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Social Sales and Marketing
April 08, 2011

Social Sales and Marketing

Social sales and marketing is about taking off your professional hat and putting on... well, a social one!


I recently wrote a number of articles about Social Media Marketing (Homepage -> “Social”) and wanted to share a few of the insights I gained in my research into it. I spent weeks reading books, articles, blogs, reports and pretty much anything else I could lay my hands – and mouse! - on and the conclusion I reached is that social media marketing is, indeed, powerful and it can work for you, too.

The world's largest brands are also the most engaged in social media and the use of sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn corresponds directly to financial success. Businesses of all sizes are using social media successfully to grow and there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to as well. So, here are some of my top findings in understanding this sales and marketing medium and making the most of it.

1. How it Works

Imagine a worldwide expo of 500 million people where you are offered a booth to represent your business. Would you take it? That's exactly what Facebook is, only it's a virtual expo. A lot of people think that social media marketing is all about having the maximum number of friends, followers and connections. The good news is that it is NOT (I rarely use bold and capitals together so take heed!). What your focus should be instead is networking by finding people and groups who are interested in what you are. You can set up a page for your business and then join groups and ”like”, ”follow” and ”connect” with others who are involved in the same field of expertise as you are.

2. Networking

The goal of social media marketing is to have meaningful conversations with lots of new people who you would not otherwise have had the opportunity to meet. Social media sites are basically the ultimate networking tool and through your engagements with other people, you will steadily build up a network of contacts to the point where you can develop a steady stream of traffic to your website as well as inquiries into your line of business. It is not unrealistic to work on social media sites for a few minutes a day and get plugged into hundreds and even thousands of new people who are interested in your industry over the course of a few short months. Social media is the truest manifestation of the power of the Internet to connect unlimited numbers of people instantaneously.

3. Control

A cardinal rule of social media marketing is that you cannot try and control the conversation and that you are simply a participant in a set of larger interactions. What you must avoid at all costs is using traditional sales and marketing methods of promoting your message to as many people as possible. This will not work and will in fact turn people off you. Remember the word social: would you show up at a party and start handing out business cards to everyone present? I hope not! In the same way, you must try and connect with people genuinely by having discussions and interactions without coming out with a marketing pitch at every given opportunity. You must allow social relationships to develop out of which business connections will arise naturally by themselves.

4. Adding Value

You goal in interacting with people on social media sites is to make meaningful contributions to the discussions you get engaged in. Don't just post links to your website or to articles you have written, rather, think about the community as a whole and send out information that is interesting, useful and yes, even entertaining as it relates to your industry. You are there to learn as well as teach and so don't be the person who always has to say something and is always trying to initiate conversations. Learn to go with the flow, the social flow and what you will find is that you can have fun through meaningful interactions with like-minded people and develop great business relationships as well.

5. Social Capital

Ultimately, your credibility and visibility creates trust in you as an expert in your field. If you are part of a large group and there is a conversation going on about something that you know inside-out and have tons of experience with, contribute your thoughts and help the discussion evolve. What will happen is that you will become reknown in your field of expertise and people will automatically gravitate towards you, connect with you, like your page and so on. Remember that all of this happens gradually over time and it is not like putting an ad in the paper and getting sales the next day. However, if you persist, over time you can gain a massive amount of influence as well as connect in a personal way with thousands of people whom you otherwise would not have had the opportunity to interact with.

People are already talking about your line of business – are you part of the conversation?


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