At this point in the evolution of social media, small and mid-sized companies are recognizing the value and potential that social tools like LinkedIn, Twitter,Gist, Hootsuite, Facebook, YouTube and others bring to the table. Yet, when I ask business owners about their social sales and marketing strategy, they sheepishly admit that they really don’t have one. They know they need one, but…
If you are not integrating social media into your sales and marketing plans, you are setting yourself up for decreasing sales and increased competitive pressure. Think of social media as the proverbial train that’s left the station. While you can’t hop on the train that’s already chugging on down the track, you can grab the next one coming along and catch up. The point is that the clock is ticking and you need to get moving!
I Don’t Have Time
Let’s face it, “I don’t have time.” is a pretty common excuse, because people can relate to it, right? Who can’t empathize with jam-packed schedules, lengthy to-do list’s and a cell phone that never stops ringing? “Tight schedule already and you want me to create a social sales and marketing plan, Barb?” Yes. I do. You need it. “Even if I have it, who has time for blog posting, tweets, status updates, answering questions in groups, Barb?” The answer is that you make the time. Or, you delegate the activity. We can talk about options in a future blog post.
What’s really behind the excuse?
1) These are smart business people and they know that they need to use social tools like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to drive their marketing and sales activities, but they don’t know where to start. It’s easier to avoid what feels a little overwhelming to tackle.
Hint: You begin with a strategy and tactical plan. This requires slowing down long enough to think through what you need and how you’ll use the technology. Hire help! Jumping on Twitter without having a clear idea how micro-blogging fits into your sales and marketing strategy will no doubt cause frustration. As Covey said, success begins with the end in mind. If you don’t know where you are going, I can pretty much guarantee it’ll be tough to get there.
Hint: Some of the activities you and your people spend time on today will never net you sales. That’s the truth and you know it. An honest appraisal of your calendar will no doubt reveal time wasters – people, places, events – that can be eliminated. Once those wasters are eliminated you can put that “found” time toward social sales activities instead.
3) Won’t my employees just waste time all day yakking with their friends on Facebook?
Hint: You need to establish social media usage communication policies and invest in training your people from the beginning. Most businesses already have a communication policy, so you can augment what you currently have to address social media usage. Invest in training your people to use the technology correctly and make sure that they understand the rules of netiquette in the online space. Your investment in training will minimize wasted time and pay dividends down the road.