As we continue to explore the many different ways you can get to know your audience with our ongoing series “Getting to Know Your Audience,” (clever, we know) let’s take this opportunity to tackle an often underused social media outlet: LinkedIn. A lot of businesses still aren’t engaging on the often ignored platform, meaning they could be missing out on potential customers. So, let’s talk about why your business needs to be posting on LinkedIn.
If all you know of the platform are the frequent emails clogging your inbox from colleagues (and strangers), then it’s high time you give it another look. While posting on behalf of your company on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram are great practices, you might be surprised to know that your largest target audience just might be those constantly requesting to add you to their professional network.
LinkedIn has long been thought of as a place for individuals to connect to other industry professionals and, hopefully, establish themselves as such in an attempt to gain an edge when seeking out employment.
Now, fifteen years after its launch, LinkedIn has become just as powerful as a source for content as it is for employers looking for qualified talent, and vice-versa.
Social Media Examiner’s study published in 2016 gives us a lot of insight into the usefulness of LinkedIn in marketing. We outline the key points you need to know.
LinkedIn ranked as the third most used social media platform for marketers. Ranking behind Facebook and Twitter, companies are using, and subsequently reading, LinkedIn content more than YouTube, Google+, and Instagram.
What makes LinkedIn such a desirable platform for businesses, you ask? One reason could be the audience. Once you break down how marketers use social media by the type of business they are, the picture gets a little clearer. If you break those numbers up into B2B businesses and B2C businesses, B2B marketers post to LinkedIn almost as much as they do to Facebook.
Even more telling, when asked to rank the importance of social media platform presence, B2C marketers overwhelming chose Facebook as the most important platform, with Twitter at a VERY distant second.
However, when B2B marketers were polled, the majority said LinkedIn was the MOST important platform to have a presence, with Facebook not too far behind. More than three-quarters of that same B2B marketing group plan to increase their usage of LinkedIn this year.
Sure, LinkedIn does have its issues. There is a tedious character limit for business posts, you can’t upload/embed video, and to take full advantage of the platform, you need a paid membership. However, the pros definitely outweigh the cons in this exercise based on audience alone.
So, if your goals include:
-reach other industry professionals
Then you are far more likely to reach your target audience on LinkedIn than you are on Facebook.
If you’ve been putting off joining or even just engaging on LinkedIn, then let this be the statistic that lights the fire beneath you: currently, LinkedIn has more than 500,000,000 registered members that you are currently ignoring. So if you are looking to get your company’s name out there, you might consider adding LinkedIn to your professional network.
Fundamental Marketing Question: Who is your audience?
You probably have a general idea of who your audience is, or at least who you think your audience is. But, when was the last time you really sat down to define it?
This isn’t something you can do quickly or even in an afternoon. It takes some serious research. But, you can get the ball rolling and at least start to build a basic understanding of who you are trying to reach for your business.
So, why do you need to know who your audience really is? Let’s look at this analogy:
Think about how you talk to people throughout the day. Do you talk to your children the same way you talk to your spouse? What about your boss and coworkers? You use the same language, inflection and urgency in all of those conversations right?
Of course not!
You may not vary your voice much, but you do talk differently to different people. It’s not that you want to treat people differently, it’s just that you know all of these different people really well, and you know HOW to talk to them. Everyone receives and understands information differently, that’s why we vary our communication styles when talking with the different people in our lives.
With marketing, it’s no different!
Once you know your audience, then you can start building the right message. You can talk directly to them in a way they understand and can relate. But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We need to start with your audience.
Don’t be like “most businesses.” A common mistake is that they assume their customer feels and experiences things the same way they do. That may not be true. So, be the oddball out and start making decisions based on your audience and NOT on your own emotions.
Over the next few months we’ll be exploring practical ways you can determine who your audience is. But first, get with your team and have a brainstorming session. You may not know the exact answers, but start to think like your customer.
Start with these three questions:
-Where does your audience go? (physically and online too)
-What do they see everyday?
-What problems are they facing?
Next month we’ll continue exploring ways to understand who your audience is and how to answer some of these questions.
If you missed our first Lunchtime Chat, you can still watch it here!
Every successful business person I’ve met, is always reading something. But, with our busy schedules, it can be difficult to find time to read.
That’s why I choose to listen to lots of books while I’m working out or driving. If I find it really helpful, I buy the hard copy and go back through to highlight and make notes.
In the video above we discussed two books that have inspired my own personal and business life!
How do I determine if the book is worthy to tell others about?
1. It has to be written by someone who knows, because there are plenty of leadership books by people who have never led anything. And there are plenty of people who write business books that have never led a business. (Just like I love photography…but should never write a photography book.)
2. Did I highlight and have pages of notes written at the end? Then I found it inspiring.
3. Did I use those notes to change and shape my business? Then I found it practical and impactful. What does that mean? For me it means it got integrated into my goals, systems and had a positive outcome.
With that criteria in mind, I chose these first two books to discuss:
When you start anything, business, hobby, sport, etc., Seth explains that there is a natural curve of events that will take place. At the beginning you’ll have fun with it, you’ll be slightly successful in your efforts, but then there is always “the dip.”
This is where it gets challenging and it can be difficult to keep going and see success truly take place. Seth’s book is short and encouraging, helping you figure out when it’s smart to push through those challenges, or if it really is time to quit.
This book you can open up on any page and learn something new. Tim posed tough questions to a list of successful people and their answers he collected in this book. These “titans” answer questions such as:
-How do you start your day?
-What quotes do you live your life by?
-What are the most gifted or recommended books?
They’re questions to help you see what inspired them in their success and what they do daily to help them continue on that path. As well as Tim’s books, I regularly listen to his podcasts.
