“Marketers ruin everything.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

by Hassan del CampoSocial Mediums

Sounds about right. In his talk “Being a content marketing animal” at the Online Marketing Rockstars 2015, Gary Vee asserts that marketers, in a twisted turn of irony, have essentially ruined the efficacy of marketing by marketing.

Think about how effective billboards are at selling. And when was the last time you willingly sat through a 30 second advertisement before your cat video on YouTube loaded, after you were given the option to “skip ad after 5 seconds”? The tools of the advertiser have become antiquated. As we’ve grown into a society of consumers the usual tactics used to encourage buying have become less effective and wildly predictable. As consumers, we’ve conditioned our behavior to adjust to this “Buy Society”.

TV commercials are pre-scheduled bathroom breaks. Our fingers are trained to swap at pop-up ads. And billboards are just artifacts that are rarely noticed because our heads are buried in our phones.

Experts estimate at least half or more of internet activity takes place on smartphones. I don’t have any hard evidence to support my claim, but I’d wager that much of this activity takes place via social media channels, more specifically, through direct messaging. The ways of communication (and how your customers communicate) have and are changing. Every second digital communities are erected organically from the energy of conversation. And these conversations can live in closed circles or “invitation-only” groups. Thus, when we think about reaching these communities, we need to think about how we bring value to these on-going dialogues in a genuine, non-disruptive way.

The inbox of today is not someone’s email; that territory has already been seized and abused by those before you. No, the inbox of today comes through direct messaging.

One method of “breaking through” is crafting genuine, purposeful messages directly to your ideal customer or client. People know when they are being marketed to, so it’s imperative that your pitch is light on sales and heavy on relationship-building and showing an opportunity to add value. Sincerity can go a long way.

A few months ago we wrote about our unsavory experiences dealing with bots and automated messages that flooded our Instagram comment section and DMs. It seemed as if everyone and their madre were relying on these automated services to accelerate their growth of followers or market their business and brands. Not only did we find it inefficient, but it also just didn’t fit the way we do business. In our experience, seeking out your ideal customer and reaching out to them directly proved to be much more effective at eliciting a response, putting us in contact with the “decision-maker”, and ultimately steps closer to closing the sale.

While Facebook holds title to the most registered users, we found higher response rates through Instagram. We recommend using both platforms. Like most efforts in prospecting, antiquated or not, you should expect to make more than a few attempts before getting traction either way. Many Facebook business pages aren’t actively managed and sometimes your initial breakthrough message will go unnoticed for several days or weeks. It also may be the case that your message is received by the business’ designated social media person and will simply be ignored, for obvious reasons. But remember, these aren’t solicitations. These are personal introductions offering something of value, should the stars align. 

Be personable, tell them why you singled them out specifically, and exercise brevity. Giving your pitch personality, which goes without saying, speaks volumes above the predictable, abused “copy-and-paste” sales tactics that are the crutch of so many marketers today.


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