Guest Post by You Mon Tsang, SVP of Products, Vocus
People are starting to think in public, and that’s excellent news for businesses.
We now use social media to comment upon a lot of things that we used to keep to ourselves or just share with friends. This is a huge opportunity for any business that can recognize ‘buying signals’ – public thoughts on social media that indicate intent to buy a product or service.
Many publicly-shared thoughts – like “Crap, I lost my bike” or “Need my next great pair of sunglasses” – are actually, when you think about it, buying signals. That person needs to replace the bike. They want a new pair of sunglasses. For businesses that can spot them, social media buying signals are leads.
If you think about the whole buying cycle, there are several different stages, and the same goes for buying signals. Sometimes early on, a person is asking for advice, asking “Does anyone know?” and “Can anyone recommend?” These signals tend to be earlier in the buying cycle. Then, when a person is ready to buy, they’re asking “Where can I buy something like this?” or “Does anyone know a good place for me to…”
What makes buying signals very interesting right now is that, with technology, a business can have them monitored, filtered for relevance and delivered as real-time leads.
Our newly enhanced Vocus Marketing Suite’s Buying Signals feature continuously scans millions and millions of tweets to uncover folks who are in the market for a business’s product or service. It turns social media into a lead stream.
This is something that’s never been possible before. Before social media, the buyer had to find you. And even with social media, it is very, very difficult. There are millions of tweets every minute and no human can be asked to sift through all of them. You could try to find buying signals yourself, but you’ll probably need someone dedicated to it: a social media expert.
What the technology does is make it easy for you to do this very tough, time-consuming marketing task. After a few minutes of setting up, our suite’s Buying Signals feature will deliver leads every day and help you interact with these folks who want to buy your product or service.
Even if they don’t know anything about your business, you can now reach out to them because they have made a public statement about wanting or needing something you provide. You don’t have to try to sell right there; you can engage and you can help. Make them a prospect first. They can turn into a customer later. Like most marketing, you have to choose when to sell and when you engage.
Marketing no longer has to be a waiting game: putting out an ad and hoping someone saw it, or hoping that one of your customers told their friends and then referred them back to you. When you can spot buying signals, you can bypass all that and go straight to folks who have shown intent to buy.
This has never been available before in marketing, and it will help redefine what marketing success looks like. Ten years ago I would have said marketing success was about building your brand, extending your reach, getting share of mind. Now, marketing is becoming more tangible; it’s closer to the sale. Marketing is now about finding customers, bringing them in, and retaining them, and the ability to spot buying signals will become a core component of success.