In Greek mythology, Apollo, god of poetry and prophecy falls in love with the beautiful Cassandra.

Daughter of the king and queen of Troy, whose tangle of red hair is famed throughout the world.

He woos her by giving her the gift of seeing into the future.  So while she agreed to be his consort, she betrays him. 

A furious Apollo curses her with a kiss. He takes away her power of persuasion. 

With the curse, nobody believes the truths she speaks. 

Cassandra foresees the coming destruction of Troy. She warns that the Greek Army will sneak into the city inside a huge wooden horse

She is unable to prevent that tragedy as nobody will believe her.

The story of Cassandra is traditionally taken as a parable about what happens when valid warnings are ignored.  

So What Has This Got to do With Your Business and Leadership?

Is there a Cassandra out there in your business you are not listening to?

I think there is .... and it's social media.

Yes, I know people will tell you, "we tried social media and it didn't work" or "social media is for kids" or "my clients are not on social media" or "my sales team are all over social media" or "we will get somebody in to do our social media" ... all wrong. 

We Have Transformed In Work and Play on Social Through The Pandemic

In this report by Simon Kemp he outlines the extent that social media has become part of our lives.

Linkedin have just announced there are now 706 million people on Linkedin.  This is where your clients are, not on your website.  Why? because we want to be on social media, we don't want to be on your website.  Going to your website is an "unnatural act".

But what does this mean for your sales and marketing? 

Let's look at where we are with the internet.

Growth of the Internet

Simon Kemp research states

4.57 billion people around the world now use the internet, accounting for close to 60 percent of the world’s total population. 

The internet and Social media isn't a fad and it's not going away, in fact usage is accelerating, and now a tipping point has been reached. 

Fact: Social Media Has Reached a Tipping Point

Simon points out that there are now more people on social media than not on social media.  

Back to Simon Kemp's research 

Social media users have grown by more than 10 percent over the past year, taking the global total to 3.96 billion by the start of July 2020. 

This means that – for the first time – more than half of the world’s population now uses social media, with more people using social media than not.

In fact Simon Kemp stated recently that 4 out of 10 of the global social media users, use social media for work related purposes. 

What’s more, the pace of growth appears to have accelerated in recent months, despite the global total having already passed the halfway mark. 

In fact this research shows that we have gained ten years of digital transformation in just 3 months. 

So what are you doing about it? Hoping all will go back to the way it was before Covid_19?

The New Normal is Digital

So when Stéphanie Genin, vice president of global enterprise marketing at social media management firm Hootsuite said this, I wasn't surprised, are you?

After weeks of adapting to Zoom parties, video appointments with doctors, online schooling, social distancing and tapping into social media for virtually everything, will people be happy to go back to their old ways of working and engaging with each other?” 

she then goes on to ask. 

The answer will be no. Social media has been holding communities together and organisations will need to assess how to manage the new normal.”

Covid19 Has Changed How People Buy

Search is Changing

If you are thinking of investing in search engine optimisation (SEO)

Simon Kemp says 

But perhaps the most significant change in search behaviours involves the online platforms that people use when they want to learn more about brands and products.

GlobalWebIndex finds that social networks are playing an increasingly important role in people’s brand research behaviours, and are now second only to search engines.

However, the overall gap between search engines and social networks has been steadily closing over recent months, pointing to an ongoing shift in how people look for information about the things they want to buy.

What’s more, social networks are now the top choice amongst internet users aged 16 to 24 when it comes to brand research – even ahead of search engines – with younger women particularly likely to turn to social media for their research needs.

In this research from Salesforce quarterly Shopping Index, the number of purchases made through social media apps during the second quarter of this year (2020) was up 99% compared to the same time period last year. 

Evidently, 84% of shoppers review at least one social media site before purchasing – so what are you doing to enable your business and your employees and your sales teams and your marketing teams are where your prospects are ...... on social media.

People Buy Using Social Media

Simon Kemp says ...

With roughly 98 percent of internet users across all age groups using a search engine every month, there’s no doubt that these tools continue to play an essential role in people’s online activities.

However, the latest data highlights the fact that people are using a wider variety of tools to help inform their purchase decisions.

As a result, it’s essential that marketers think more broadly about how audiences and consumers might want to discover and learn about their brands, and in particular, how they can weave search-friendly elements into their social media activities.

As I say above, websites, were interesting 5 years ago, but things have changed and things have accelerated under Covid19 away from websites to your social presence.

