How I Hack A Conference With #SocialSelling by Peter Strid

You can’t attend every industry conference.  But you can make it seem like you are there…you can join digitally…you might even find a new deal like I have!

There was a recent industry conference, let’s call it “SocialSlam15!” being held in California an exclusive resort.  A great opportunity for me to rub elbows with my peers and prospect audience of marketing and sales leaders interested in Social Selling!  I had one problem; for those who know me, I broke my leg a few months ago and had a date with an orthopedic surgeon I couldn’t miss, so I couldn’t physically attend.  I decided to do the next best thing…Hack it to make people think I was there!  (I also saved thousands $ in airfare, hotel 😉

My #SocialSelling Conference Hack was accomplished primarily using Twitter, LinkedIn, Email, Text Messaging and, yes, Periscope.  My outcomes were better than anticipated.  I attracted a bunch of new Twitter Followers and unsolicited LinkedIn Connections.  I had 4 existing clients and 3 net new prospects literally reach out to me wanting to get together with me while I was “at the event” because they thought I was sitting in the resort with them!

Evidence:

I even received an unsolicited job offer from an attendee of “SocialSlam15!” (Thanks but no thanks).  The best part of it all;  I anticipate closing at least one Net New Deal because of my activity there!

Here are a few examples of the type of activity during the “SocialSlam!” Event that made my presence known:

1) I start with a post on LinkedIn…a simple screen capture of a picture of the key note speaker that I borrowed from another attendee’s tweet.  Here’s a simple example of a conference being held right now in NYC called “Uncubed”.  Looks like I’m sitting in the front row.  Some people on my team even thought I was in NYC today after seeing this post!  

2) I tweet the same content to take advantage of the many attendees referencing the #hashtag throughout the event.  I also “tagged” the Uncubed team.  I’m starting to get noticed!  And I could continue with more tweets and posts… 

With the rest of this post I’ll describe how I can “attend digitally” without physically being present and while saving $5000 and 4 days away from my office. I am engaging with peers and prospects not in an attempt to trick them, but an important observation is that when people gather physically at a conference, they also gather digitally. This creates an opportunity to engage – whether you are there physically or virtually.  I’ll use an awesome upcoming Conference that I’d like to attend as an example: Selling Power Magazine’s “Sales 2.0” Event in Philadelphia!

Make Yourself Known!

1) Your best results will come if you get a head start.  Before the kick off of the conference you are targeting, do some research. Review the website of the conference for basic details…Location, Timing, Agenda, Speakers, etc…

2) Find the twitter #hashtags associated with the event.  Usually the conference website will have point you to their twitter handle where you might find some info.  In the case of this upcoming Selling Power “Sales 2.0” conference the #hashtag is: #s20c.    3) Follow as many of the speakers and conference affiliates on Twitter that you can find…this will help you get them to notice you and set you up for tweeting about them when they are on stage. 4) Make your excitement and anticipated presence known by tweeting that you will be there!  A few tips…add an image such as the logo of the conference, use the event #hashtag, tag the speakers (you can tag up to 10 people). Every time someone interacts with the tweet they will be notified!  

5) Along with that tweet, make yourself known on LinkedIn as well.  Here I have re-purposed that tweet on LinkedIn by uploading a photo…again making sure to tag the key note speakers.

6) Be sure to retweet, “like” and engage with some of the current activity from the speakers…especially if they are already tweeting about the event!  Also pay close attention to the #hashtag in the days leading up to the event…you might find something to take advantage of.

I’ve outlined the basics of the beginning of my activity.  Leading up to the show I will continue to follow the #hashtag and “like” and retweet select posts.  It’s important to be creative and have some fun with it.  Some events post updates to their blog or website, some even live broadcast.  Use these to your advantage…listen and pull sound bites that you can retweet and credit the speaker.  Speakers love being on stage and they LOVE when people boost their egos with tweets of their presentation content.  People will retweet you and you will be on your way to being there. (Almost!)

This strategy can be incredibly fruitful.  I have literally closed deals because of this type of behavior.  For more detail on how I proceed on “gameday”, reach out to me. I have a lot more tricks…too many to list here; things like how to use Periscope for live action or even YouTube. If you’d like me to teach you or your sales team how to do this in your industry, please reach out to me…I’d love to help.

