I am amazed by the number of companies coming up with solutions that enable Sales people or Relationship managers “automate social”.
– Some propose to schedule content, or even better to automate the retweet of corporate content.
– Some propose options to delegate the social identity of the sales rep to the marketing department … who will probably use an intern or an offshore team to manage it
– Some propose access to content libraries that the sales rep can use when they have nothing to say.
The arguments behind these value propositions is that “Social Media” takes too much time, that it need to scale and that Sales people should not divest their precious time in social platforms.
Other arguments (in the Financial sector as an example) are regulations (FINRA, SEC) and consultants and vendors frighten relationship managers of the consequences of tweeting the wrong post.
But frankly, these are just excuses not to do the job and yes selling is a tough job. The reality is that:
1- There is no better use of a Sales Rep time than listening and engaging with prospects or clients.
3- These is zero risk in building relations with prospective clients in social, as long as sales rep are cautious to take the “next step (actual selling) one on one offline. It’s not different than in real life. At the moment of truth you need to say “we should meet” and take the next steps private. (btw whether the industry is regulated or not, that is how it should be done).
Let’s tackle the risks of automation, scheduling and “pre-digested content”
Let’s face it. 99% of automation is Spam. And people don’t like Spam. So why would you spam prospects and clients?
In addition, most automation violate the T&C of Social Platforms. Twitter (as an example) is very clear: “generally most automation is detrimental to the user experience and frequently results in blocks and suspensions.”
Also using automation, there is a major risk of posting something irrelevant or out of context.
If you’ve been in sales for some times you know how difficult it is to even transfer a prospect to another sales rep.
Context and history of the relation are very difficult to transfer. Yet many Sales Rep are OK transferring prospects to “automated scripts”, this is crazy.
People buy from REAL people
Scheduling sounds interesting. It usually provides the option to send the same content several times, at different intervals.
But customers are smart. If they have been using social media for some time, they will be quick as spotting the same tweet from a sales rep at different time of the day. They may also have sophisticated listening capabilities.
When they realize it, the indirect message that customer receives is that they are not worth your time and that you will not be there for them when they need you. Not the best way to start a relation.
Best case they will unfriend/unfollow you. Worse, they will share their findings with other potential clients
This is a killer for reputation and trust.
People buy from people who are there when they need them.
This one is more subtle. It plays on people fear of the blank page ;-). People should post regularly, so when they have nothing really exciting to say, they should go get company canned messages and post. Right?
That’s actually a very wrong advise.There are evidence that people don’t engage with Corporate Accounts so why the hell would a real person build a presence in social that mimics a corporation?
It is even worse when someone looks at Company level. What do you think a client/prospect will believe when he/she sees 10’s of sales rep/relationship managers from the same company spreading the same PR-engineered article without a personal note? …
People don’t buy from boring people.
The net is that automating social is a very wrong way to do it. Even worse for companies who are competing with robots (like wealth management / financial advisors…) where the only way to differentiate is the depth of the relation, the strength of the relations and the deep understanding of the client.
So what should sales rep do? Actually, the same thing they have always been good at.
Be themselves, engage in conversations, build their network, bring value to the community they are targeting, solve problems, be fun and entertaining, listen to prospects and clients and above all BE RELEVANT.
Fake it ’til you make it ? Not this time.
Is possible many of you have stumbled into many social media marketing tools that offer to track influencers, audit your brand, do competitive research and share content among other things. Perhaps you have heard of Sysomos, Radian6, Klout and traakr.
Our key differentiation is we group people with common interests that talk and share content around an specific topic. We call them tribes. And we calculate influence within these specific ‘topic’ tribes. Because hey, one mommy blogger can influence million moms in America, but can you tell which blogger is influencing who, where and what content in more appealing to a group of listeners? Also, influence is dynamic. And when you put all mommy bloggers together you can compare apples to apples, and be confident you’re listening to the mommy rock stars at that point in time.
We have helped many American and international corporations with over 30 different use cases, enhancing monitoring their social media strategies. More typical uses involve:
* Downloading influencer lists by vertical
eCairn holds to date close to half a million influencers across 900 different tribes. Search a specific term within the tribes and download only what matters to you.
For instance, search for mommy bloggers and other tribes who mention “changing diapers”. Explore conversations and identity people who can contribute growing your brand’s awareness -link building .
* Content research
With eCairn you can search for specific keywords across tens of million conversations daily, and discover hot topics among a community. Is a process of discovering, adapting, learning new trends (keywords) and building your themes, and discover again.
We offer a combination of automated reports and manually annotate conversations for sentiment analysis.
* Spy your competition
Analyzing your competitor’s social accounts is also part of what you can do with eCairn. Add your competitors social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram) and learn about their SM strategy:
– Discover if they are offering deals, promoting hashtags, events, generating brand awareness
– Setup a theme to follow-up on competitor mentions and social mentions
– Listen to what matters on you mobile devices, subscribe to customized RSS feeds and integrate with Feedly or Zapier
– Study their SEO tactics, trace links and inbound marketing efforts
This feature can be configured to automatically post on your own social media account, email forward, or exporting data to a your Google docs. Simply configure a keywords of your interest. It can be brands, product names, twitter mentions (i.e. @ecairn, #ecairn), competitors. And the digest can be check on your laptop or mobile devices.
We’re pleased to announce the release of Audience Insights;
In one single click, you can understand the segments in social that are relevant to your brands or topics.
See for yourself
Unlearning marketing is a term that has surfaced recently, mainly pushed by the Adobe folks.
I can’t agree more. Marketing – as it was done before social media – is archaic and less and less relevant.
If you look at the words of marketing, you clearly see it was built to address a flat market. The core notions of marketing, that current marketers are familiar with are: “lists” and “segments”.
Marketers buy lists, email to lists, manage lists.
All this was good before social media. But “social media” enables people to connect online and make these connections visible to brands, and to others.
The result is that people in marketers lists are connected to each other too and that these lists are no longer lists but graphs.
And talking about segments, you can’t really segment a network. The proper technique to extract part of a graph/network is “clustering”. Segments have therefore become Clusters and the challenge for marketers has shifted from defining segments to identifying clusters.
It may not sounds radical but the transformation is similar to traveling on a “flat world” versus on a globe.
Still most marketing executives we meet these days are not ready to question the practices and learning they built for a “flat world”. They frequently come to us with requests such as: can you find us millenium’s, wealthy single men 18-25 ?, people that match a specific persona? and can’t take the answer: “this is not how the market is organized in social”.
That’s for the geometry of the market … and there is more to it:
- These clusters are “conscious” i.e they know each other, they know they have power as a group and they know that marketers should know so the tolerance for “plain advertising messages” or lack of understanding of the nature of the social web is on the rise. ( for a definition on concious markets, see JF Noubel)
- These clusters are also made of people with different positions & roles in the network. In this “networked market” potential clients are connected one to each other in various social platforms and belong to organic eco-systems with prescriptors, influencers , connectors …
How should people market to tribes? None really knows yet and It will take some time and a lot of failures before we unlearn “flat marketing” and invent how to market to a networked market. My take on this is that a better approach is to learn from how “sales work” (“consultative selling”) and grow from there.
I’d like to end quoting Adobe’s CMO:
“Imagine getting rid of every marketing process, structure, and hierarchy. Imagine marketing was just invented. What could it look like if we started from scratch right now? No matter where you start, you end up in the same place: making a connection with a customer. Marketers may do it in all different ways, but the intent is the same. Only the means are different. Today, marketing is structured around the means, not the end result.”
Quote From B Rencher (Adobe)