Friday, August 24, 2012

Utilizing Social Media In Sales - Part III

At the Aug. 8 Erie Sales Club workshop, the group discussed Social Media In Sales. This is the third and final article in a series highlighting that discussion.

What actions have worked best for you on social media?

1. Use social media to listen and learn. You don't have to be the one speaking all the time -- promoting your message and your product to everyone else. Read what others have to say with the goal of understanding what's going on with your customers, prospects, and in the industry in general. Share the thoughts of others to amplify their voice.

2. Treat social media like a cocktail party. First you have to show up. Then you should have fun. Cocktail parties involve mingling, getting to know other people, and sometimes talking business. You wouldn't walk into a cocktail party and interrupt conversations by handing out flyers about yourself. Engage in social media conversations in a similar fashion to how you would engage others at a party.

3. Diversify the information you share. The content you share should be a variety of your own thoughts, links you find interesting, pertinent quotes from others, appropriate videos, etc. If you only share quotes of others, the audience won't get to know you. If you only share your thoughts, your message could get stale.

4. Decide accurately. Before diving into social media, research which outlets are best for you and the best ways for you to market your products and services. A recommended read on this topic is "UnMarketing" by Scott Stratten. Stratten's website include gems like this: "Social media runs in real-time. Real-fast real-time. If you want to play in the pool, you better be in the pool for the entire party."

5. Whatever you do, do it well. Don't dive into Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn unless you can devote the necessary time to maintain all three. You're better off not having a Twitter account than having one with five total posts, the last one six months old. It gives the impression that you're OK neglecting things (which could include your customers). How would you feel about the Erie Sales Club if you logged onto our website only to see the last post was in November 2011? Would you think we're an active, growing club (like we are) or would you think the club was defunct?

Panelists for the workshop were Derek Van Slyke of Jameson Publishing, Jim Corley of State Farm Insurance, and Christie Mahany of Marsha Marsh Real Estate Services.

The Erie Sales Club is a joint effort of four leading local businesses: Jameson Publishing, Marsha Marsh Real Estate Services, VertMarkets, and Howland Peterson Consulting.