Social rain part 2
In the last post, we talked about how rain is formed, and why your sales and marketing efforts are like the formation of rain. As long as you’re bumping into other water droplets, you’ll eventually make rain… unless there isn’t enough water in the air. Then what?
You have three choices:
- Boil the ocean
- Take other people’s water
- Go where the water is
Boil the ocean is what the big guys do. Spend outlandishly on advertising and marketing until by sheer brute force you get to critical mass. Put enough water in the air that some rain has to fall. The downside is unless you have a massive bankroll, this is usually out of reach of most companies and certainly has intense resource requirements above and beyond money.
Take other people’s water is what a lot of companies resort to – the practice of attempting to poach customers away from similar companies. This is sometimes effective, but requires that you legitimately be much better than your competitors. While you can get some decent short term gains from this, bear in mind you’re getting the most disgruntled customers who are willing to switch. Sometimes it’s a better fit – and sometimes they’re a problem customer that no one really wants.
Go where the water is. There is rain somewhere, ready to fall. There are droplets somewhere waiting for a bump, waiting for a chance to fall to the earth. The most intelligent thing you can do is figure out where your current best customers are and go there too, because birds of a feather do flock together.
Social graphs and social data make this easier than ever. You can see who your customers follow and are followed by. You can target advertising to friends of certain Facebook pages. You can select and hyper-target only people who are talking about what you want to talk about already. This is where the water is, this is where the rain can be made to fall.
The smart money is on moving. Go where the rain is.
Here’s a simple exercise to try, one I recommend whenever I’m speaking publicly. Take a list of your top 100 customers’ email addresses, the people who drive the most business, revenue, growth, reputation, whatever criteria you measure success by. Start a fresh GMail account, a brand new one. Load those addresses in as contacts. Then go social network by social network, one by one, and click on the equivalent of Find Your Friends. When it asks you where you want to search, choose Webmail/GMail. Now you’ll be able to tell with just a few clicks what networks your best customers are on. You might have 55/100 on Facebook but 2/100 on Twitter – so focus your rainmaking efforts on Facebook. You might have 40/100 on LinkedIn but 7/100 on Facebook – adjust your strategy accordingly.
Go where the rain is.
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