How to tackle an audience immune to Marketing.
Who knew that James liked cooking Taco’s? I can see from his profile that he is a Financial Coordinator working for an established Financial Advisory group. As an expat (a prime demographic), I have been approached by the group on numerous occasions. I have thought about inheritance tax planning/asset protection, retirement planning. But who am I more likely to deal with? The faceless chap who cold-emails me or the James who openly shared an amazing taco recipe on beBee last week?
Over the years, we have built up an immunity to marketing. Even with the advent of content marketing, we have learned to spot content that has an agenda, no matter how well masked that agenda is. We yearn for authenticity. Once in a while a post appears on a publishing platform blatantly advertising discount loans for small businesses. We didn’t log on to be marketed. We logged on to catch up with friends, discover fascinating stories, and get up to date on the world around us. Sponsored ads are invasive to our online experience. Marketing posts are more likely to provoke a negative reaction. Fortunately we are given tools for that. One click and they are gone from our timeline, never to return.
Strike a Conversation
The new age of marketing is all about engagement. Christian did it well. I had connected with him about a month ago, and read his posts. I learnt that his son played guitar, and that he plays air guitar. His posts were genuine. At the bottom of the posts there was a mention of his position at so and so company, but we don’t really read that part. After a month, I begin to wonder what this Christian chap does. I checked his profile and followed the link to his company website. He drew me in.
Our guard is always up. Yes you can tear it down with a cleverly made video. You might just get lucky by posting an ad at just the right time when we are looking for that exact product. But mostly the more you strike, the tougher our shield will be.
The integration of Pulse onto the LinkedIn platform was designed to entice users to spend more time on the site.
User engagement remains low with the number of active users currently standing at 100 million (Statista: April 2016).In comparison: Snapchat has 200m, Twitter has 320m, Instagram has 400m, WeChat has 697m, QQ has 853m, WhatsApp has 1 billion, and Facebook a whopping 1.59 billion.
Shareholders will be on edge this Thursday, 28th April, as LinkedIn reports its first quarter results after the market close. Despite the bull market, investors look set to punish the stock once again if the numbers fail to beat expectations.
The problem with Pulse is that the majority of articles are written by people with an agenda.
I have an agenda, you may have an agenda. We may want promote our new book, drive traffic to our website, promote ourselves as experts in order to gain consultancy gigs – Whatever the agenda is, and however well we mask our agenda, this type of content will always lose out to content that is not promotional in any shape or form. On LinkedIn, the people who contribute to Pulse have an agenda – the people who engage on Pulse also have an agenda. Yes, once in a while we come across a gem of a story. But is LinkedIn providing rich content to the masses? Would LinkedIn be your daily source if you were not a marketer, entrepreneur, freelance consultant, author, recruiter? Likely not, and clearly the numbers suggest as much.
At just over a year old, the almost meteoric growth of this new social network should not surprise us. It occupies a territory at an intersection between our personal and professional lives. Here, we are not confined to keep our content tight. We are free to reach out to like-minded professional that share the same interests. We are not constrained to engage in content that portrays a standard image of ourselves to our target audience. We can build genuine relationships sparked by mutual interests in subjects that will likely get you lambasted on a “strictly professional” network.
On beBee we can still maintain an agenda. But because beBee markets itself as an Affinity Social Network, we now have a platform where we are encouraged to share other facets of our persona. This allows us to forge genuine relationships with our followers. And if it is business we are after, or a job we are seeking, or perhaps a freelance gig, we are more likely to be able to start the conversation if we have an inroad. The inroad could be a music video that someone posted of one of your absolute favorite artist, it could be an article on culture, fashion, skin care, a poem, a travel blog, health, loss, yoga - it can also be articles on entrepreneurship, recruitment, marketing, life hacking.
With their publishing platform beBee Producer not yet a month old, it is encouraging to see many contributors have embraced this newfound freedom. We are gradually stepping out of our professional personas and getting to know each other. We love to cook, we love baseball, we are concerned about Brexit, we love 80’s music. These shared interests are the foundation to building a genuine relationship. Drop your guard and show your authentic self and you will build a genuine following of people who are actually interested in what you do.
Early days indeed, but from what I am seeing, content on Producer is rich, varied, and above all, authentic.
Dean Owen is a Co-Founder of Quimojo, a revolutionary new concept in Global Campus Recruitment."
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