Posts Tagged ‘facebook’
I recently had a dinner with my business mentor.
I have great respect for my mentor. He has been in business for over fifty years, and worked his way up from a 1 man band business, to his current position of owning and running three major IT companies with a joint turnover of over £50million a year. When he gives advice and thoughts, I listen.
During the course of the meal, we started talking about social networks media. After all, every other blog post, tweet and conversation seems to be about one form of social media or other.
His thoughts on social media were as follows:
It’s great – for what it is, but think of it this way….
In Africa, wildebeest, zebras and antelopes travel in packs. During the big migrations, these packs can number several million animals. The reason they travel in packs is protection. By traveling in a pack of so many animals, all the same, all in the same direction, the chance of being picked off by a lion or hyena is a lot slimmer. The lesson for such African ‘cattle’ is- do what others do to blend in.
BUT, in business, you don’t want to blend in. Being another zebra amongst the other 10,000 zebras is bad. How are customers supposed to tell one zebra from another? And shouting how different you are, when there are 9,999 voices raised in the same pack, all shouting there own message – well, your message just gets lost in the noise.
And social networking is just like zebras in a pack – yes it’s useful for some situations and it serves a purpose (and should not be ignored), but you will never stand out from the crowd if you are doing the exact same thing as everybody else
So whilst all the social media advice is to create blogs, create twitter streams, facebook pages and the like, maybe the best way of gaining attention is standing away from the crowd.
Again using my business mentors words, when everybody else Zigs, its time for you to Zag. In other words, time to revisit those ‘old school’ marketing techniques that everybody else is now ignoring.
I am pretty sure you recognise the image on the right as a thing called the ‘sales pipeline’; the mythical funnel shaped flow of a sale process, with lots of customers going in the top (at the prospect stage), which then get whittled down in number, to eventually hit the thin bottom of the funnel as sales. The sales pipeline has been around for decades.
Well, here is a confession. . . . I don’t have a sales pipeline shaped like this.
Whilst I am on confessions, I am going to say something pretty radical, which goes against everything which is 21st century…. I don’t do Social Media sales.
Social Media – Not for Me
My company does not have a facebook page, it doesn’t have a twitter profile, and it doesn’t even get mentioned in Google+.
The reason is simple – I am still not convinced that social media works for small companies. Oh, it may work for Nike, McDonalds and NASA. . . but who wants to follow the tweets of my company? Nobody. It would be wasted effort.
I have read all the blog posts and books which talk about making yourself a Leader in your field via social media – and they may work for marketing gurus or Business Leaders, but for a small company such as me – nah. . . . it just isn’t going to work.
I have my own personal Twitter accounts, Facebook Account, Goole+ and Linked in. But they are mine, for my own social use (mainly about business growth) – they don’t try and sell my company.
My company sales Pipe
The sales pipe above, and social media is all wrong for me. It’s too ‘scatter gun’. People talk about using Social Media to get as many people in as possible, get them crammed into the top of the funnel, and don’t engage – just hope that you don’t piss them off so much and they stick around and eventually buy something from you. . . at somewhere down the line.
So my sales pipe is just that – it’s not a funnel, but a pipe. Narrow at the top, narrow at the bottom. I work with just a handful of prospects, and lead them through the process, to the final sale. When I need to engage with them, I pick up the phone or visit them.
It may not be right for everybody, but its real, and it has helped me drive my sales up and up, and made 2011 my best year so far.
Maybe being non-social media, non-email campaign, but being Pro real conversation and meeting makes me and my company different. Maybe that’s one of my USPs.
What do you think?
You remember that girl you dated at school (if you’re a women reading this, it was the guy you dated) – the one you were not so nice to, the one who’s heart you broke. Well, thanks to the internet she can now find you, track you down, see where you work, what you do, and what your thoughts are on last nights TV. The Internet, and especially in social media, has made all of our lives transparent.
I met a freelancer the other day that had a twitter account, and on his feed he was busy tearing holes into all the processes, procedures and systems his last customer used. Now what do you think would happen if after attending a contracting job ‘interview’ or putting a proposal in front of a new prospect, that person googled him? Do you think he would get the work? This is why you need to double-think everything you put into the cloud.
One of my former lecturers once told me that reputations and trust take a lifetime to build, and a moment to destroy. I would suggest in this internet and social connected world, it’s even faster than that.