This is the selfie shot with a narcissis-stick that went around the globe. Anyone who doubts the power of social media to build brands and sell a message must be living in a cave. Yet so many business people still act as if social is a fad - an aberration being touted and smuggled into the workplace by millennial and Gen-Y employees.
It's time to wake up! Savvy social media strategy won the presidency - twice. It's winning your deals for your competitors that you never even got invited to. There are 330 million people on LinkedIn, 2 people join every second, there are 200,000,000 unique views per day and 28,000,000,000 page views per quarter. 40% of users are in LinkedIn every day, 60% of business-to-business (B2B) buyers research before engaging. It's the biggest publishing platform in the world. The average CEO has 930 connections in LinkedIn... and you're still wondering if you should invest time in uploading a more professional photo!
Tweet this: Those who use LinkedIn for a 'warm introduction' are 500% more likely to secure a meeting. Also Tweet this: Those who have strong Social Selling Index scores (I am in the top 1%... believe me it works), are 50% more likely to achieve their revenue targets.
Social media is not some weird geeky teenage non-understandable web of confusion. It's simply a bunch of free messaging, publishing and engagement platforms where hugely powerful networks of people hang-out. The smartest businesses use social to listen, research, publish, engage and collaborate. Take off your hand-made black leather loafers, ditch the socks, roll up your Armani trousers and wade into the digital waters... it will transform your business life and results.
We live in the age of personal brands which are becoming stronger and more relevant at double the rate that which corporate brands are diminishing. Embrace the thing you fear and banish ignorance. I'm 52 and was a Luddite but I've done it - in less than 90 days I'm riding the Sigmoid curve of reinvention using social.
SPIN Selling is timeless and Neil Rackham a demigod of all things B2B strategic selling; the mad professor of unified sales theory, the wise sage of the totally insane cottage industry that is the sales training community (Miller Heiman, CEB and TAS excluded). Many of you follow my blog and thanks for all the support (except for you Mr Deep Iceman... you know who you are).
President Obama is to be congratulated for reading SPIN Selling and engaging Professor Rackham in his skunk-works sit-room social media war-room designed to keep the Republicans from storming The Whitehouse at the end of the second term. I'm looking forward to writing Neil's biography, sipping tea in the English or Virginia countryside... but I digress. Scrawled on the whiteboard in the Oval Office is the Democrats social media strategy, and in almost illegible permanent marker (don't you hate when someone does that!), Donald Trump wandered in and added his own words to transcend politics to commerce.
Situation: We need to win the election, win the deal, win mind-share. We need to define target markets, understand personas, engage early with relevance and context, set the agenda, engineer the process, win the sale and bank the check.
Problem: No cut-through with the electorate. No side-stepping the EA, no return calls from my voice-mail messages, no reply to e-mail, no response to our spamming and direct mail.
Implication: The opposition wins and we're out in the cold for years; a legacy of losership. Wholly suppositories Batman, what it is it!? My career is flashing before my screen in 1,000 PowerPoint slides with endless bullet-point builds... where's the gun!? Without quality meetings I'm out of business.
Now we're really talkin! (sorry Neil, securing a great meeting is a 'Needs pay-off' benefit to the seller and buyer). Yes, we're saved by engaging where my customers are. Social selling delivers real benefits and tangible ROI if you know what you're doing.
LinkedIn is the new telephone for introductions and securing appointments. It's the way you connect with people; the way you build credibility before even meeting, the way you show relevance and social proximity, the way to publish insights and establish credentials. It's the power network of social.
Twitter is how you amplify your message and spread the word... President Obama's team are masterful. Here are some staggering statistics about Twitter: 290,000,000 users and 500,000,000 Tweets daily. 80% are active in mobile and it's the ideal platform for 'news-jacking' (that's what this article is) and also listening for trigger events to then go and engage with context.
The final part of the social trinity for B2B is YouTube. There are 6,000,000,000 hours of video watched each month and 1 billion unique visitors monthly. 100 hours of video content is uploaded every minute. Remarkably, the footage is comprised of 99% cat videos (Just kidding!). You can save YouTube by putting some relevant content up that that shares your expertise and helps customers upstream, allowing you to join the party! Stop doing high risk, low value demos. Instead, create compelling videos that help educate your buyers and take them on the journey to where they are ready to talk about what really matters. You can be your own television station, creating your own channel! But wait, there's more, don't sell the free set of steak knives if they dial-in now; instead be a publisher of insights to educate and entertain.
We all need to sell with the social savvy of Obama and the sales mastery of Rackham. Old school and new school together are atomically powerful.
Get on board with social selling 3.0 or be left behind eating the dust of your competition. If you'd like to know how, email me: tony at RSVPselling dot com or send me an InMail.
P.S. Facebook is the leading consumer social platform and was used for President Obama to post his clever video. Facebook's stats are also staggering with 1.4 billion users monthly and 890 million active daily.
Tony Hughes is ranked as the #1 influencer on professional selling in Asia-Pacific and is a keynote speaker and best selling author. This article was originally published in LinkedIn where you can also follow Tony's award winning blog. Also visit Tony's keynote speaker website at www.TonyHughes.com.au or his sales methodology website at http://www.rsvpselling.com/.
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