Have any hacks of your own that are similar…please share them below!

If you found this post useful…send it to your friends.  Nothing better than a nice share to your followers!  Thanks!

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The 7 Success Factors of Social Business Strategy

In a comprehensive social business research study, Altimeter Group uncovered some pretty surprising realities about the state of social media strategy within enterprise organizations…

Only 34% of businesses feel that their social strategy is connected to business outcomes.

Just 28% of companies we studied feel that they have a holistic approach to social media, where lines of business and business functions work together under a common vision.

A mere 12% are confident they have a plan that looks beyond the next year.

Only half said that top executives were “informed, engaged and aligned with their companies’ social strategy.”

The full article can be ready here:

via The 7 Success Factors of Social Business Strategy | LinkedIn.

Social Selling – The Evolution of Sales

What is social selling?

Social Selling is use of social media platforms to listen, relate, engage and identify opportunities for engagement at the right time.

A social seller is someone who demonstrates the ability to blend digital technology, innovative web and social media to increase reach, depth, leads and expedite the sales cycle.

Why is Social Selling important?
The average company can access twenty times more information about you and your competition than they could five years ago. Sales people today are at a huge disadvantage, if the statistics are right, customers are not interested in picking up the phone until after they have scoped solutions. How can the salesperson reach them early and then keep their attention.

Isn’t this Social Marketing?
Social Media Marketing is the use of social networks to create awareness and broadcast a brand message. Social Selling leverages  social networks to build relationships. A marketing team will handle a brand account versus a salesperson will handle a personal individual account to create engagement.

Social Selling vs Traditional Selling
The good news is that Social Selling is not a break from traditional selling practices. In fact the use of ABC (Always Be Closing) is now ABC (Always Be Connecting). Social Sellers do not and should not abandon email, phone or face to face methods. In fact a deliberate use of social media will make these traditional methods far more productive. The customer becomes a warm contact, so if anything Social Selling will eliminate the wasteful parts of a sales process such as cold calling.

I said earlier that the sales people of today are at a disadvantage, so let me quickly mention the Social Buyer.
The huge amount of online data gives the seller an opportunity to create value for the buyers. Buyers may well be incredibly informed but they are desperate to shorten their purchasing cycles. The more data they have to process and the more stake holders they must consult, the longer it takes for them to make a buying decision.
If salespeople could deliver insights to buyers at the right times, they could bring purchasing times down and then everybody is happy.

The Evolution of a Salesperson
We as a species are social creatures, we always have been and that will not change. Social media has exploded into this era because of technology, the fastest adoption of technology in human history in fact. Your customers being on a social platform is just the tip of the iceberg. Smart devices are allowing us to be social 24/7. As younger generations step up the career ladder and become your customer are you ready to communicate directly into their pockets. Social Selling is an evolutionary step forward.

I will leave you with this last question:

Will the traditional 9-5 sales role be replaced with a 24/7 seller? I look forward to the conversation.

How to build a social business [Infographic]

Social business adoption is expected to increase to 57% by the year 2017. Companies will need to better incorporate social business processes into how they communicate, engage and interact with employees if they want to innovate more, grow more and be more successful overall.

How to build a Social Business

If you noticed, the ten steps listed above include many references to people and process, further emphasizing the significance of the employee experience. Your social business strategy will be only as good as how well engaged and connected your employees feel to the company.

 

Social Business matters today – and will matter even more tomorrow

Social business is just getting started. But its value is clearly emerging for innovation, operations, leadership and marketing. So what are companies really doing?

In 2012 MIT Sloane Management conducted a survey to really investigate that question. Below you will find my highlights and takeaways from this study.

Even though social technologies have been around for some years now. The sentiment from the report is that many companies are still holding back on the adoption of social tools. Of those surveyed, 52% said that it was important or somewhat important to them today. Whilst 86% believe that it will be important or somewhat important in three years.
Social business is primarily viewed as a tool for external facing activities with marketing departments, sales and customer services being the main driving force with customer relationship management being at the forefront.
The second important use of social software was to drive innovation and competitive differentiation. So whilst the majority see the importance over the coming years most are viewing social tools as external activity, with a smaller group understanding its potential for internal innovation and collaboration.

