Social Networking for Sellers, A Point of View

Everyone is talking about being social, but what does that mean to you, a seller? How can it help you? Where do you start? These and many more questions are also being asked.

Lets cut to the chase, Social Media, Social Business, Social Networking, what ever you want to call it, put simply its just another form of communication. You have been doing it for years, its just the growth in technology has just made it easier to be louder and reach a wider audience.
Some of the benefits will include; efficiency, collaboration, identification and not least, trust.

BUT these benefits will not will not happen overnight, it is a journey you will have to undertake. Some will adopt to this new way of communicating quicker than others but make no mistake we all need to be on this road.

Why? Lets look at some reasons:

Having a digital presence is one of the best ways to be found, creating your personal brand that in turn will help you become eminent in your field of expertise.

A recent study has shown that the role of the buyer (seeker of information) has changed. No longer so they pick up the telephone to you (do they know you even) and ask “is this the right thing I need”. They are looking for this information online. Eighty five percent of the buying decision has already been made before you the sales person even get involved.

We Sell or Else (#wesoe), lets face it. If you can utilise another channel to assist in growing your business then its a no brainer.

If your still wondering can social technologies really help grow your business, there are a whole raft of success stories that can be found on online. Personally, I have seen and experienced $millions of generated business

Where do you start? Firstly understand the tools. Identify which platforms you customers are on and participate in. Places like LinkedIn, Twitter, FaceBook or Google+ for instance. Start with three or four and ensure that one of your choices includes blogging.

Whats on offer?
LinkedIn – For a seller this should be the most important place to start. The team will help shape your profile from a resume style to a value proposition to a client. Help you understand how to utilise your network and what additional applications will work best for you.
Twitter – Lets call this an information portal. Are you advising your network what we do, what you do, the latest news, information that grabs your attention. Let people follow you and manage your reputation.
Blogging – This in my humble opinion is going to be paramount to building your eminence, creating digital footprints that allows you to be found when someone searches for you. Now whilst the premise for these tools is business, I do advocate the creation of personality, so if you want to talk about something non business (yet professional) do so.

Thoughts for your next steps?
Find your focal team, the ones that are early adopters are normally the best, teach teachers spread the word or ground swell. Get to grips on what to measure.
Lastly if you need advice or tips on best practice drop me a line.

Why not share some of your thoughts and questions below..

The Cost of Social Media

The Real cost of Social Media

With social media at the height of its popularity, advertisers and companies find it an easy and trendy means of expand their marketing horizons. While many companies may be fooled by the free cost to open a social media account, many fail to consider the expense that goes into running a social media campaign. Do the benefits really outweigh the costs?

How can you squander even one more day not taking advantage of the greatest shift of out generation? How dare you settle for less when the world has made it so easy for you to be remarkable?” – Seth Godin

Cost

The true cost of a social media campaign depends on the size and reach of the campaign itself. These are some factors to consider:

  • Staff costs – Once cost often overlooked is the cost of your marketer’s salary. Without a dedicated social media campaign manager you will need to work out the amount of time your other employees will spend maintaining the social media site. Community managers are also need to answer customer inquiries and to maintain a spam-free zone for your clients and customers.
  • Advertising – The biggest myth about social media is : “if you build it they will come.” Merely setting up a Facebook page or a twitter account will not guarantee any ROI. It is necessary to add your own advertising to the mix. This can include targeted adds on the platform, adding follow buttons, share buttons on your companies website or email advertisements.
  • External Fees – If your campaign is not in-house, do you out source all parts of your social media campaign? If thats is the case then you will need to figure out the breakdown in billing and how you will be charged. Since different agencies have different rates for different strategies, you’ll need to work out if this is a continuous cost and whether it affects you return value.
  • Other – While many basic tools for social media are free, more in depth tools, such as tracking, require some escalated cost. Any other technical and creative costs may also be assumed. What happens if you are highly successful? Do you have the backing and budget to expand?

