You're at a swinging Saturday night party when a person walks up and begins spouting corporate ad-speak at you.
You didn't come here for that! How out of context! How unwelcome. How awkward. It's as if the person has absolutely NO social skills or appreciation for why you, and all the other party goers, are there. As you excuse yourself and escape to the other side of the room, you can't help thinking that this person has absolutely ZERO awareness of why you are there. You make a mental note to avoid them for the rest of the evening.
Friends, it's the same when you establish a B2B presence on the internet.
Whether you are establishing a voice on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, or on a blogging platform, you should concern yourself with who is "in the room". You might think it's YOUR party, but every single individual involved thinks it's THEIR party (and it IS). You may DESIRE that all of your Facebook friends want to hear a litany of technical product features, but, if your followers are mainly people from your factory's neighborhood, you'd better adjust. You may have specific GOALS for your social media channels, but your audience - and your ability to adjust to it - will determine your success.
I agree that, given a relentless flow of ANY content theme, you might "evolve" your audience. In other words, if you DO continue to focus exclusively on lists of product features, you WILL end up with a focused following of individuals who value that. But you:
- will have alienated an audience segment that initially gravitated to you
- eliminated a potentially valuable audience segment and communications channel
Here are my suggestions for partying with the people in the B2B social media room:
- as I've said many times, "always begin at the end". Begin your process with a clear, written GOAL. For example, you might state that you want to increase sales by establishing a Facebook presence that connects you to buyers of your widget. Your desire is to have them comment on your products, share ideas and information with other potential buyers, and
- evaluate and react to who actually participates in your endeavor. If you find that co-suppliers to your industry are showing up to the party, consider adjusting your plan to take advantage of this development. Of course, this doesn't mean abandoning your original GOAL - but you may want to pursue it in another way. In other words, you may not want to try forcing a round peg in a square hole.
Just like in real life, social skills matter in B2B marcom.