I conduct workshops and teach, network and get referrals; and without fail, the early conversations and first questions are always a business owner asking if they should use this or that; or ask what should they do. I always answer the same way with “it depends”.
I confess that it was beginning to feel like a cop out, but then I started reading more and more articles that asked a question and began their articles answering the same way. I feel vindicated each and every time.
While study after study demonstrates the best times to post, the best posts, the best headlines, the best conversion page layouts and the best calls to action, rarely do they address where this tactic works versus where it might not work.
So when someone says “We’re B2B so Facebook is a waste of time.” Or, they ask if they should blog versus do email marketing because they can’t afford the time or money to do both. The answer is always “it depends”.
Another common challenge I am given in these conversations is “I tried Twitter and it was a waste of time.” Well, that might be so in your case, either the audience was wrong or the tactics were wrong, without further investigation, it is impossible for me to know why it was a waste of your time.
I heard someone say “a good craftsman never blames the tools” and that is true not only with craftsmen but with marketing – especially digital marketing. It is as easy to pick up a drill as it is to open a Twitter account, yet picking the tool up does not make you a craftsman or a professional marketer. A craftsman has years of experience and has a vision and a plan; a marketer has years of experience and has developed a strategy and a plan.
There is no magic formula or secret recipe that is going to work for every business so I would caution anyone who buys from a company or consultant that starts off with a tactical recommendation before they understand the strategy, the business model, the target audience and the goals.
An example is ‘the best times to email’ I am confident when I say that if your target audiences are mompreneurs versus senior executives that those times would not be the same.
Likewise, if you were looking to use Facebook, I would venture to say that while the consensus is that it isn’t for B2B, it does depend on what you want to accomplish as well as the personas you are targeting. Facebook might be ideal if you are looking to strengthen your brand and build referrals from senior executives by enticing them to participate in industry group discussions – chances are they are on Facebook during the evening or weekends checking on their kids and grandchildren so spending a little more time in industry groups isn’t a stretch if real value can be garnered. They can be helpful, discover new resources, get answers to nagging challenges, and so forth. Building brand loyalty is a valuable marketing activity. While your Facebook group might not generate a ton of new leads, at this level you might only need a few, and this could very well nurture repeat business.
But then you say: “yes, but why wouldn’t they do that on LinkedIn or Google+” and I would agree that at the onset those do look like far more viable solutions for B2B groups, however it requires them to log into a different platform, which they may not be inclined to do, and if they are already on Facebook then that is one less barrier toward engagement.
The point is that you need to think about your Company’s DNA, your and your teams DNA – where are you most comfortable engaging? Then begin to plan and test – what can you sustain and what are your goals. Each digital marketing tool isn’t for everyone and while it would be great to be able to take advantage of them all, with limited resources set clear goals, and find the right tool that fits not only your skills and style but equally as important – your target audiences platform preferences, and develop tactics to accomplish your goal. It is all very personal.
So what has worked for you? And what would you be willing to try next?