Estimated Cost
Below is a breakdown of what a fallout social media campaign may cost in a year. The amounts are estimates released by Danny Brown, CEO of Bonsai Interactive.

Benefits

Considering the potential cost if a target social media campaign, are the benefits really worth the effort and money?

In a recent survey, marketing executives where asked what they felt were the main benefits of marketing through social media. Not surprisingly, only half the respondents felt that ‘low cost’ was a benefit.

So what is the economic potential of fans on Facebook. Syncapse took a look at twenty brands – here are the results:


On average, fans spent an additional $71 on products for which they are fans of, compared to those that are not fans on Facebook.

Twitter has also provided some great case studies.  Take DellOutlet, they sought to expand their brand awareness heavily through twitter. Soon after their  pages where launched thay had generated over $3m worth of business from followers who clicked on links for purchases.

Sometimes the ability of social media is the ability to create a central forum fopr new consumers. Take the case of the Old Spice brand, a new commercial was launched which generated alot of media attention. The Twitter and Facebook pages became a rallying point for these new adopters.

2700% Increase of Twitter followers – 800% Increase in Facebook followers – 300% Increase in traffice to their website

So do the benefits out weight the costs? Tell me how you get on or if you like give me call and lets chat.

FaceBook comparison with Google

Facebook IPO: Can it Beat Google?

All eyes are on FaceBook after its recent IPO, just how are they going to generate more money to please their new shareholders? In quarter one of 2012 it is reported advertising rates increased by 40% while clickthroughs fell 8%. What does this mean for the the B2C market do they need to think before investing in ads with Facebook. Do they need to come up with a new ad model?  Just consider clickthrough rates decline by about half after they have been released for a day or two.

Get Social to Get Selling

We are all in business to sell something, whether its a service or a product.

Lets look at the anatomy of a salesperson:

But buying is different and this changes everything!

Customers have too much information, but not enough fact to act upon.
These days Clients have more choice than ever before, with information available through varied and diverse channels. Buyers are no longer relying on the sales person for information. Instead 70 percent are looking for  information online before making a decision or purchase.

A recent study  “The Future of Selling” from Ogilvy, says that although sales people agree with the above, they feel that the customer is not getting the right kind of information about your products and services.

This new way of gathering information is affecting the seller in a huge way. In Ogilvy’s study, nearly 50 percent of sellers (1100 interviewed) agreed that social media helps them sell. The biggest influence was seen in China at 73 percent, Brazil 65 percent UK 33 percent and USA 27 percent.

Also the platforms used, vary from country to country:

Top performing sales people are adopting social media technologies to drive their success in sales. Using these tools they can help with personal branding, demonstrate their value faster, reduce the “time to trust” factor and best of all help (unconditionally).

It is also worth noting that sales organisations recognise that the buying process is changing faster than their organisations are responding, with many companies blocking employees from using social media. When companies do allow use, there is lack of education about how to use with many employees wishing their companies would offer more help.

Change or else.
The world is changing at an astonishing rate and as such the role of a salesperson will be completely different in five years. The link between the Marketing Department and Sales Department is becoming inextricable. Individuals, regardless of role i.e. sales, technical or operations are also becoming marketers of their personal branding. Peoples skills and expertise will be easier to locate at the touch of a button.
Questions to ask now are: “If your client is researching, are you easy to find?” “Do you provide information that will assist them and that will provide value?”
We all have information that someone is looking for, whether its in your head, on your hard drive or in your email. Get it out there, put it on YouTube, write a blog, use Twitter or collaborate from within your company, engage in conversations, be helpful, try to solve problems versus just selling your solution.

Another question to ask yourself is: Does your boss know your skills?

Things to do right now:
Check “your” brand, Google yourself.
Create content to fall in the path of the digital buyer.
Get marketing and sales on the same page.
Build your network with people you know well and others who you don’t know that well but essentially build your network.
Get social.

Image credit: Use by country, Ogilvy

If you would like any advice please feel free to contact me.