather, the customer probably got the deal and moved on. It’s important to note that the goal of social media is to create an engaging relationship with your customers. In order to accomplish this you must do more than dangle a carrot in front of their face, you must pull the customer to your brand.
Say you own a painting company and your ideal customer is a new homeowner looking to freshen up their new walls. By setting up a search to notify you when keywords such as “new house” “paint” and “moving” are used on, say, Twitter, you can connect with the exact people you need to start a conversation with. A simple message such as “Good luck painting! Let us know if we can do anything to help.” would be enough to start a meaningful conversation. A local HVAC company used this same strategy and ended up landing the job. Connecting with customers WORKS!
There are several tools that can fuel this pull sales strategy. Namely, services such as HootSuite provide search tools that allow you to listen for leads who are already talking about your product. The idea behind pull sales is you seek out individuals who are already in the market for your product rather than attempting to lure a crowd of unsuspecting leads in using a bait and switch.
You can also use search.twitter.com to manually search for users mentioning certain keywords. By following your keyword with a location-based tag such as “near:90210 within:20mi”, you can search for tweets in and around your area.
Google+ also has very powerful search tools built into its infrastructure. Try simply searching for “new house painting” when logged in to Google+. Once you get a list of search results, you can narrow them down by clicking on the button titled “Everything” and selecting certain circles, events, or even locations.
Try the pull strategy out using keywords from your own industry. You’ll be amazed at how many conversations you can start!