The Barriers.
The report highlights the biggest barrier is leadership vision. However it is noted that CEOs are twice as likely to drive strategic adoption of social tools than the CIO and CFO.
Lack of understanding on how to measure the effectiveness of social tools is also cited as an inhibitor of adoption with many not measuring at all. Social business depends on leadership, metrics may not be critical when experimenting with social software, but as it becomes more important to organisations, having metrics in place can help managers assess, encourage and reward related behaviours. Helping shift their cultures to be more compatible with social business. CEOs recognise that leadership can be improved with social business, may be more than other members of the C-Suite.

The Challenge
Gartner estimates that the failure rate for social business projects is 70%. That is astonishingly high. Factors that could be responsible include:
– Not using the software deployed to solve a true business problem
– Integration into daily work flow
– Lack of senior management support
– Thinking email is a collaborative tool
– The use of “Social” with the word “Business” vs “Social Media”
– Not realising we are Human. (The three basic psychological factors : The need to connect, feel competent and the need to be autonomous in one’s actions)

The report asked “Why do you use social business at work?” The top three answers being : To network, effectiveness and to voice opinions.
Motivations to participate in social business activities are thus far from superficial and even go beyond just our social nature. They can help fulfil basic psychological needs.

The report also noted that larger organisations and smaller organisations appreciate the value of social business more than that of mid size organisations. With the smaller companies saying they could increase their voice and connect with customers to really make themselves seem bigger than they really are.

The Plan
A clear vision of how social media supports the business strategy was top facilitator in the report. So the first step in your social business journey is to create and communicate the broader social strategy for your organisation. What business challenges are to be solved with  social business activities? What is the Strategy to make this happen? What technology best supports these objectives? What kinds of social networks will support this strategy? Most important is to realise that your social business journey will take time, require and drive changes to your business processes. Defining organisational structure an how you interact with customers and employees.

Take the time to access where you are today, identify problems that are currently being addressed with social tools. Consider if the correct resources are being directed towards the right problems. If you are heavily regulated make sure you have governance process in place to address these. Identify the people or roles that will focus on social business and how these individuals will coordinate with each other. Use listening tools to collect information about your brand, customer service and competition. This area hols tremendous potential for organisations.

Ensuring that your business has enough resources is fundamental. Have you chosen to assign the tasks to an individual or will it be on top of someone’s day job. Will you have incentives in place, targeting and rewarding the correct people. Have you resources in place for communication, content creation, community management and training.

Whilst the report makes it clear that many companies are not measuring and whilst in experimentation mode this may not be so important. Measurement will however need to be conducted especially when redefining practices and processes, measuring adoption thought will be misleading so not advised. For people, often what matters most is whether the tools helps them to do their jobs more effectively.

 

Given that social business is just getting started you may be tempted to wait. But that approach may delay achieving its potential in your organisation, to the detriment of your innovation, leadership, operations and marketing.

10 Tips for Navigating Your Org with Connections

Ten Tips for Navigating Your Organization Through a Successful IBM Connections Pilot

 Image Tim Royle, Executive Director, ISW

Proof of concept, pilot, or evaluation, call it what you may, but most organizations nowadays are sticking their toe in the water before “going social”.

For many, it’s a big move. Transforming isolated data silos into a consolidated social platform that delivers outstanding collaboration and creativity benefits yet also challenges traditional reporting hierarchies may intimidate some. So, running a pilot is judicious.

Like most software implementations, social software is often piloted in a proof of concept before roll-out. This gives management and users confidence in the outcome as a viable solution, allows time for user acceptance testing and prevents any “issues” being rolled out to a broader audience. The solution can be fine-tuned post pilot and rolled out. Because social software is new, unique challenges apply and flexibility is essential.

Experience is sage in this new era of social business; learning from the mistakes and successes of early adopters will enhance your chances of success. Here are some points of consideration, learned from the real, world which may help you with your pilot.

via 10 Tips for Navigating Your Org with IBM Connections – IBM Social Business Insights Blog.

8. Create a social, sharing culture

 Some organizations are more “open” in their internal communications and collaboration than others. Consider the simple scale below and plot where you think your organization sits:

 

image 

Some individuals are more open than others; a salesperson, for example, may choose not to share information because they see it as their intellectual property, their asset. A subject matter expert may be reluctant to share their knowledge because if they do so they feel less indispensable. The introduction of social software offers a unique opportunity to challenge “closed” environments and the potential to deliver fantastic bottom line benefits through the sharing of knowledge. Try to create a culture of sharing rather than hiding.

