Is Your Strategy More Accurately Called “Beg Marketing”?

I read a great post by Jeff Esposito about his adventures in shopping for his new home. He found that lots of retailers requested that you follow them on Social Media. He wasn’t surprised that when he did, he found the same old “push marketing” and one way conversations. It is the classic case of using a Traditional Beg MarketingMarketing approach with New Media tools: it never works.

In the comment section of this post, @annedreshfield described this approach being taken to an extreme degree when a restaurant she checked into on Foursquare hounded her on Twitter for a recommendation.

Sadly, this form of “Beg Marketing” takes place everyday all over Social Media. I see people begging their Followers to share their page and tweeting constant “deals” that ‘if you follow me I’ll follow you back.’

Like I’ve stated 475 million times, Common Sense should be your guideline in Sales and Marketing online. It’s just like dating: Desperation is totally unattractive, always.

Give your followers a reason to share your page or Retweet you. Create a contest where you gain additional entries by sharing a page. Offer excellent, informative content so that people WANT to Like or Follow You. I know, it sounds like a lot of hard work, and it is. And it should be. Think about the Brands you admire; didn’t they work hard to earn your respect and admiration?

What Social Media Engagement is All About

Earlier this week I wrote a post declaring that Social Media MARKETING was a misnomer and that it’s really about ENGAGEMENT. My Twitter buddy Robert Jones made this comment:

“I’m wondering how you see the relationship among these functions. Is engagement a subset of marketing? Is Sales Cycleit a kind of continuum (marketing –> engagement –> sales)? Or maybe a formula (marketing + engagement = sales)? Since management already knows marketing and sales, it’s probably important to explain exactly where engagement fits into the picture.”

And then he turned me onto a post by Daniel Newman that called out Social Media Pundits for talking about Engagement when they only engage with EACH OTHER. I stopped in my tracks and did a bit of self analysis, because the last thing I’m aiming to sell my clients is snake oil.

So here’s how the world worked before Social Media:

First comes the ‘product.’ Then comes Sales. I know, many of you think Marketing is next but in as an experienced rep. and someone who has worked with small businesses forever, I know that there are LOTS and LOTS of businesses who do little or no marketing, or think of Marketing as a luxury they can buy after they’ve sold something and turned a profit.

THEN comes Marketing. Then (hopefully) comes a serious growth in Sales. From here on out you have the never ending stream of Marketing/Sales/Marketing/Sales; the 2 departments will fight for an eternity about which one is more responsible for the success of your company.

Along comes Social Media and there is a new ingredient to how this should be structured:

1. First comes Product. Yes, it’s always product first.
2. Then comes Engagement: Social Media allows you to get the word out, create buzz, and interact with potential customers.
3. Then Comes Sales. If you have a chance in hell of making it you need to hit the ground selling; I don’t care what the Marketers tell you.
4. Engagment Again: any smart sales person today is using Social Media in many forms to reinforce their connections with real life customers and reach out to their targeted prospects.
5. Simultaneously with Sales comes Marketing. This is your strategy that will boost the Sales Person’s chance of having success. Sales stands on the shoulders of Marketing if it’s all working like it should.
6. Engagement AGAIN: You need feedback on your marketing efforts, and there is no more direct channel to the opinions of your target customers than to ask them directly. This is where you RETAIN and ask for FEEDBACK.
7. TRACKING: all of the above is for naught if you don’t have an effective system to see what works.

And the cycle should continue, using Social Media as a tactic to connect and engage with existing and future customers. Can you use Social Media to market? Sure. But it is most powerful as a way to ask, receive and measure all of your efforts. See, it’s a TACTIC, it’s not a strategy in itself. And if you incorporate it into your overall Sales/Marketing strategy it will be one of your most treasured and effective instruments to gage what actually works. Make Sense?