With content marketing and content production at an all time high, multiplying in number and form on a daily basis, you might be forgiven to think that by creating content, that you are engaging with your target audience. However, engaging in content marketing does not make your content engaging.
To engage with someone is to attract or occupy their interest. We are almost always interested in something that is of value to us. Value, of course, takes many different forms but I think it can be simplified down to, 'something that is of use to us' ,be that useful information, a useful product or something of value because it evokes a certain emotion.
Last week I wrote a post about not treating customers as mere transactions and fostering long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with them - social engagement is a key aspect of nurturing these relationships. This is a way of being of use to your client over and above providing them with a product or service. Accordingly, constantly trying to flog something on social media is probably the least engaging way to get in touch with someone. After two reads, the value is gone and there is nothing new there. It is no longer useful to engage with that content.
Thus, the shift from social selling to social engagement is a shift towards a longer-term mindset. You are not writing that one post to get that one sell, you are creating multiple posts to position yourself as the 'go-to' trusted adviser in that field.
It is worth saying that there are undoubtedly rewards to be had from social selling. You will coincidentally hit the right person at the right time and they will buy on the spot. This comes down to luck. However, with social engagement, you are putting interesting and useful content in front of the right people on a regular basisand they will keep coming back for more. Then, when the time is right, you will be front of mind and reaping the rewards of your long-term and forward thinking strategy.
Don't waste your time selling to the masses. Engage with the people who matter, build a relationship and become the known & trusted industry professional.
Not every social outreach is going to result in a sale, nor should it. As you become more immersed in the “social stream,” you’ll find it has more to do with contributing and, as a result, being recognized as knowledgeable and credible. Credibility is synonymous with “trust” in the B2B world, and for all that has changed, one thing hasn’t: lack of trust will kill more deals than lack of money, urgency, and need combined. And high levels of credibility and visibility will increase your lead flow, brand awareness, and win rates. Social selling only works if you’re actually social, not just selling something.