Inbound Sales is ALL About Outbound Social Media? Or is it?

As the world changes, so does the way(s) we all continue to communicate with one another. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, “communication” originated in the 14th century (WOW) and is defined as “the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone else.” So then why do most people NOT consider SOCIAL MEDIA and SALES communicative and social tasks? What I mean by that is why do marketers, as well as other professionals think that social media isn’t the best tool available to communicate with others, thus increasing sales (i.e. inbound selling). In fact, I believe that customers take joy in being social over the web and would rather buy online at their own pace versus someone else’s or in-person. Am I being naive or do you agree or disagree? Whether you agree or disagree, one thing is certain and that is if you understand the role(s) of communicating and social media in general that these two combined can be paramount and vital to your personal or long-term business success(es).

How buying is changing online

With the advent of online sites such as Google, Ebay, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, FourSqaure, EmpireAvenue, Pinterest, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, Quora, etc people have more say “dictating the buying/selling processes” and can voice their opinions as little and/or as often as they want, thus dictating what customers/businesses ultimately buy and sell. In fact, (I believe you already may know this) but it is no longer about what a salesperson/company says or presents but instead about what a buyer says online or in person that dictates what they truly want in a (B2C business-to-consumer or B2B business-to-business) competitive environment.

Forrester, which is a leading research company recently reported that over 90% of the time B2B (in this case B2B IT buyers) are involved in some form of social media, not so much as actual purchasers but as purchase spectators. What this actually means and maybe the case more times than not in any industry is that 90% of the people or businesses that are looking for IT services or ‘YOUR services/products” are on some form of social media site. Regardless of the industry, you and/or your company cannot afford to ignore these statistics if you want to continue increasing sales over the long run. Yes, this also means that even though these people are online (i.e. social media) they maybe just there to see how you and/or your company is perceived, so they also can adjust their business strategy around what people want (i.e. again inbound selling adjustments) throughout an industry not just your company. Yes?

Not just for the traditionalists

While not too long ago and perhaps even to this day (you have more than likely experienced this) many people have/did enter(ed) into the online social sphere of things with the whole “get rich quick scheme or multi-level marketing” but as time passed we all have voiced our opinions thus we are seeing a dramatic decline in this category. That is a big relief huh? Personally, over the years I have grown to hate all these multi-level marketing schemes and am very pleased to see them fading into the night just as the typewriter of several years past. Since these multi-level schemes were and never will be credible ways of making money or advancing sales online (instead only making a few people rich) while making other people more skeptical of online buying/selling. Having a tremendous amount of prior B2B and B2C sales experience, I came into social media marketing (social media selling) with a determination to grow a community and eliminate the hard sell, since generating awareness and need for a purchase are at the forefront of sales and have always been my way of producing sales not the other way around. Let’s face it who likes that nagging sales person that calls 10 times a day or week trying to sell you something you don’t necessarily need but instead trying to sell you something they think you need in order to increase their own sales numbers, while making their boss(es) happy. Social media selling gives the customer what they need and that is relevant information that they can use to create their own need; thus, calling you (INBOUND) when they are actually ready to buy on their own terms and not yours. So, let’s say bye to all those bait and switch techniques of the past and hello to transparency of the present “gifts” that help you and your prospects make good buying decisions. An honest conversation online thorough social media and other like platforms that make your phone ring not you ringing others, thus increasing sales and creating more long-term partnerships.

Social Sales

If what I have mentioned so far hasn’t convinced you that social media is/has changed the way everyone communicates, then I ask you to think about all the people you and/or your company reach daily, weekly, or yearly to create awareness, while maintaining one-on-one contact. Do you see how or perhaps create some of the most important relationships that you or your company has/can develop online? Have you or your company closed any accounts or sales online without actually even talking to another person? If you are like most others the answer to this question should be YES (even in the lowest form you surely have purchased from EBay or Amazon)and if not then you really need to get or build your online presence immediately. If you are in sales and also answered NO to this question, you also need to start building your own online presence as well as your companies since you cannot or will not be able to rely on in person or personality only to seal more deals moving into the future.

