Infocusselling’s Blog

July 3, 2009

Social Media–Social or Media?

Everyone has an opinion on social media today. Some feel it is the future of all communication and sales, while others feel it is a fad that is already passing. My concern as a sales trainer and coach is whether your social media strategy is working for you. How do you know?

Here is one post from someone I respect as a marketer. She was upset regarding a recent Twitter experience. Here’s the one sentence summary: auto responders are fake and do not help you build relationship and can work against you. Read the details yourself, and I bet you will agree. Karen’s new non-friend.

Other marketing experts claim that social media works for B2C markets but not B2B markets. One problem with social media on B2B markets is whether your target market is watching the social media mediums you are using. Here’s a thought from a marketing expert on why and how social media is not all it hypes itself as in B2B markets.

Here is someone who talks about how not to use Twitter, which is what I see way too often–blatant repetitive advertising, that, wow, look at that, repeats every so many days because it is being done by a program and not a person. Gee, is that a relationship?

I don’t have hard stats but from regular discussions, I think I personally know one person who is making a reasonable ROI on his or her social media time. One. And I’m not 100% positive that person is really profitable. I don’t mean “yeah, I’ve made some money from social media” as in you’ve sold a project or two. I mean you took your net margin (that would be sales less direct expenses) and took the hours you have invested in social media, totaled them all up, and then divided your net margin by your hours invested and found out that your net hourly rate for your social media time was as good or better than your other marketing efforts. Just for fun, try it out and see how much you make per hour.

I’m not saying social media is dead or even dying. I’m just glad more people are starting to question if it fits and how to get a measurable return out of it for the majority of people on it. As more true success stories filter out from the masses still looking, I’ll be the first to post them here.

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13 Comments »

  1. Jeff – You raise a couple of good points. I’d like to raise a couple points.

    1. You don’t have to do social media yourself. One of the biggest mistakes people make with it is doing work that can be delegated for $cheap. Why write your own blog if you are worth $200/hour? I know at least one good company that can write better blog posts than most business people can for less than $50 each. $400 of your time, or pay $50, what’s a better decision on margin? Work for 15 minutes and have someone else do the work. Why spend two hours per day on Twitter when there are services that will not do it as well as you, but will do it well enough (and yes, without the autoresponder).
    2. Social media works just fine for B2B, but you can’t use Facebook and expect results, or Twitter and expect to get in the door at IBM. It’s all about location.
    3. For a solo sales person, social media is a rough way to generate leads. It takes a lot of time, and when the floodgates pop, you’ll get about 150 more than you can handle in a day.
    4. Spam doesn’t work. As Karen pointed out. Social networking isn’t too far off what you do when you network in person.

    Comment by Mike Seidle — July 9, 2009 @ 10:14 am

  2. Absolutely! I agree and that is why the strategy is important. Strategy involves a recognition of strengths and, shall we say, non-strengths. If you are not a great writer (I still think blogs should demonstrate good writing) and/or you are highly compensated, then you would be well served to delegate or outsource. We outsource payroll, office cleaning, and a list of other necessary business functions, and blogging or social media is a business function. Knowing your goals for social media and then having a plan to get there–assuming the plan is valid–is the only way to have success today. Thanks for a great comment.

    Comment by infocusselling — July 9, 2009 @ 11:55 am

  3. If you are using social networking as a tool for “Hunting” you will be avoided by people, but if you are using it as a way of “Farming” those relationships you already have, or want to have, it is an excellent tool for both B2B or B2C. I have landed one of my Biggest Speaking contracts because of a relationship I built online.

    Just like Face to Face networking, if all you are doing is prospecting or HUNTING after awhile everyone starts to avoid you. It is important to plant the seeds of relationship before Pouncing on the Prey.

    Comment by Hazel Walker — July 10, 2009 @ 11:46 am

  4. Hazel,
    Thanks for the comment.
    I agree…too many people seem to be using it as an uninvited bull horn instead of a requested surgical knife. I read a ton of stuff I get from people I know or have met on line because, well, I know them. When they give me useful information, I pay attention. When they don’t, that delete button keeps getting worn down.
    Jeff

    Comment by infocusselling — July 10, 2009 @ 11:54 am

  5. Jeff,

    I’ve been using social media as a way to become a thought leader and “expert” in my field, and it’s paid off. I’m recognized for my humor writing (personal) and my blogging (professional). Social media has been just one tool in my toolbox as a way to do this, but it’s definitely been a boon.

    I recognize that social media is NOT the be all, end all for marketing and networking. In fact, I think most of the true professionals recognize that. We understand that its just another channel. It’s the people who haven’t quite grasped that who are putting all their eggs into one basket.

    Having said that, I have made some amazing contacts with people because of networks like SmallerIndiana.com and Twitter (through “tweetups”). But I have made some excellent contacts because of Rainmakers and the Fishers Chamber by meeting those people face-to-face.

    Of course, what has been the best is when I can bolster the Rainmakers/Chamber relationships through Twitter and Smaller Indiana. I think those relationships are the strongest and most beneficial, both on a personal and professional level.

    Comment by Erik Deckers — July 10, 2009 @ 11:57 am

  6. Erik,
    Thanks for posting. I like your multi-pronged approach because not every person you communicate with will respond the same way. Core marketing hasn’t changed–people need multiple touches to make a decision and they need ongoing touches to remain a customer and/or supporter.

