Want to Know Who's Really Influential? We’re Going to Use Data to Find Out
I think most of us would agree that when it comes to digital communications, the promotional products industry is still trying to find its way. While marketers in other industries hone their skills when it comes to the integration of social media into their marketing and corporate communications practices, and are tweeting and Facebooking and Instagramming their way to deeper connections with customers and prospects, our industry is still lagging behind a bit. While social media is most assuredly not the silver bullet in any marketing strategy, it has made it easier than ever before to find customers and prospects, to gather insights on what they think, how they feel, what they want, what they like, what they don't—you name it. Social media channels can be a veritable treasure trove of data and, when used properly, that data can help build the kind of relationships with customers and prospects that comes from true two-way conversations. It's also the kind of relationship that is neither free nor easy, and trust needs to be built before you start asking for the order.
One way to learn more about how social media best practices work is to "follow" the best of the best, by either finding and following them on Twitter, connecting with them on LinkedIn, joining groups on LinkedIn, or perhaps even seeking them out on Facebook. Once connected, the learning process can begin. You can watch how these industry leaders work, see what they're thinking about, what kind of content they are creating and sharing, and how they engage with their respective audiences. In fact, when it comes to social media, listening, watching, and emulating is a pretty smart strategy overall. As you watch, think about how you might be able to apply some of the same tactics they use to your marketing efforts. And make sure you're not afraid to reach out to these industry thought leaders directly. After all, engagement is what this communication channel is all about!
Jeff is executive director of the Quality Certification Alliance (QCA). Prior to that, he was responsible for developing safe and compliant brand merchandise for Michelin. He has worked with brands in publishing, consumer products, broadcasting and film for over 30 years. Follow Jeff on Twitter, and QCA on Facebook.