I have been thinking about SocialCRM a lot. I wrote earlier this week about Google+ vs. LinkedIn. As I was writing that entry, I started to think about Google+ circles as a lead nurturing platform. These are pretty basic thoughts. It is a little difficult to dive deep in since Google+ doesn’t have a base as large or active as Facebook yet.
Okay lets do this.
Consumers are increasingly tapping into their networks to make purchasing decisions and communicate. You know this. So, if Google+ succeeds in establishing an active community, here is how circles can be used.
This is how SugarCRM has Opportunities set up, so I figured I would follow the same model my company already uses. Also, if you work in B2C but you have a longer sales cycle and/or you sell high price items following a B2B model might be better for you. Like I said, this is the model my company uses so create your Google+ marketing circles around your current sales model. The key to B2B working is adding CEO, CIO, COO and other decision makers to your Google+ circles and hopefully they will add your company back–just make sure they have shown interest in your products.
Like above, if you have a current model that is successful, then try out those categories as you marketing circles. If you own a small business, it might be difficult to figure out who is a suspect or a customer. If you have a CRM system, then try looking them up—by email or name. Every business should know their repeat customers. This circle can be broke down even further if you have a groups of customers that all buy the same goods. The key to B2C is paying attention to how your followers interact with the brand and what they post to know what category to put them in.
All of the B2C pictures need to be in both B2B and B2C marketing strategy circles. The B2B is more focused on lead nurturing, but what works for you is the most important.
Customers that repost, media/bloggers/voice, company partners and company rivals are important people to follow and send target messages to. Voice means anybody that has a large following or interacts more than the average person. People that are a Voice might not be a customer that reposts, (and that is the nice thing about Google+ circles, people can go in multiple groups) but they are important to getting your message out.
The key to getting this to work is to repurpose materials for each group. All sales and marketing representatives know that not all customers need the same information. You can even make tailored specials based on products groups might want or need.
If I can easily select which groups hear my message, then I can avoid over stimulating my audiences. This is something that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn lack. I am sure all of you here have blocked a user for over posting. This allows better messages and less shotgun-effect in online communities.
Once your circles are defined and set up, here are some great marketing papers on targeting audiences, social media and campaigns.(Disclaimer: HubSpot is a partner of ours, but they have some of the best marketing resources)
If you have any other ideas please share them so Google+ can be a more effective place for consumers and businesses to make decisions.