1) CHECK WHERE YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE
Before you jump to any social networks, communities or other tools, find out
WHERE your customers are. And the best way is to search them in the Internet,
check LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter, Google and Yahoo Groups and find them one way or the other. And if you still have a good relationship with them, ASK.
2) SUBSCRIBE TO THE SOCIAL WEB
Once you know, subscribe to the sites and explore. Invest in your profile, put up a photo, let people know what you like and what not, show your inner self in a professional way. You can’t expect anybody to connect with a stranger. Once your profile is in good shape connect with your trusted friends, colleagues, partners, vendors, resellers and then of course customers you know. At that stage it’s just a connection.
3) UNDERSTAND YOUR NETWORK
Learn all about the people in your network learn what they do, what their interest is, what their skills are what their goal in life is – everything. You will build up a new asset of unparalleled value compared to what you have today – your rolodex or link list in LinkedIn or whatever. You will learn the people and their behavior their interests and their pain without asking a single question. At this point you haven’t contributed – you are just an observer.
What used to be the accepted status quo “Sales Process” (identifying targets in the market, separating leads from a mass of inquiries, and distilling them through some exploration of cold calls and negotiation) has changed forever.
Social media has become the most important marketing initiative today because it has actually changed (or adapted) the “Sales Process” into the “Buying Process”. With peers talking with peers sharing advice and comments about all of their purchases and experiences, this has created a buzz amongst prosumer’s, a confidence or empowerment, that is unstoppable.
To continue to be relevant in the marketplace and avoid extinction, the “New” Sales Funnel has had to yield to the Prosumer’s being in control, captaining the ship, if you will. This means the salesperson’s role is now one of guiding or being a well-educated navigator in the purchasing process. As Larry McClymonds said: “The new form of relationships selling isn’t about selling anymore, it’s about helping the customers buy.”
With this new openness provided by the “navigator”, the prosumer will now reciprocate that openness (at least over time), which will result in the old “Sales Process” of the tedious, opinionated, strong arm process of selling to consumers will eventually evaporate.
I have been getting a lot of DM’s about the earlier Consumer or Prosumer post. The consensus was, ok but “what do I do now if I see that I am old school’? and “How do I change it”? First, I commend you for your honesty (more business leaders needs more humility when it comes to examining their business model and accepting that changing to a social media system is going to be disruptive to the current one in place, but it is critical) and second, you ask very good questions.
As those of us who run businesses, we find ourselves in the most anxiety filled time in modern history; along with that, there are a couple of obstacles we have to acknowledge first before proceeding. Today’s climate is hard on us as business leaders, with uncertainty at every turn, the complexity of adjusting to new demands, increasingly shorter product lifecycles, competition, etc., there are the facts., which can lead some to succumb to the “eat or be eaten” mentality. Ahh – what to do??? Please step away from the ledge… slowly…. thank you. Here are just a few helpful suggestions, to see things from the Prosumer’s perspective that may help us tweak our operation and get us on the right path without having to do a lot of heavy lifting:
I have been chewing on this for some time and is partially the reason why I have chosen to attend SOMA, because I want to really understand this, and I have also grown cold to much of the empty advice out there, along with all the spam I get promising me that I can “Use Twitter to make Millions Today!” or “From Facebook to Your Checkbook in 30 minutes!”, (Yuck, I am making myself sick.)
So, I was happy to see this important subject on our agenda in class last week, and we began dissecting this idea, and will further this week.
The session started off with a truism; “What you can measure you can manage, and what you can manage get’s done.” Obviously, we know that. To be effective as a social media consultant, more is needed than just getting 1,000’s of people on your wall, page views, video downloads, popularity rankings, or the number of DM’s you get each day. It’s about measuring personal interactions, what method of user-generated content is working and which isn’t, then adjusting. Online consumer response and market interaction is much more dynamic than the old school ways of SEO, they just don’t work. (BTW: clarification – SEO and social media – not the same thing)