It does not matter how good your content marketing is if your contact strategy – or lack of one – means you are talking to the wrong people. An effective Contact Strategy will give you the biggest opportunity to succeed. It should shorten the sales cycle and even better, because you are talking to the right people result in more conversions for the same effort. Whether you are reading this from a personal or company perspective, the guidance and benefits are the same. You could be the best sales person in the world but if you’ve walked into the wrong networking event then you will struggle. It’s no different for your content and social networking activity. In this blog post I will talking about the theory and process. The How To for various sections will follow.
Deciding who you want to talk to
I’m guessing you’ve heard of Buyer Personas before. It’s the process of defining your customers as a fictitious individual. Get really personal and describe the type of person that you most want as a customer. Think about your best current customers – you want more just like them. Use keywords and short phrases to describe their life stage, job and interests. It is worth remembering that there will also be influencers out there who will never buy off you but will be a huge asset if they start talking about you in front of their social audience. Define their personas as well. Use my Contact Strategy Matrix to list the individual personas. You can then go back and complete details about each individual persona.
Desired Customers (Prospects)
These Buyer Personas become your target audience. The keywords you use in the descriptions will provide targeting opportunities across social media and social advertising.
How contact strategy relates to content planning
Your content strategy and contact strategy are intrinsically linked. The fundamentals of Content Marketing are that you use content to attract people to your business. Great content is useless though if you are talking to people who are interested in a different subject. In the main people will not be looking for your sales materials. Instead your potential customers will be looking on the internet for solutions to day to day problems. This is where you and your business has the opportunity to add value to others. Helping them to be more successful in their job, business or life through the knowledge you share. Your buyer personas will have you focus on exactly what these needs are and ensure that your content attracts the right people to you. Planning your content strategy is another part of Live And Social’s core principles for success.
Shared content introduces you to contacts
Sharing other peoples content on the same subjects as you will validate your knowledge and influence. As you share other peoples content it will support your Contact Strategy by introducing you to relevant people and communities. Like building relationships at a networking event, you will only get known by being part of the conversation on a regular basis. Key Influencers are vital your success. They have lots of contacts who trust what they say and who they talk about. Adding the Klout or Riffle extension to your Chrome browser is a simple way to see peoples Klout scores in your Twitter feed or Hootsuite dashboard. Monitor Key Influencers updates and then share, like, retweet and comment. As you do so they will start to notice you and respond back. Watch then as their followers start to follow you. It can be exciting, especially when potential clients start asking you to connect with them. How much easier is that than cold calling them?!
Social advertising – unbelievable targetting
The need for social networks to make money has unleashed the most powerful advertising opportunities ever available. Options are now available to target people by almost every level of their profile information or content that they share. Your Buyer Personas and Content Strategy will help define exactly who to target. Bare in mind that having a big audience does not translate directly to revenue. Think carefully before running campaigns just to build your social media audience. By all means use it to attract desirable prospects but draw them in through lead generating content downloads such as an ebook or an event such as a webinar. That way you will be able to show a return on the advertising cost as you lead nurture people through to conversion.
Segmenting and Communication
Your ever growing social network needs to bring you results. To do this you want it to be easy to follow, monitor and have contact with people. Features are available in most social networks to segment and target your audience. Take just a little bit of extra time as you connect with people to filter them:
- Twitter: create Twitter Lists of clients, prospects and key influencers
- LinkedIn: create a set of tags and give people one via their profile
- Google Plus: put contacts in appropriate Circles
- Facebook: put people in defined (Friend) Lists
With this exercise done you will have pools of people to target your messages at when necessary:
- Twitter Lists: monitor, use popular hashtags and engage with key influencers
- LinkedIn: monthly tailored messages with industry round up based on tags
- Google Plus circle: targeted content sharing by interest or at key influencers
- Facebook: targeted content sharing by interest or at key influencers
Managing your social network so you can focus on key groups of people is important but still only a small percentage are ever going to reply back – commonly about 10% max. If you really want to get results from your contacts then you are going to want to pull them into a CRM and marketing automation system. Email marketing is still the most powerful channel for lead generation and conversions.
Contact Strategy Is Key To Social Media Success
If you follow a regular plan of connecting and engaging with the right people, all the efforts of your content strategy will begin to bring you rewards. Contacts is just one part of my Content, Contacts and Conversation principals but its actually the easiest. Decide who you want to connect with and then consistently add 3-5 of them per day. That’s 25 per week and those kind of numbers quickly build up. I’d love to hear any tips or tricks you have for defining your Buyer Personas or favourite tools for ‘hunting’ people down. Leave them in the comments below and let me know if you want to feature on this blog.
photo credit: loungerie via photopin cc