As social media helps to continue to shaping sales by changing the old mantra of “who you know” by “what you actually know” especially what you know about others (i.e. communicative spectators). The new age of selling should demand online communication of every one of its employees regardless of position in order to enhance other purchasing decisions by adding value to an online conversation. Needless to say and long story short is that I ask you to stop convincing yourself or business that social media cannot help you and instead embrace how communication/social media can help you leverage your personal or business goals. Those people and companies that understand these concepts most and are willing to forge forward into this new business space of sales will be the ones that I will be still writing about 20 years from now.

David Dandaneau is a Consultant at [SevenTimesSeven]. He specializes in helping business owners “manage their business and not their processes!” For more connect with him via Twitter @ddandaneau or any of the other social platforms you may find him on.

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Personal and/or Business Use for Twitter Vine

[Image Credit: VineTwitter Account]
Well hello again and long time no talk fellow socialites! Needless to say, hope all is well and you are continuing to grow and prosper this New Year. As with most years that pass there are many new instruments, ideas, and strategies that are continuing to transform the way we communicate and if you have been a reader here for any amount of time you already know that! With that said, recently I decided to upgrade my old iPhone 3GS to the new iPhone 5, which to my surprise if extremely AWESOME. As with any upgrade (personal or professional), of course, my initial thinking was to get used to my new device (mentally) and discover some new apps to help make my life and business more organized, which I always love to share with all you. So far and just a couple weeks in with the new iPhone 5, I have discovered a new platform known as Vine(perhaps you have already discovered this application) to continue growing online via social media? Regardless if you are familiar or not with this particular application you’ll want to check it out and/or revisit it after you read the next few paragraphs.
From my research Vine for Twitter was just introduced in January of this year, which means many (perhaps you again) have discovered how valuable this new platform can be for increases in search, marketing, and sales purposes for yourself or business? Yes/No? Okay I know what you’re thinking and that’s… great now another social media site to manage? Well contrary to your thinking (open your mind already) this application is not just another app to fill up your Twitter stream but instead this app is a new way to create interesting stories using short video (i.e. 6 seconds or less) so you/your business can share your thoughts, ideas, and life changing personal or business stories. Just like many of the other social applications such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, FourSquare, etc. all the items (in this case videos) that you create can be publically or privately posted to your Vine followers and/or shared among your existing networks via Facebook or Twitter by recording a video with the push of a button on your iPhone, iPod, iPad or other device that may run this type of mobile application. Okay, so what does this all mean to me? Even though I am also still new to this app, here are three easy steps to take in order to find the who, what, when, and how to simply use this application to benefit you or company while staying ahead of the social media madness we often refer to in our postings.
1) Showcase what you have to offer
Have you or your company created a unique way to showcase your competences or unique qualifications yet? If not, use Vine to create a small one or multiple set of online videos (again 6 seconds or less) for others to see what EXACTLY you have to offer. This is especially important if you have decided to look for that new job (creating an online resume) or looking to bring a new product or service to market (give everyone a sneak peek into your old or new offering(s).
2) Take other people behind the curtain of your life or business
What if you don’t have anything to showcase? Well that’s okay because behind everyone showcase is a story of how you or your business was born, started, or operates right? Use Vine to create a picture of what everyday life is like for yourself or business by showing off your daily routines, friends, office, or other interesting things others in your life or place of work do on daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Give your audience a firsthand encounter of events that will get you found and/or noticed in the social cloud, or in other words, pull back the curtain on your life or business!
3) Let others help you succeed
If you are familiar with networking or use other social media sites, which have you already engaged with many of your followers, friends, and acquaintances let them know about your new personal or business plans with Vine. Once others become familiar with this new application ask them to help you achieve what it is you are looking to achieve. In fact, if you use other platforms such as Twitter or Instagram get a little more creative and create a NEW hashtag dedicated to your cause and ask other people in your network to share or use this hashtag to create additional push or buzz about yourself, company, and/or brand. The old help others and they will help you back approach to Marketing.
[Image Credit: TechCrunch Blog Post]
Obviously, these three things are not the only things you can use Vinefor but they are a good way to start or retool your account if you have already started down this road. Regardless of how you use this platform, I sure would like to hear from others (if you have already set up an account) about your successes or other techniques that you are considering if you haven’t already started. As always thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to wear that smile like you mean it today ((>>:-))
David Dandaneau is a Consultant at [SevenTimesSeven] and a Contractor at [FedEx]. He specializes in helping business owners “manage their business and not their processes!” For more connect with him via his About.Me Page or any of his other social platforms.
 

