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February 2011 Archives

February 24 2011 11:07 AM

B2B social media

Imagine the scene. The day of your big presentation has arrived. As you mount the stairs to the podium, palms sweating, stomach fluttering, you brace yourself for your big moment.

You look up into the auditorium, blinking at the stage lights, and survey the massed crowd that awaits your talk. There are thousands of them. This is bigger than you thought. In fact, there are millions. You realize you are addressing the entire industry. Every prospect is there. Every customer. Every competitor, every colleague, every industry commentator. And you have a chance to address them.

But then you notice something strange. Although you aware of the multitude in front of you, you are not sure how many are aware of you. In fact, they’re not looking at you. As you peer into the gloom, you realize that virtually every delegate is quietly tapping away at their iPhone/laptop, doubtless checking on their work emails instead of listening to you. It is then that you realize you need to engage them. It’s not enough to simply be up there on stage: you have to say something interesting or your speaking opportunity is wasted.

This may sound like the kind of thing you dream after eating too much cheese. But this is exactly what happens every time a B2B marketer creates social media content. You have a chance to stand up and speak to an 
audience of millions: but they are too busy 
playing with their iPhones to listen to you.

When you publish content - whether it is a blog, a whitepaper, a video, a case study - to the various social media channels, you have an opportunity to engage millions. Virtually every prospect you could wish to engage with has the capacity to bring your content up on their screen and read it. But the chances are they are not giving you their attention. They’re at the event: they’re just not listening.

But imagine further how you could start to engage the audience if they realized you were saying something really different:

“Did he just say 60% of all customers will leave a supplier if they don’t like the coffee?”

“Don’t know. I was checking my mail”

“He did. You should listen to this. It’s good stuff.”

[whispers to next delegate]
“Hey Jim - he’s talking about you. Stop doing that and listen.”

And so on. Whether it is whisperings in the auditorium as your audience starts to realize that you are worth listening to, or whether it is retweets, Facebook likes and bookmarks of your content as people realize it is worth reading, the same principle applies. If you want to engage with people in a world where they are so easily distracted, you have to have great content.

There are three things we can learn from this scenario:

  • Be confident: there’s no point being daunted by the millions of people who might be consuming your content. You know your subject and as long as you stick to what you know, you’ll be fine.
  • Be interesting: if you want them to look up from their screens and pay attention to what you’re saying, you have to say something different. Which means you need to work at your content and try to find an angle that no one else is doing.
  • Don’t use your mobile phone when someone’s speaking at a conference. You should know better.

Image courtesy of arabcrunch via Creative Commons licence