    I’ve done the same thing of subject matter expert commenting, mostly on LinkedIn, but the concept is the same. It works, not overnight, but over time. Glad it is going well for you.
    Jeff Bowe

    Comment by infocusselling — July 10, 2009 @ 12:05 pm

  7. Jeff,

    It’s interesting – I was just conversing on this very subject at a networking meeting this morning. Many folks are puzzled by social media and are not sure how to use it to their advantage.

    Just as my blogging and ghost blogging through Say It For You increases geographic “reach”, putting a message out to those who are looking for just that kind of information, social media can do the same thing for staying in touch with those whom one “knows”, (even if the acquaintance is superficial for now.

    My own pet theory about social media (and about Twitter in particular)is that business and personal use need to be separated – perhaps even having a “Twitter Personal” and a “Twitter Business” system. My time is valuable to me during my working day. I do not feel it adds sufficient value to my day when a respected business colleague tweets “It’s such a nice day, I’m going for a walk.”, for me to take up my time reading that. (Would you announce to an entire roomful of people, “I think I’ll go powder my nose now”?) Respecting me means you had better think of a reason I would care about the information you’re transmitting before “clogging up my brainspace – or my blogospace”.

    The new social media technology is wonderful; it’s people using it irresponsibly who occasionally render it bothersome.

    Permission-based contact is the hallmark of social media (I CHOSE to sign onto – and log onto – Twitter or LinkedIn, but as with any privilege, social media messaging must be used wisely and with discretioin.

    Comment by Rhoda Israelov — July 10, 2009 @ 2:23 pm

  8. Rhoda,
    I really like the idea of professional and personal identities, as long as they don’t cause a problem in a job interview situation from all of those stories of personal postings leading to rescinded offers and terminations.

    I also think being puzzled is ok as long as they go the next step and look for answers from people who can provide one of the many right answers. Better to be puzzled and inquisitive than confused and an ostrich.

    I wonder what we will all think of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter in 10 years…and what the 16 year olds 10 years from now will think of the same three looking back.

    Comment by infocusselling — July 10, 2009 @ 3:48 pm

  9. Jeff-

    It depends on your business and what social media you choose whether it is a good marketing outlet for you. I recently created a Facebook page when I received a “friend” request from a scopist acquaintance. Since then, I have added a few folks with whom I have networked or had business contact. However, I keep receiving friend requests from people I don’t know. We may have a mutual friend, but I don’t know that person. Do I want to be associated with them? I haven’t a clue. Have I accepted them as a friend? Not yet. Will I? Probably not, unless we meet and I have a chance to talk to them face-to-face.

    Blogs, on the other hand, can be a very useful tool in establishing yourself as an expert in your business or field. Blogs also give you a much better platform to reach the people you really want or need to be in front of. In addition to expressing your in-depth knowledge, using key words within the text will vastly increase the hits to your Web site. Google’s little bots are extremely hungry for new, fresh content, so why not feed them often? In return, these helpful little critters will bring people straight to you. Such a deal!

    For videos on your Web site or You Tube, consider having the audio transcribed to be attached with it. I know there can be keywords associated with video, but the full text gives those same Googlebots more of a chance to latch on where they don’t find video only.

    So properly executed, as any marketing strategy, social media can be useful. Improperly used, Tweets and Twitters can suck your time away before you know it.

    Comment by K.C. Corbin — July 10, 2009 @ 4:47 pm

  10. K.C.,
    Good thought on transcribing the video, first time I have heard that. For those of us in sales training, a new thought a day keeps us on the edge.

    Having a strategy for blogging is part of sales strategy or marketing strategy–without a cohesive plan, you’re just wasting time and money.

    Comment by infocusselling — July 10, 2009 @ 5:33 pm

  11. K.C.,
    I missed another points–“friends” you don’t know. I think there is a rage out there to get huge numbers of followers and friends on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Smaller Indiana and the like. But are these people friends? Friends used to be described as those who would come to your rescue at 3AM–physically and financially. Are we as a society losing sight or definition of what a friend and what a relationship really is? I hope not, but we’ll have to wait 20 years to find out.

    Comment by infocusselling — July 10, 2009 @ 5:39 pm

  12. That is why “friends” seem to always be in quotes when talking in terms of most social media. If the goal is to truly develop a network of like-minded professionals who want to help you reach your goals, and you likewise want to help them reach theirs, I believe it diminishes your credibility and wastes your time to just rack up numbers. It is also very good to remember that once anything is done in Cyberspace, getting rid of it completely is darned near impossible.

    I will save my social commentary for another time and venue, but I’m afraid you are right. Many have lost the concept of true friendship. Not sure we need to wait 20 years . . .

    Comment by K.C. Corbin — July 10, 2009 @ 6:35 pm

  13. K.C.,

    Keep in mind — Facebook notwithstanding — that sometimes contacts you make online can become actual friends. Rather than waiting for a face-to-face meeting first, check the person out, see if they could be valuable to your business or personal growth, and arrange a real meeting with them. Use online networking to improve real-life networking and see what happens.

    Comment by Erik Deckers — July 11, 2009 @ 12:06 pm


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