Social media marketing and inbound marketing have been getting a lot of “hate mail” recently. Many of the “haters” have unfortunately mistaken pop-ups and cookies for inbound marketing. You know, the advertisements that pop up when you’re browsing the web.
Inbound marketing is always (or should be) unobtrusive. It is not forceful in any way and should always be easy to “opt-out” from.
With those key facts in mind, you quickly realise that it isn’t in fact really “marketing” as most people know it because it’s not getting shoved down your throat. It’s a choice and hence it is mutual engagement or communication. Much like a conversation you would have with someone at a party or a networking function.
What makes a good conversation? That’s a question you need to answer for yourself but we would ascertain that interest or parties being interested in the topic of conversation is vital. We have never heard of anyone that likes dull, boring conversations.
Let’s put this in a business context. A conversation is not only about a single party, like we’ve said it’s about two way engagement.
A question we get asked quite often is, “what content can I use to show my business’s interesting points?” Our answer is ANYTHING. None of us know everything and therefore anything that people don’t know is interesting. It’s more important how you convey the interesting points.
A fantastic example for instance is Maersk Shipping Group. Did you know that, in 11 months they had amassed 1 million followers on Facebook, 40 000 followers on Twitter and 22 000 fans on Instagram. They also have large followings on Pintrest, Google+ and LinkedIn. They managed all of this with a budget in of $120 000.
Forget about the dollar figure for a second, we know that is a lot of money. Concentrate on the amount of fans they generated. The team at Maersk had zero backing. It was believed to be a fruitless idea that fortunately one of the communication managers entertained.
They received comments like “they are just container ships, that’s not interesting”, “we need to focus more on our business to business advertising”, “social media is definitely not for us.” How wrong those comments were.
Maersk’s business to business communications sky rocketed; they were inundated with new leads, their popularity ratings increased and their market share increased dramatically. That’s a huge step forward in only 11 months.
All of this because one person decided he didn’t work for a boring company.
Your business is interesting because you’re in business. Not everyone can do what you do. Our advice is that you simply communicate it to people in an interesting and unobtrusive way because that’s what social media and inbound marketing is all about.