Where as a B2B Business Should I Place My Bets?

In a recent article by University of Edinburgh, Ewelina Lacka is a lecturer in Digital Marketing and Analytics she said about their research

"What the decision-makers made clear to us was that the most significant influence on their commitment to a supplier was its presence on LinkedIn. This may be explained by the purpose of LinkedIn, which offers a closer bond than the one-way relationship often found on Twitter and Facebook. The expectation of a supplier having a presence on LinkedIn may also offer a sense of security and transparency."

If you are in B2B (Business to Business) you need to be on LinkedIn.

Social Media and Social Selling is Not Advertising 

Many people make the mistake and think that when we talk about social media and social selling we are talking about advertising.  We are not.

Social media is not advertising, it is being social on ... media and advertising is ..... advertising.

Advertising, (cold calling and cold emailing) is based on interruption and social selling is based on permission.  While Seth Godin wrote about Permission Marketing in his book, 21 years ago, marketing still live a life of interruption. 

The latest Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: Brand Trust in 2020 reveals that "brands face a fundamental reordering of priorities amid a global pandemic and societal outcry over systemic racism prompted by the murder of George Floyd."

The Edelman Trust Barometer report goes onto to say 

Brand trust is earned, not bought.  Earned media is the battleground where trust is won or lost. Personal experience and earned media were found to be the most important factors in the gain or loss of trust amongst respondents. 

Influence is built through authority and empathy, with industry experts and people like themselves rated as most credible Advertising’s effect has become diminished. 

Now, nearly 7 in 10 say that they use one or more advertising avoidance strategies. The shift from 2018 to 2020 has shown double digit increases from those who avoid ads by using ad blocking technology (+10 pts), paying for streaming services (+15pts) or findings ways to avoid almost all ads (+12pts).

What Does This All Mean for sales and Marketing?

This means for sales and marketing that Social Media usage and Social Selling is not a fad and it's not going away.

In fact a company's presence on social is now a business imperative. 

Simon Kemp's research..

"Given the broadening role of social media in people’s lives, it’s important that marketers and communicators think more broadly about where social media fits in their plans.

Critically, social media is increasingly a ‘layer’ that permeates almost every aspect of our audiences’ daily lives, rather than being a distinct ‘destination’ with a more siloed sphere of influence.

The trick to making the most of social media today is to understand how these platforms can complement and augment all of our marketing and communication activities.

My advice would be to think less about populating a content calendar, and focus more on identifying and initiating the conversations that matter most to you and the audiences that you care about. 

The Social Media Silver Bullet

Social media is not just another channel to place your "interruption" content.  Social Media is different.  Let's put this another way.

We ask people, so your cold call, your spam email, your advert, your brochure, your website, your brand awareness ...... does this sell anything.  Everybody answers "of course not, conversations are what sell things".

Social media creates conversations.

So How Are You Going To Create Business?

You want pipeline, you can see that the current efforts of advertising, email and cold calling results are getting less and less, where as your audience has shifted onto social.  Maybe it's time to take your sales team and get on social too?

Not as a "random act of social" but with a data driven sales methodology.

Social Selling Case Study

Eric Doyle, he's a partner of ours.  He posted a piece of content, it currently has 165 likes and 37 comments and has been viewed 18,292 times.

It's created for him 124 leads.

28 outbound connections.

13 new inbound connections.

6 meetings (1 CEO, 1 COO, 2 MDs, 2 FDs)

1 Proposal

All from 10 minutes of work, all for free!

(I wonder if you can create 6 new business meetings in 10 minutes from advertising, cold calling or email marketing? ... I doubt it, but let me know if you can).

One of our clients sales guys as created the same number of "clicks" with a single Linkedin post (for free, it took him 20 minutes) that whole of his marketing team created last quarter with paid media.  OK I lied, it was a few clicks less, but almost the same .... so when we scale that across the sales team of course, the sales team is creating more qualified meetings, for free, than the marketing team on paid media.  There are clear winners and losers here in sales and marketing ... it's time to decide which way your business is going to go.

As one client said to us "I cannot believe this, you are in fact just busing prospects to have meetings with my sales team".  Now I know I'm biased and there are millions of people on Linkedin with a quick fix to your pipeline problem.  What you have to do as a leader is pick the one that will make your business survive. 

If you want more information about how we turned social selling from being an art into a science contact me here.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/timothyhughessocialselling/