The keyword in the title is “Your”. This seems like a no-brainer but let me explain the depth of this word in social media. At this point, most enterprises have a social media strategy, as they should. And by strategy, let’s assume all the major components are covered -- robust profiles, solid networks, content management, etc. (check out my thoughts on what a social media strategy should entail)
But once these programs are launched, are you really getting the most out of it? Is it really helping you reach prospects?
The answer – depends.
It depends on how the organization is consistently maintaining the integrity of YOU.
Social media programs are very fickle, but worth it if it’s done right. Unfortunately, a lot of companies miss the concept, especially when social is used to sell a service. Social selling is the practice of developing relationships as part of the sales process, through social networking online and offline.
So here’s the problem – organizations are designing ‘robotic’ programs to keep it simple for their salespeople. And although that sounds important to get people to leverage the platforms, it just doesn’t produce results. The key to a successful social plan that translates to qualified leads depends on how real YOU are.
Like many other things in large enterprises, social media is just a project. And projects start and end. They are developed to cater to the masses, and therefore, are typically watered down. Most social programs feel ‘boxed’, with the ‘one size fits all’ model that tends to ‘think and do’ on behalf of their salespeople. It gives off the ‘you don’t have to invest too much time into this…just follow this checklist and you’ll be fine’ message. And in defense of the firm, because it has to overcome certain hurdles (learning curves, resource constraints, compliance, etc), this is completely acceptable if it’s just the beginning, but it cannot become the entire program.
Why? Well, this clearly isn’t how relationships are built and as you can imagine, it leads to the least amount of engagement from all parties. I’m a true believer in the importance of authenticity on social…outsourcing certain activities can be very transparent to your audience and will not get you in front of the right leads. So fight the urge to take the easy way out even though it will save you time, and encourage your organizations to craft their social strategies with higher accountability, while emphasizing the need to make it an on-going part of the business.
Here are 3 basic principles to keep in mind:
1. Social media programs must have business goals. Keep the program honest and measure the progress against the objectives routinely. Organizations should be constantly learning from their social tactics. Because social media is primarily dependent on what’s happening in the real world, trends are indefinitely changing. So what worked last month may not work this month…you can’t just ‘set it and forget it’.
2. If the organization sells a product or service, it should be letting their salespeople lead. Most businesses put the corporate brand in the center instead of their people. There has to be a balance between the two in order to come across as one voice and one brand to potential prospects/clients.
Remember: A person’s thoughts will always be more memorable than an entity’s perspective. However, the entity has the ability to make an individual 10x more influential by shining the spotlight on them.
3. Social Selling is a practice, not an algorithm. Once the integrity of YOU is restored, your honest, human conversations transform into opportunities when trust meets a need.
So are you getting the most out of social media? If there is a lively pulse behind the screen, yes!