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What happens when social media meets social purpose?

We’ve seen a shift in recent years from customer service, product information and offers being the holy grail of social to exclusive content, community and conversation being the hottest tickets in town.

This new and evolving chapter of social media reflects a need for companies to reflect a more human, caring and authentic side to what they do.

Stop selling
We all know that life in B2B is more complex than just sales, sales, sales. If you stop selling and start engaging you will find social media can carry more of a punch than first anticipated.

The problem is you can’t just point the ‘engagement gun’ at potential customers and expect great things to happen. Engagement is an art form. As much as social can be a great conduit and channel, it really is about people and insights.

While many things have changed, people still buy from people.

What has changed is that if you embrace social and open up the walls of your business so that your employees have a voice, you will find that your customers also have more people they can buy from! Everybody with an opinion, knowledge or a skill-set is a sales person just waiting to be set free.

Get to know your customer
Getting to know your customers is what matters most. And when I say ‘getting to know’ I mean above and beyond what you think of customers as buyers and more about them as human beings:

  1.  You have to find interesting people (in your organisation) with unique things to talk about that aren’t always directly linked to the product or service you sell.
  2.  You have to create unique and compelling content that makes it obvious to your prospects and customers that you really care and have a refreshing point of view.
  3.  You have to show a real commitment to the sector or category you are in and make it known that you are deeply involved in championing the issues of your customers in a credible way.
  4.  Be fast.

Purpose is the new profit
One of the great ways to engage prospects is by linking your social media activities away from pure demand generation activity and towards issues of social responsibility and social purpose.

Showing that you genuinely care is one of the most powerful brand behaviours any company can wish for. It leads to trust and builds reputation in a way that traditional product marketing can only dream of. The irony is that showing that you care can actually lead to an increase in sales as well. Everything has to be joined up.

Here’s why customer engagement and the role of social is changing:

  •  Customers want to invest their time, loyalty and money in brands that want to change the world. 
  • Companies that think less about fame and celebrity and more about impact and legacy will win hearts and minds. 
  • The future of profit is purpose. 
  • Be remarkable at what you do as transparency of everything means there is nowhere left to hide.

That’s me signing off. This is my last social media column but don’t worry, I’ll be back next month with a new column looking at the issues and challenges facing companies that are driving success by being more caring, compassionate and conscious about the way they run their business.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my ramblings.