Its an excellent question and one that we often find on the minds of leadership teams whenever we first meet them.

Earlier this year we were presenting to a management team on Social Selling & Influence.  How it works, what it does, how the programme beaks down and how our clients have changed their commercial lives.

We were approaching the end of the session and a Senior Leader asked an excellent question…

“What if all this Social Media stuff ends up being about vanity…?”

The answer…don’t let it, anchor it all in your strategy and your goals.

Define a strategy – Define what you want and link all your Social Media activity to that measurable goal.

This is business transformation, not ‘a course’. This is about doing new things in new ways to affect change in your organisation. 

For this, we need to adjust our own thinking and processes.

Our clients want different results from Social Media.

  1. Some want to create influence on specific business areas or global interest topics.
  2. Some want to increase follower count and increase their network
  3. Most want to increase revenue and ebitda.

What do you want from Social Media...?

We are often called in companies where it has all gone wrong and they need a recovery plan. 

They saw their competition putting out content and got a serious dose of FOMO.

So, they jumped to content!

They started firing out corporate content, adverts by any other name.  The send round an internal memo for everyone to like and share it, some do some don’t. 

It changes nothing…and does nothing because its nowhere near that easy.

Starting you Social Media journey by employing someone to write content or designing a series of videos that you will put out across platforms is the equivalent of deciding to build a house and the very first thing you do is order a sofa, pictures, and some carpet…upsides down and backwards!

This is how you make it all about vanity.

Something else we see regularly is organisations who start this way (backwards), see no change in results and blame Social Selling for not working…” yeah, we did tried Social Selling a few months a back and it didn’t work…”. Every time we’ve investigated what “didn’t work” we find that nothing had changed internally, and the organisation defined Social Selling as ‘chucking content at Social and seeing what stuck’…. nothing did.

If you really did try Social Selling a few months back, you should be able to share a raft of data including, how many proposals it generated and how many you converted to sales – its all anchored in measurable data and revenue, not gut feels, maybes, and vanity…

So how do you get this focus away from vanity and anchored in strategy and goals...?

  1. You must start with a strategy, lay the foundation
  2. Create a mission, put up the walls
  3. Train the team, put a roof on
  4. Address the corporate mindset, install the wiring
  5. Work on the internal discipline, add the plumbing
  6. Understand where your prospects are on digital, put in windows and doors
  7. Create a central hub for social media, install a boiler

Now you are getting close to the start line…

Now we can start to create content plans and define our digital identities, we can decorate.

Make sure you are not falling into the 'decorating' trap on Social Media

All the failures we see have ignored all of this, all the successes we know about, put all of this in place. 

Social Selling & Influence is not asking people to buy your products and services on social media.

Social Selling & Influence is using your presence and behaviour on social media to build influence, make connections, grow relationships and trust, which leads to conversations, commercial interaction, and growth.

Social Selling puts you in the position to have more conversations with people who can help your business whether through referral, by giving advice, an introduction, requesting a proposal and issuing a purchase order…. it’s all about more conversations. 

Social Selling is not something we do, its something we take advantage of being able to do.

Your organisational influence is key to this…simply posting your 'Brochureware' doesn’t help you.

Strategic Social Media needs patience and commitment. It’s not the single-minded pursuit of that Purchase Order. Our buyers are smart so we must be smarter, they have powered up so we must power up.

This is all about building influence. Providing relevant content and insight to your prospects and customers to enable them to gain value form being part of your digital network. 

The 2021 LinkedIn-Edelman B2B thought leadership impact report is an excellent report which saw Edelman and LinkedIn collaborate on the fourth annual B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study to examine how thought leadership influences perception and buying behaviours among B2B decision-makers (link below).

The report says…

"64% of buyers say that and organisation thought leadership content is a more trustworthy basis for assessing its capabilities and competency than its marketing materials and products sheets".

its all about trust in Social Selling & Influence

So, the full answer to the question is more complex than most people think. Earlier in the article I explained what needs to be done but, in most cases there is a deeper level of internal cultural adjustment to be made to make room for sustainability and growth….this is where leadership is key.

Many organisational play about with LinkedIn…but there are those who see this through a different lens.   Those who are embracing early mover advantage, who are restructuring their organisation and internal process to fully cater for changes in modern commerce. hose who see beyond the traditional roles and silos of Sales, Marketing, technical, HR, Finance….. 

Those who have pioneer spirit and have their heads up and are tuned into the future of work…

…the Social Organisations.

We find a lot of professionals who are struggling with this. You may be one and that’s ok, you’ve likely been very busy for the last 10 years. Things have changed and you either didn’t notice or haven’t kept up.  That’s fine, but it’s important you are not in the same position next year. 

Use this time to develop the digital skills you need to be able to navigate, operate and deliver in a new commercial world.

The conversation about whether this all works or not is over - dead - in the trash.

The question now is if your organisation has the culture to accept change, the mind to accept alternative perspectives and the hunger to win...

Always happy to walk you and your team how all of this works. We call it, “an introduction to Social Selling & Influence” and we show you how it changes businesses for the better.

Live Social ‘22

Eric Doyle

Crux / DLA Ignite