Over the next two days, BizEngine will break down HubSpot’s excellent Social Revolution webinar. Check it out!
On Monday, I slapped on a pair of head phones and embarked on an hour-long listening adventure with the folks at HubSpot and salesforce. The result was an informative, intelligent webinar with some thought-provoking advice, which I will relay to those of you who were unable to attend.
For the first day, we’re going to focus in on George Hu of salesforce, whose presentation primarily focused on the way social media and the idea of connectivity have transformed the way marketers do business.
Let’s take on his presentation in three points, shall we?
How The Landscaped Changed
There was a time, some 25 years ago, when cold calls were your friend in sales. It was a time when marketing amounted to phone calls, whirring fax machines and direct mailings. Social media was just a glimmer in a marketer’s eyes.
Those times have obviously changed.
The fundamental change is that the Internet exists, and it has become an extremely social sort of place. Facebook is an enormously popular tool for businesses and gathering place for more or less everyone, while Google+ seeks to muscle in on that territory. Twitter is huge—I estimate I Tweet about 100 times a day, for example—and other tools are out there. If you’re not adapting to that reality, you might as well get started on your time machine back to the 1980′s.
The best way to do that is to develop a general customer profile and, if it’s possible, ones for each of your customers individually. Once you have a sense of what sites a customer frequents, what the enjoy and what they tend to interact with them, spring into action.
“You of course want to then take that knowledge and engage with the customer on the social network,” Hu said during the webinar.
The Great Divide
The first obstacle to overcome is the fundamental gap between customers and companies. Once, you could blitz consumers with advertising and they took it, having no choice but to absorb what you were giving them. Now, they can tune out sales pitches with virtually no effort.
This extends to social media. If you’re using your Twitter not to offer up your content to followers or to have conversations with them, and instead to spam them and advertise, you’re going to see nothing in terms of a response.
“How are companies going to cross this chasm to be where their customers are?” Hu asks. “The social revolution is creating a social divide.”
The solution? Learn to move in the same spaces as your customers and to engage them on a human level. Provide value through blog posts, white papers, podcasts, etc. You’ll see an immediate change.
The Changeable Company
Your company has to shift with the times, as I’ve noted. Hu argues for a change that better connects employees with one another and with customers, something best achieved by putting those kinds of tools in the hands of all of your employees.
But how do you do that when you’re a small company?
The only true sour note in the presentation for me was when Hu was asked how small companies without huge marketing departments or budgets could possibly create infinitely customizable pages and track social conversations. This was an opportunity for Hu to present a reasonable solution for these businesses, such as focusing on customizing a handful of important pages or prioritizing channels. Instead, he urged them to make use of salesforce, which many small companies probably can’t afford or don’t want to spend the cash on.
That’s not to say salesforce isn’t worth the money if you have it, because their tools are very, very useful. But not every business is in a position to utilize them.
But he is absolutely right that even the smallest businesses should be adapting to the way the social media world works. Prioritize what you can, figure out which channels your customers are using and go for it.
Let us know if this was an interesting and helpful read for you, and stay tuned. Part two of our webinar breakdown lands tomorrow!
Photo credit to lizerixt at http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1129748