They asked, “Do you facebook?” I said no

They asked, “Do you Facebook?” I said no, (ok I fibbed, I am on it, I use it to stalk my wife, it saves having a conversation later) joke hunny!

They said this would be an eye opening webinar, that Facebook was a sales tool in disguise, that sales people could build better relationships, reach new clients and drive sales. I was intrigued because I and I will be honest, dislike Facebook. But as always, I was receptive to being converted, so I allocated an hour of my time to revisit and maybe discover this potential.

I wasn’t converted and for 24 hours I struggled to understand why. I understood the privacy settings, the creation of groups and how you can feed different messages to different parts of your network, I get that, much like Google+.

My conclusion was that it must be more than just one thing, so here are three.

1) The webinar was run by a marketer, (nothing wrong with that of course.) But the conversation revolved around demonstrations of what brands were doing. Not what or how an individual sales person could benefit.

2) I have yet to hear someone in a B2B environment say “hello C’suite, will you be my friend on Facebook?”. Even rephrasing it to “Join my network on Facebook” doesn’t sound right.

3) With other platforms that I use for business, engagement and relationship building cant I just have one place that is mine where I can relax, chill out and if I feel the need to just talk rubbish I can. Yes I know your can separate by using the groups, but it just means they’re in the room next door.

So here’s my question? Can I convince you, the sales person, that Facebook is not the place for connecting with your clients?

Twitter – Business Networking on Steroids!

(also written from a Brand perspective just to be fair)

Seventy nine percent of Twitter followers (versus 60 percent of Facebook fans) are more likely to recommend brands since becoming a fan or follower.
Sixty seven percent of Twitter followers (versus 51 percent of Facebook fans) are more likely to buy the brands they follow.
Facebook’s shared links average three clicks, while Twitter’s tweets generate nineteen clicks on average

Want more? Ok!

Twitter users generated double the median monthly leads of non-Twitter users.
Consumers active on Twitter are three times more likely to affect a brand’s online reputation through syndicated Tweets, blog posts, articles and product reviews.
Twenty percent of consumers indicate they have followed a brand on Twitter in order to interact with the company – more than e-mail subscribers or Facebook fans.

If that doesn’t sway you, then there is always LinkedIn – where it does feel right to say “Join my network of business professionals”

See my LinkedIn posts

Statistic credits to
http://www.businessinsider.com/twitter-destroys-facebook-2010-12
http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1007639
http://www.exacttarget.com/

Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies

The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologie:

There’s plenty of research and comment around topics such as finding new customers, customer satisfaction, collaboration, building value, individual benefits from embracing Social technologies…    This report demonstrates that IBM is ahead of the curve for adoption (own use) and for solutions for firms embracing (for their use).

Key findings include :

The speed and scale of adoption of social technologies by consumers has exceeded that of previous technologies.
– Several distinct properties of social technologies make them uniquely powerful enablers of value creation. The most fundamental is to endow social interactions with the speed, scale, and economics of the Internet.
– Based on in-depth analysis of usage in sectors that represent almost 20 percent of global industry sales, we identify ten ways in which social technologies can create value across the value chain.
– Companies that rely heavily on consumer insights for product development and marketing purposes have an opportunity to create value by engaging with consumers on social media and monitoring social media conversations to generate consumer insights and market intelligence.
– Individuals and the communities they form will derive much of the benefits of social technologies.
– Giving social interactions Internet scale, speed, and economics carries risks. These risks include identity theft, loss of intellectual property, violations of privacy, abuse, and damage to reputations. Social technologies also can disrupt traditional business models.
– The benefits of social technologies will likely outweigh the risks for most companies.

Download the full report HERE

Mgi the social economy full report mckinsey from Ben Martin Social_Ben.
If you have any questions or want to explore the benefits of being a social business, contact me.

Employee Recognition Through Gamification

The IBM Connections ecosystem gets better and better! Check out this employee recognition system. This is being rolled out to Connections customers today. Could this drive better motivation and engagement with your employees?

The Hive is social recognition program that changes how you motivate and retain employees, how your company celebrates success, and how you reinforce your corporate culture and values.

What are your thoughts?