A few weeks ago a connection on LinkedIn shared an image showing the effectiveness of various marketing initiatives at generating leads versus their adoption rate.
While interesting, what struck me is that these things appear to have been considered in isolation.
Which seems bizarre…
Because we all know the concept of synergy where the sum of the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts. So, why on earth would you consider various channels in isolation?
Unfortunately, it does seem that social media in particular tends to sit to one side within professional services firms (generally speaking) instead of being woven into every marketing initiative they undertake.
Ditto the website.
There is a huge opportunity to be had from using social and other online tools to create more traditional opportunities or better outcomes.
But firms have to realise that it’s everyone’s job and not just the role of their social media person or digital team. Basically we need to connect the dots.
How could it work?
Here are 3 scenarios:
You want your professionals to be quoted more in the mainstream and trade media read by your clients and ideal prospects. Typically this will fall to your PR/comms person or team.
In addition to the great work they do, it’s important to realise that journalists are on social media – particularly LinkedIn and Twitter. So why wouldn’t you reach out and get on their radars there?
When I interviewed three business and legal journalists for a book I wrote, they all said they use LinkedIn as a quick research tool, to find story ideas and an expert and as a point of reference. One summarised it well:
“LinkedIn is an incredibly useful tool for a journalist. It’s given me story ideas, helped me to find knowledgeable people, and enabled me to easily track people down. Group discussions are particularly useful for finding story ideas. I typically print the discussion and circle the contributors’ names (provided they’ve made an insightful contribution). When I start writing the story I then contact them for comment.”
Journalists will be open to connecting with you provided you work in a similar area or have a common interest. Let them know that’s why you’re inviting them to connect and then build your credibility from there by sharing useful content, commenting on relevant group discussions and reaching out directly with story ideas where relevant.
Some members of your team will soon be attending an industry conference full of business leaders in a particular industry sector – people they really want to meet and engage.
Your firm may, for example, have put together a research piece around the top trends affecting that sector or the key implications of X piece of legislation for the c-suite.
You could set up a landing page where people can download this content at no cost to them (in return for their name and email address) and develop a series of autoresponders to be sent out to them over the coming weeks providing more insights and tips and inviting them to set up a meeting with one of your team at the conference to discuss this further / or to attend a briefing setting out the key things they need to do now / or a roundtable workshop on the issue…and then use social media/email/newsletters etc. to make sure the people you want to reach know about the content.
There are so many things you can do but how much more value will your team members get from the conference from this approach than simply treating it as business as usual? They will not only be able to connect with people they know but will be in a position to have much better discussions with people they don’t…and will be on these people’s radars for all the right reasons.
Your team is planning to run a face-to-face event and, separately, a webinar on a topic that small business owners need to know about. You want to reach out beyond your existing clients and target other small businesses.
That’s where social media could really help you – for example, you could use LinkedIn to identify and reach out to local small business owners for the in-person event and more widely for the webinar, and invite them to connect with you in the first instance.
You could then send them something they will value, possibly related to your webinar topic, such as a free guide or tips. You can then easily invite them to your event/webinar – setting out the benefits to them of attending. In addition you could share details via Twitter using a hashtag those you want to attend, would typically follow.
Other tactics you could use include:
- Sponsored and direct sponsored content
– i.e. you pay to have info about your webinar appear in the newsfeed of those you want to attend
- Sponsored Inmails
– if you are looking to attract a large number of people in a clearly defined segment, this could be an option and is easily combined with sponsored and direct sponsored content as a package (with the LinkedIn team currently doing everything for you)
– paid for emails via LinkedIn that you send to a select audience. If you aren’t on one of the more expensive premium accounts (which give you a set number of free Inmails each month) you can purchase these individually and use them to invite people to your event and the benefits of attending. If they respond to you, you get credited your money back so there’s a real incentive to provide the other person with value!
- LinkedIn groups
– you could post the info there or get a discussion going around the topic you’ll be presenting on as a way to engage people and to position it, or even start a group and invite those you wish to reach to join (you’ll need to spell out the benefits of the group and why they should join), post some interesting questions or info about the topic and then down the track invite group members to your event/webinar.
- Along a similar vein you could hold a Tweetup on the topic, making sure you publicise this in advance, and then use this info in your session and invite those who participated in the Tweetup to attend.
Social media used in isolation can get results but they’re few and far between and there are better ways to use your time.
But social media as an integrated part of a whole is extremely powerful and well worth your time.And better still, you can test LinkedIn paid for features on a shoestring, refining your approach until you get the results you need.
Has your firm used social media to generate more traditional opportunities? If so, what’s worked well and less well?
If not, what are the main barriers to doing so?