Social media as a means to make a sale reduces every effort to a transaction. A sale considered a transaction misses the point. A sale is simple, an experience, though, requires a relationship.
If your sales and marketing playbook strategy does not appreciate what the experience means, than your strategy reflects more about organization culture than about your sales targets.
A view of your company social media strategy is a view into market relevance.
A company strategy that uses social media as a sales channel reveals the end game in the opening move.
As discussed in the prior post, a view into a social media marketing strategy reflects organization culture and to often that culture is a hope to manipulate. If your company tries a manipulative message in social media then internal, employee communications can hardly present a transparent sense of community.
Your online presence opens the books to organization culture. Your company website, blog, and Facebook page all reveal insight into employee engagement strategy and trust.
The effort to dilute social media to fit the print, broadcast, or public relations model lends insight into how your culture values voice.
Step Forward, Tin Man!
Social media is less about a sales or marketing revolution debate and more about an engagement debate. A company that does not engage a market lends little confidence they engage their employees.
The transparency of social media engagement gets validated very easily with a simple Google search and look through your online presence.
Culture is the way things are done. Getting something done in a culture is understanding what the culture values and how to navigate.
Do not just look at a link to a website, look at the top links Google provides indented under the site’s homepage. Then go to some of the webpages to look for:
- Website readability – whitespace and light on the amount of text,
- Search features,
- Press Releases,
- Social Media share buttons, and
- Contact us
Return to Google and combine company name with ‘social media’ in the search to look for what Google includes for their social media sites:
Because it exists, does not mean if it achieves. A review of the above is not a checklist or a shopping list of if it is done. Both, though, provide the cursory engagement insight to a company. Though design may be subjective, function reveals priority.
Activity is Not Accomplishment
Social media is a wasted investment if the wrong numbers are valued over the right ratios. Social media is not a sales promo blitzkrieg, social media is an engagement strategy.
What is the difference between numbers and ratios? Let’s look at a premier social, engagement [my term, not his] lead, Seth Godin. Though you hear the term ‘social networking’ in the question, listen to the examples Godin uses as he answers networking in terms of sales.
Quotes I note:
- “Connecting is not about keeping score.”
- “What matters is where are the real relationships.”
- “An exchange of worthwhile ideas, connected by real things, not just a couple bits lining up.”
- “Networking is always important when it is real, and it is always a useless distraction when it is fake.”
- “What translates: are there people who I would go out of my way for and who would go out of their way for me. That’s what you need to keep track of and the way you get there is by going out of your way for them and by earning the privilege of one day having the connection be worthwhile.”
Place his comments within your social media sales strategy. Then listen again and place his comments over your organization culture.
A relationship built on a transaction is a relationship built on perceived value; sales or otherwise. A relationship built for a sale is a relationship that starts with the end game and that end game is more transparent to the mark than you realize.
An organization strategy that looks to drive their talent to an alternative or builds a culture based on buy-in is an organization driven to get something done, not to get something accomplished. Buy-in is broke, community is engagement.
Social media strategy provides proof of involvement and the real tolerance an organization has to listen to a diverse community of voices and harness the contrarian.
Sell Me, Don’t Spam Me
Social media is not a channel to pronounce your achievement. Social media is an intentional, investment towards engagement. A review of Twitter streams should not tout product releases, product announcements, and charitable donations as a majority of Tweets.
Who is interested in a steady stream about you? Your investors? Public relations? Your board? Investors buying your stock?
What about customers who look to buy something to meet their need?
A key to engagement is not to treat all like one. Just as many marketing and sales strategies begin to separate groups into segments to better understand consumer behavior, communities do not fall in on a single need. Communities are diverse with multiple motivations we need to understand.
Far more qualitative than mere market segmentation and a set numerical set of characteristics, segmentation needs deeper inquiry to identify motivations, needs, and empathy for what your company can solve. Your sale answers a question or frames an option in an alternative never fully articulated. Your sale solves their problem. Nothing more.
From a buyer perspective their purchase solves their problem, not yours.
With qualitative inquiry you turn a sales call into a goal-oriented design focus on their need. Goal-oriented design replaces market segmentation and focus groups to become the foundation for social media engagement. Externally, to your customer stakeholders and, internally, to your employee stakeholders.
If you have to sell me then you really are spamming me. If you ask me for insight then you really are engaging me. If you ask my comment without fear, you stand on transparency. Transparency relies on the ability to flip criticism into opportunity to better meet needs.
Web of Sociology
Take a look on your company website. Does the company respect the person looking for answers? Little clues can answer this, such as how easy it is to:
- Print a page on the site
- Forward or email an article
- Select a button to share or “like”
Just because you have a site does not mean you have a strategy. Just because your company has a Facebook page does not mean your company sees engagement. Social Media is 10% about the tools to use and 90% about sociology of engagement. Organization development is about sociology and growth. The overlap: strangely similar.
Those that don’t choose to engage, don’t commit to how important their customers really are in their success and take their customers for granted.
Those that don’t choose to engage, don’t commit to how important their employees really are in their success and take their employees for granted.
Throwing money against an Internet presence with social media features is one thing, but now take a look on your Intranet site. Are there features available on the Internet site, like sharing or comments, not available on your Intranet site?
That is culture.
Look further: is your Intranet just table scraps of poor layout, bad functionality, difficult navigation or search features, no discussion boards, lack of training to meet user objective?
This outwardly pleasant, inwardly inconsiderate dichotomy is real view into your organization culture.
Social Media strategy can not hide rhetoric and provides a direct view behind the curtain of control into a once-powerful Oz.
Now do not need to blame toto.
Seth Godin video sponsored by American Express OPEN Forum – American Express is doing social media right