B2C & B2B Social Marketing (Facebook, Twitter, etc) Universe Revealed [INFOGRAPHIC]

Over the last several years, online networking  sites such as  Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc have continued to flourish in both business to consumer (B2C) and business to business (B2B) environments, which has allowed people and companies of all sizes to communicate more effectively, while driving additional traffic that can generate more leads and certainly more sales. However, social media networking can be rather tricky and often fails if you or your company do/does not plan properly or if you do not have a solid social strategy in place to market yourself or brand for communication and monitoring of all B2C and B2B activities.

Not to worry because if you don’t have a lot of time to figure things out our friends at Marketo have put together a detailed Infographic, which can help you understand the B2C/B2B social media universe detailed below.
Of course, we also help businesses understand this unique beast, so if you have questions, please drop us a line or contact us through any of our social media networks and we will be glad to help. Otherwise, thanks for stopping by and happy networking!

(Source: MarketoB2B image via Shutterstock)

Things to Remember When Tagging People, Businesses, Products, and/or Services on Social Media Sites

Over the last several weeks, we have been experimenting and talking with customers/businesses about “Tagging” with social media sites such as Instagram, FourSqaure, and Facebook, which allow people or businesses to share photos with one another while tagging other people or businesses with you or them. What fun huh? This can be even more fun if you are looking to meet new people or even looking for or selling new products/services, as people and companies can tag you in them if you so choose.
Well, let’s think about that? People and companies can tag you in them if you so choose, as this is extremely important and if you do not change your settings sooner or later in these social network spaces, you will get violated and perhaps even pissed off at your friends, acquaintances, or favorite brands. So, while some social media sites such as Twitter still allow you to @username (much like tagging), which you can’t control, if you are using Instagram, FourSqaure, and Facebook, make sure you make it a point to set your personal or business accounts to private or change your settings to approve tags, communicators, and followers first. That way if you are using or with people or companies that want to display something on one of your social profiles, you dictate what it is or what it is not “APPROVAL” and/or who, what, when, or where you have been.
Here are some other things to remember when using Instagram, FourSqaure, and Facebook tagging :
1.   On FourSqaureyou can now tag location and people by using a person or businesses Twitter namespace. This is NEW, so you may not have tried it but FourSqaurewill even do an auto complete during your check-in, so if you use this make sure you are checking in with the right person just like with Facebook (ANOTHER reason to set this to approval)
2.   On Instagram you can use GeoTagging, which uses a version of “Tagging” powered by FourSqaure for location or the #Hashtag for popularity (Public Posts) in the caption field or a #Hashtag in the comment field for photos you already uploaded through Instagram 
3.   If you want a more target audience (friends, family, businesses) on Twitter make sure to set your feed to private that way those people and companies can’t @mention or @reply directly to you (essentially TAGGING you), which will cut down on direct messages and @connects

While tagging has been around for quite some time, with all the different/new social media sites, people and companies are/will continue to look for ways to communicate with you. “Tagging” or @username @mention @replies @connect are a couple of those ways. Long story short and if you use any of these sites, make sure you continue to check your settings and monitor your pages for tags of people, places, and things (sometimes you are even incorrectly tagged by accident), that way you can dictate what you want or do not want to see and/or promote. Also remember that if you want to promote someone or something to properly tag,  @username, or #Hashtag the other person or business that way they know you are thinking about them.
We sure hope this post helps some of you keep your social media privacy, while sharing with others (make sure they are the right ones) things you are doing, places you are at, and products, and services you love. Now get out there visit some people/businesses, snap some pictures, connect with others, and enjoy. Otherwise, and like usual play nice and don’t forget to keep smiling, as it really does look good on YOU!

David Dandaneau is a Consultant at [SevenTimesSeven]. He specializes in helping business owners “manage their business and not their processes!” For more connect with him via Twitter @ddandaneau or any of the other social platforms you may find him on.