Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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Rethinking Social Selling, Part 2

June 3, 2014

Last week, I introduced some cautionary thinking about the use of social media in sales. Here are some specifics.

“Too many brands today see the ‘bright and shiny’ object called social media and jump right in whenever a new network launches.”

That’s a quote from Michael Brito, one of the contributors quoted in Hazardous to Your Social Media Health: 50 Previously Condoned Behaviors We No Longer Recommend, a free e-book compiled by David Sparks of Sparks Media Solutions, available here.

I have to reiterate what I said in last week’s post before I go on. I am not trashing the concept of using social media as a sales tool. But now that we have a few years under our collective belts using these sites, it’s a good time to step back and evaluate our approach. And listen to some of the voices that aren’t just trying to sell a book or a subscription or attendance at a conference.

That said, here’s more of the advice tendered in the e-book:

Stop “getting your feet wet.” “Stop doing social for the sake of doing social. If you’re pinning to Pinterest just because you’re supposed to, but aren’t getting any traction, stop it right now.”

Stop focusing on your non-existent “community.” “The only thing that matters, and arguably ever mattered, was generating good material and then using the media to get it in front of the right people. At that point, it’ll either fly or die on its own merits.”

Stop endorsing people on LinkedIn. It’s become meaningless.

Stop talking about social media. “What you’re looking to uncover is the story social media is trying to tell. For example, can conversations on Twitter predict future sales?”

Stop following everyone who follows you. Another meaningless gesture when done automatically.

Stop spreading yourself too thin. “Stop thinking your message needs to be everywhere — you can’t engage everywhere so invest in spaces where your clients/customers are, instead of spraying and praying.”

Stop collecting friends. “This giant land grab of users was actually valuable when we weren’t so overwhelmed by social messaging. Now the influx is so overwhelming that we’re reliant on filters to manage the noise.”

Stop engaging in “conversation.” “We need to be focusing on things that are more about action than conversation. Social technology has evolved in a way that enables people to do more, not just talk more.”

Stop responding to everyone. This used to be good advice. But in 2014? “That would be true if everyone deserved a response.”

Stop relying on other social media channels to build your brand. If they pull the plug on a feature, like LinkedIn Answers, there goes part of your online reputation. “Brands should now focus their efforts and resources on driving traffic to owned digital platforms, like self-hosted communities and opt-in email lists. The strategy must be to draw engaged customers and prospects from those third-party outposts back to owned digital assets.”

This post is getting long, and I don’t want to cut short the excerpts from Social Media is Bull**** that I wanted to include. Looks like this will be a three-part post.

Let me say, though, that reading this e-book filled with advice from professionals who have been in social media from the beginning – and practice what they preach — gave me permission to follow that nagging little voice in my head that questioned whether all of the gee-whiz advice online was a little overblown.

It’s time to work smarter on our social selling skills. We’ll call it Social Selling 2.0.


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