Somebody (they will remain nameless) posted a comment on one of my colleagues posts yesterday.
They questioned the comment
"the number one addition is to have a great Linkedin profile"
I get that in the past, maybe 5 or 10 years ago, maybe you didn't need to have a Linkedin profile and it was OK to have Linkedin as a CV, but not anymore.
In this blog I'm going to look at why your prospects and customers are on social media, what you as a business need to do and what that is scary. I also scare a couple of case studies of people who are doing this. They are doing this, in in some sort of fluffy, touchy feely way, but in a making money and taking business of you type of way.
Buyers are now more sophisticated and respond to relationships, insight and relationships. What do I mean?
Why Should Your Business Invest In Personal Brands?
Traditional marketing is based on waste. The diagram on the left shows how marketing creates bland content, white papers, paid media etc to try and appeal to as many people as they can. Normally, this is about collecting emails, which they then market to by sending email newsletters. The problem with all push / interruption marketing is that you are all part of the noise.
You can have the best copy in the work, you can have the best photography in the world, you can have the best marketing agency or advertising agency in the world. The problem is, you are just one of the 10,000 messages I receive every day.
People often call this the "attention economy" because we are all vying for people's attention.
But We Have a Brand Tim
Some companies have a brand, Nike, BMW, Levis all have a brand. But 99% of companies do not, however much they spend on brand marketing and paid media. The reason for this is simple. You cannot spend enough in paid media for me to ever spot your company over the noise and I don't care about your business.
Robert Stephens of Geek Squad who said "I believe advertising is the tax you pay for being unremarkable."
When he was referring to advertising, I would suspect he was referring to any paid media.
"Buy My Product Because it's Great"
The other problem is that people go to market with the message "buy my product because it's great" and they merge into a sea of sameness.
Let's not forget that the Apple iPhone, iPod, etc were not the first to market or the best on the market. Microsoft marketed their Zune music player as "welcome to the social", Apple marketed it as "1,000 songs in your pocket". See the difference?
Now let's not forget these are seen as marketing high water mark.
I worked in the world of accountancy software, where all the competitors marketed the products exactly the same. I recall at my last company, we had a new starter from a competitor and we got them to pitch a first meeting and it was exactly the same message and presentation as our first meeting, even down to the unique selling points (USPs). Here are two companies in the world of accounting with $billions of resources with the same go-to-market, the same messages and the same USPs.
But There is Good News
The only unique selling point you have today are your people, their experiences, their skills and what you do is empower them to talk on social. Why? Because your prospects and clients are there.
Worldwide social media users: 4.14 billion - 53% of the world's population use social media in other words, more people use social media than don't use it.
Simon says that "two thirds of the working population in the world is now active on social media."
How much research do you need to convince you?
Your Prospects and Clients Are On Social
Your prospects and clients are on social and they don't want to talk with salespeople, we actively keep away from them and unless you are Nike, Levis, BMW, they don't want a relationship with you as a business.
Relationships are after all, with other people.
There is another benefit of empowering your prospects and clients on social is that you are able to "add value" to them. Traditional sales and marketing means you are not able to "add value" until you know them. Here you are able to "add value" throughout the lifecycle of sale. You are also able to do it at scale.
Legacy sales methods like the phone is inefficient. If I have a 20 minute phone conversation with you, I, as a salesperson have invested 20 minutes in one person. Whereas, if you look at the example below, the person is able to talk to thousands of people and "add value" to thousands of people.
Getting Your People Online is Scary
You need to empower people to be online, this means giving them the skills they need. It means not having a Linkedin profile that looks like a CV, or a LI profile that repels people (I spotted a sales person that had 4 x presidents club on their LI profile). This may mean something in the world of sales, but it repels buyers. Exactly the thing he wouldn't want to happen.
The thing is, most people are scared about going online, companies are also concerned about what the employees may say. And so they should. Companies should treat social media like any "behavior" that needs to be trained, health and safety, diversity and inclusion. A business needs to have robust training and processes in place.
We have all seen this Venn diagram before and understand what that means for our business.
How much time do we have?
A CEO Just Said to Me
"there is a race on. First we need to shock people into understanding that the world has changed. Second, we need to give them the skills to work in the changing world."
He went onto say "By giving my team(s) “new world” skills will gives us a competitive advantage."
Interesting that he finished by saying
"The thing is there is a “burning bridge” and we need to make sure we are over that bridge."
Who's doing this?
Case Study 1.
Eric's post of his 16 year old son on his Birthday got 8,000 views and 165 likes?
But better still, he got 6 - C-Level meetings from this post? How?
Because, all of Eric's post are strategic. He knows exactly why he is posting it and knows how to monetise it.
He doesn't always post humanised content, I'm using this as an example. But an example of why you need to get your employees on social, it has a $ impact to your business.
How does Eric do this? He builds relationships with prospects and customers and because they have a relationship with a human, not a brand, people are happy to engage. Eric is also able to cut through the myrmid of noise that brands keep putting out. If you are a buyer, where will you spend your time? Reading an advert that says "buy my product because it's great" or look for the insight and educational content that people like Eric is putting out?
The Microsoft Azure sales team actively use this as part of their sales strategy on accounts. They find "changemakers" who will take this insight and share within their businesses. This is how businesses are actively engaging with and influencing business and sales.
This is something that your competition haven't understood is key.
Case Study 2
In this case study, Danielle Guzman, talks about how Mercer, empower their employees to talk on social. The ROI (return on investment)? Danielle explains how Mercer as a brand will develop the business a certain amount of business, because they are well known in certain markets. She also confirms in this video how empowering people on social and giving them personal brands gives Mercer 4 times more revenue than the brand.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Just give me, or one of the DLA Ignite team and hour of your time and we can walk you through what we are doing for other companies. No hard sell, just take you through what other companies are doing to transform.
More than an eye-catching logo or clever ad copy, a company’s brand also has the potential to show off its values, stand out from the competition, and create human connections with customers. And businesses will continue to devote significant resources to building their brands. So they would be wise to invest in their employees’ personal brands if they really want to see amplified results. Employee personal brands are becoming an essential part of a company’s reputation, and companies that invest in them reap huge benefits. As more purchasing decisions are made online and from recommendations on social media, having employees that are trusted and respected will open up further opportunities for your organization.