So, I encourage you to start reading! It will help you grow not only as a person, but as a business leader.
Not every book will be helpful, not every successful person’s story will be applicable to your life. But, still READ, looking for the tangible takeaways you can apply to your own life. Reading can help you transform your goals, increasing your momentum to dream, try something new, and take a few calculated risks.
Quotes that have inspired me:
“The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.”
― Paulo Coelho
“Productivity is for robots. What humans are going to be really good at is asking questions, being creative, and experiences.”
― Tim Ferriss
“What problem do you face every day that nobody has solved yet?” or “What is a great company no one has started?” I will”
― Tim Ferriss
“Happiness is wanting what you have.”
― Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
When you’re passionate about the work you do, it can be easy to isolate yourself and your focus to solely your tasks. But, let us present the possibility that your work is fruitless without communicating inside your organization.
How can this be possible? Let’s talk specifically about the sales and marketing relationship within an organization.
The purpose of sales is to create new sales, upsell and nurture current clients. Marketing is focused on supporting the brand image with the right advertising and messaging.
But, these two departments shouldn’t feel like they are competing. They should instead see one as the driving support of the other.
What do sales and marketing teams have in common?
- Work within a system
Again, sales and marketing are very different in purpose even though they’re both reaching for the goal of increasing awareness and sales for their company. Because their purpose is different, so are the systems they work within. Sales will work within Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. There are many to choose from, but the main purpose is to assist the sales team in tracking potential and current customers. It allows them to easily document who is being contacted and where they are in the sales cycle.
In marketing, we will also work with a system. This is generally linked to the CRM so potential leads made from marketing efforts are funneled straight to the sales team.
The marketing system will track mass engagement from different platforms targeting different customer personas. For example, their system will track how many opened an email and what content they clicked on most.
- Create plans
Each department creates a plan and then works within that plan to reach their goal. Here’s an example: Sales: As a team, make 50 calls a day, have three conversations which will lead to 1 promising meeting. Marketing: Create messaging that generates leads for sales team to help them fulfill their plan. Marketing plans should always merge with the current sales plan.
- See communication as key
There has to be communication not just with potential customers, but between both of these departments. Many times sales and marketing teams do not communicate, which can sometimes lead to pointless efforts made by both parties.
So what indicators display a healthy relationship between sales and marketing teams?
- They are aware of each other’s efforts.This goes back to that important communication piece! Have you ever heard your sales team say, “I really wish we had a brochure or pamphlet to hand out!”…only to find out one was made but never given to the sales team to use?If you have, you’re not the only one! One of the first things we work on with our clients is helping them understand the need for efforts to match. Communication is key for this to happen! The sales campaigns should always align with the campaigns the marketing team is creating.
- They have regular meetings together.The easiest way to keep everyone aware of the efforts being made, is to have regular meetings. This allows for a couple of things:
-the sales team can communicate their needs (ex. tradeshow materials)
-the sales team can bring light to the attitudes they’re facing from potential customers.
-both teams can talk about results and analytics
-both teams can work on using all of this information to tweak current campaigns or build new ones.
- They regularly analyze results and ask “what worked?”Analysis is a huge component to creating future campaigns that will work for the organization. For sales, they can see which tactics work to close more sales. For marketing, they can see what tactics are driving more qualified leads. Together, they can increase leads and sales with the most effective efforts.
So, are your sales and marketing teams talking to one another? Do you think your marketing needs a little boost? Try evaluating your organization with this information.
You’ve been working with a marketing firm for six months and though they’ve produced some creative items, you aren’t sure if it’s really working.
There are a lot of factors to consider if you feel your marketing efforts aren’t successful. One, is to examine the relationship you have with your marketing firm.
Here are signs your marketing firm isn’t working for your business’s best interest.
They don’t understand your business/brand
Have you ever been in a meeting and felt like they were giving you the cookie cutter answer they give every business?
Realize, if your best interests aren’t addressed at the beginning, don’t think that will ever change.
Top priority for your marketing firm should be understanding your business and developing a plan to reach your ideal customers.
Ideas aren’t based on Data
A great marketing firm isn’t just made up of creative ideas. It’s a mix between creativity and research.
Each decision surrounding your marketing plan should be based on data: social media statistics, testimonials, complaints, website traffic etc.
There are so many factors to look at and examine to culminate the full picture of your business. Your marketing firm should be looking at all of these facets, and more. This way, they’re able to build a creative plan that makes sense for your audience.
Lack of Communication
Examine the feedback you’re getting. Communication should be a key component in your relationship.
They should communicate realistic timelines for your marketing plan. Knowing approximately when content will be ready helps you plan the way sales can work with the current marketing campaign.
They are the marketing experts and should be leading the charge, but you should still be involved in the process.
Stay in the loop. Your knowledge of the industry’s trends and changes are invaluable to the marketing direction.
They say “Yes!” to everything
When your marketing team says yes to every idea, they aren’t looking out for your best interests. They are worried more about pleasing you, than enhancing your success.
Some can find this concept rude or backwards from how most businesses operate.
But, let me ask you a question.
Would you listen to your contractor if, while remodeling, he says taking out a wall isn’t a good idea? Or will you ignore that it’s a supporting wall for the home and tell him to take it out anyway?
It’s the same with your marketing firm. They may say, “no” to an idea, but they should also present to you why it’s not right for your target audience. It may be a great idea…but just for a different audience, in a different market.
Is your current marketing firm working for your business’s best interest? Are they branching out and trying new things because of something they discovered in the research process?
Working with the wrong marketing firm can be detrimental to your goals. But, working with the one that fits your business can be a great experience..