When I talk to sales people and business owners about Social Media I get a range of responses, which generally fall into one of these categories:
- I’m not doing it, it’s a complete waste of time
- I’m too busy, I just haven’t got time
- I don’t know what to do or say
- I’m active on social networks, but not seeing a return
- It’s great, now I’ve got the hang of it
And each of the answers is valid, but each is an opportunity to get into a discussion understand the real underlying issues.
Choosing Social Media Messages does involve a learning curve
Social Media for Business, and especially for Social Selling, is certainly a radical new concept. It is a totally new tool in the sales kit-bag.
Despite being active on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ over the last 3 years I am amazed at how much I am still learning.
The tools, networks and online communities are evolving rapidly. There is an almighty competitive battle taking place between the major networks, between LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+, as they try to win the lions share of users. There are many other niche networks in play too.
In this rapidly changing environment there are new strategies and tactics that are being developed and tested, to identify what works, for each user and business.
What shall I say in my Social Media Messages?
This is still the fundamental question. Without the message to share, something to say, content to publish, then the value of Social Media is somewhat limited.
You can still listen to what others say, and search for information, but that is only a small part of the benefit available.
Oh, and there isn’t a universal answer either. Just as there isn’t a universal answer to ‘What should I say to my friends, to colleagues, to prospects and to customers?’
However, there are useful frameworks that can give you guidance, such as the following one I was shown early on, by one of the successful Twitter pioneers in Internet Marketing.
Five topics to share in Messages on Social Media
To participate and benefit from Social Media in a sales role here are five topics that it’s valuable to include in your content mix and social media messages to send, on a rough round-robin rotation.
- PERSONAL and / or professional – sharing a comment about your daily life, travel, hobbies, family, aspirations, frustrations will show you are human. Think twice before posting the banal ‘Stuck in traffic’, ‘Eating a sandwich’, but also trying to turn every event in life into a philosophical comment can be OTT.
- Industry LEADER or role model share – sharing something of high value created by an authority in your sector has three benefits. It shows you read around your subject, it strengthens your authority position, and it alerts the industry leader to your existence. Create a list, group or circle of thought leaders makes this relatively easy to maintain.
- PROMOTIONAL share – on your company website there should be blog articles, case studies, landing pages and so on that will engage prospects. Sharing these with your social media connections, in a tactful and interesting way, will help to draw visitors to your website. If done well this should build the return on investment of time.
- Make a thoughtful or CONTROVERSIAL comment about something happening in your sector. If you are able to write your own blog this is ideal, but it does take time. With Twitter and LinkedIn you are limited to 140 characters. Facebook and Google+ allows you to write more. Ending with some form of ‘What do you think?’ may get a response and start a discussion. Including specific keywords and #Hashtags is a way to increase the potential of your message being found and raising your profile, and gaining followers.
- Customer or PROSPECT share – commenting on, liking or sharing something created by a customer or target prospect has three benefits. It shows you understand the power of Social Media and so positions you as a leader, it can show you are generous and trustworthy, and it puts you on their radar and could be the start of a dialogue. There are a variety of ways to achieve this on different social networks and depending on whether you are a direct connection or not.
- In addition, do REPLY to any messages sent to you, or where you are mentioned. Then others can see you are engaged and see you in action as you respond and interact with people.
If you are active on more than one Social Network try not to post an exact copy or duplicate of content. Any people following you on both will be disenchanted. There are also subtle differences in style, purpose and etiquette between the networks. For example, #Hashtags are useful on Twitter, but excessive use in LinkedIn is likely to create a negative impression.
These are suggestions to give you an idea for the variety of messages you could be sharing, and the purpose and potential benefits. Amend the recipe depending on your palate, then try to bake into your daily routine.
Try this approach for a couple of weeks, ideally posting 5 social media messages each day, and see how you get on, and what reaction and impact it creates.
If you have any questions do drop me a message, and also do let me know how you get on and the results if you put this into action.
PS. There are tools available to help you manage this more time effectively, such as Hootsuite or other social media dashboards, message schedulers such as Buffer, query tools like Google Alerts, and social contact management apps such as Nimble.