Week 3 – Finding your digital audience

Virtual meeting

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Welcome back to the third week for the development of your digital influencing skills. This week we will focus on finding and expanding your digital audience. A journey starting with the most obvious platform. And focus expansions efforts to where your audience already exist and is most active.

Establish connections to existing business contacts on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the most adopted platform for professional purposes. A platform where you either have been active in building a digital network. Or been passive and focused on connecting to professionals reaching out to you.

I suggest you take an active role in building your digital network here first. With the simple strategy of connecting via LinkedIn to professionals you already know. Customers who you want to start influencing. Colleagues from your own company, who can accelerate the build of your own digital network. See all connections you create here as direct targets or potential indirect routes to the people you want to target. The choice of LinkedIn is especially important as route to digital immigrants. Where LinkedIn is the only platform you can expect a high degree of your professional contacts to use.

The second choice you can make on LinkedIn is how to respond to connection requests. Accepting all you know is good digital etiquette. Expect professionals you do not yet know in person to request to connect. Where you either can connect on digital only. Or take the opportunity to set up a virtual coffee to get to know the person reaching out to you.

My LinkedIn journey started form a passive approach. Where I during the first 2-3 months added 5-10 connections daily until I felt I had penetrated the ones I knew in real life. I have been selective in accepting connection requests.  And used the principle to only accept when it is someone I know or have had a virtual coffee with.  

Define the target groups for your digital communication efforts

Customers is your primary target group. where you have an opportunity to cast a broader net than the representatives you have met face to face. Aspire to connect to members involved in the customer buying journey. As decision makers, approvers and influencers. And expect the net of influencers go outside the organizations you interact with daily. Digital networks allow you to reach deeper and further in than your shoes can carry you. A great opportunity to leverage.

The second group to consider is eco-system partners. Professionals in companies you collaborate with. Who look at your digital engagement to decide if your company is the right partner to bet on. The dynamic nature of how eco-systems develop make digital networks well suited to stay in touch. And where tapping into a colleagues’ network is an easy and low effort expansion way.

Tracking of competitors is another vital group to consider. Either following blogs and twitter accounts, or connecting on LinkedIn. Borderlines between where you compete and where you co-operate are often fuzzy. And privacy options on LinkedIn allow you to track posts under the radar. In case privacy is a sensitive subject.

Journalists and analysts are active on digital networks. Quick in publishing their thoughts and findings. And probing through their digital networks for new stories and analysis angles. As you connect with this group you take a step further out into the public domain. And in digital networks nothing is off the record.

Professionals in B2B roles are often less advanced than their B2C peers. But there are great B2B roles models you can connect with. A source of inspiration for how to develop your own digital networking game. Look for professionals from your own and other industries where you see similarities you can leverage.

The last group to consider is the “super connectors”. Professionals who have large digital networks built through frequent interactions. Active in tracking the latest and the greatest. And good at packaging their insights in asset formats proven to work in digital networks.

My journey started by connecting broad within my field of interest. Learning a from B2B role models and digital influencers and building up my digital network. Connecting with a variety of professionals who I trust today. Without ever meeting them in person nor talking to them on the phone.

Define role for your efforts, as a part of your customer discovery journeys

As an employee, you have a role to play in the digital discovery journeys your company has defined. Where a good question to ask is what your involvement should generate. Will you be most active in the early stages of influencing. When your audience is in the passive information browsing phase. Or a little bit later when they are active in looking for more specific insights. Or taking it as far as influencing purchasing decisions.

Depending on the nature of your business, the length of the digital customer engagement varies. where you need to tune the digital engagement window to where you can make biggest impact.

I started my journey before our digital discovery journeys where defined. But have shifted focus to specific steps I want to influence in our customers’ journey. With an ambition to always engage to support customers in their decision process. Taking a more teaching role in my digital networks now than when I started.

Check list for week 3

Establish connections to existing business contacts on LinkedIn

  • 100 professionals in customer companies
  • 50 digital savvy employees in your own corporation, or 5 if you work for smaller company.

Define the target groups for your digital communication efforts

  • Customers – the primary focus group. Reaching deeper than your F2F contacts.
  • Eco system partners – a target you might not penetrate through F2F contacts alone.
  • Competitors – not a target but a base for defining a digital strategy
  • Journalists and Analysts – early adopters and a digital savvy part of your audience
  • B2B role models – you can learn from
  • Super-Connectors – a great inspiration source for behaviors and valuable content

Define role for your efforts, as a part of customer discovery journeys.

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