Facebook Live, IGTV, Twitter chats, LinkedIn groups … all of these are good and legitimate ways to reach certain audiences — perhaps even your intended audience. Especially if you have a consumer product geared towards a Millennial.
But, what if your audience is a niche market? What if your prospects aren’t Millennials, aren’t on social media regularly and have no clue what IGTV is?
With rampant information overload today, finding creative ways to communicate to people where they are makes sense. Celebrities and politicians are praised for letting us into their personal lives through social media. When we see glimpses of a senator playing with a new puppy on Instagram or an actor hosting a Q&A on Twitter, we relate to them. This is their way of marketing themselves. For businesses, having a fresh, unconventional and diverse content marketing strategy (focused mainly on reaching Millennials) is key.
For the B2B company with a niche market wondering — are these same tactics right for us? Will hosting a Twitter Q&A take us to the next level? The simple answer is no. Your CEO is not Brad Pitt, and the people most likely to buy your product or service probably aren’t hanging out on Twitter. This is not to say that you shouldn’t maintain an active presence on social media — it’s simply to say that you should walk before you run — and make sure you have the proper shoes and a roadmap before getting started.
More Tools Doesn’t Equal Better Tools
The great news is that we have more tools for companies and executives to share their stories. The bad news is that we have more tools for executives to share their stories.
In our experience working with B2B companies of all sizes around the United States, we know that busy executives want results and if someone tells them a Twitter chat is where it’s at, they just might believe it — because why not? That’s what the celebrities do, right? Here’s the thing, what works for one person, one company or one organization is not necessarily what is right for you.
In fact, in a niche business, I would go so far to say that these tools aren’t where you should be telling your story or sharing your message, at least initially. First things first, determine what your story actually is — decide what differentiates you from the competition.
Sometimes the idea of all the flashy tools takes away from where the real focus should be — building relationships with the right people.
A compelling story for your business may not need to be shouted from the rooftop, but rather shared in your living room during an intimate cocktail reception with your top sales prospects.
All too often, we meet folks who think to “get out there” they need to be on every cool new platform, so they hire a firm to get them set up and then six months later, those very platforms sit vacant — devoid of content or conversation. It’s a lot of work to build up a loyal following on many platforms — and it’s a requirement before even attempting to get “celebrity-level” results.
What Your Business Should Do
The alternatives are:
- Go where your prospects are (PR and media relations)
- Begin a strategy that brings them to you (inbound marketing)
Or, you can do both.
If you sell machinery parts to the automotive industry or provide a very specialized consulting service to owners of manufacturing companies, your potential customers are likely reading industry publications and business-focused weekly newspapers. They may be reading them online. But that’s what they’re reading. Or, they might even participate in group discussions on LinkedIn. It’s highly unlikely they are spending a chunk of their day following hashtags on Twitter.
Focus your public relations efforts on building relationships with reporters and editors who write about what you do or the industry you sell to. Go to networking events. Don’t oversell — just listen and be helpful. You want those influencers to know you’re there, but not because you’ve come in shouting your company name to everyone in the room.
Turn your marketing efforts inside out. Instead of blasting out your messages to everyone, create compelling content and a reason for the right people to find you. In our industry, this is called Inbound Marketing. You can download our whitepaper, Inbound Marketing 101to learn more.
As you consider the best public relations and marketing strategy for your business, trust your gut — not what a hip, consumer-focused ad agency executive tells you is the latest and greatest. Sometimes keeping things simple is best. Remember, you can’t go wrong if you go where your prospects are (the key is your prospects, not where the masses are) or if you build a solid strategy that will bring leads to you using inbound marketing.
We’d love to hear your marketing challenges to see if we can help you develop a customized strategy that connects you to the folks who matter for your business.
Hollie Geitner is Vice President, Client Services at WordWrite Communications. You can get in touch with her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @JustHollieG.