Scare tactics proliferated by those who stand to benefit most from the fear they incite, have a certain place in my list of bad actors. I try my best to deflect their falsities by providing clear, authentic and helpful information (while not calling them out on their stuff) but this time I just can’t stand by and watch it happen. Don’t let social media fear mongers impede your ability to effectively attract, engage and sell to modern, connected buyers.
Just this week, I became aware of a legal firm spreading unwarranted alarm about employee use of social media. These social media fear mongers are dangerous to every business because they prey on the novice business owner or manager; they exploit the lack of information business owners and marketers may or may not have.
When you’re busy with daily operations, it’s good to look for shortcuts but when it comes to quality information about business operations, you need to do your homework.
Enough social media obstacles already.
In a world where too many obstacles already exist in understanding and accomplishing digital and social media marketing success, the last thing we need are twisted truths perpetrated on unsuspecting companies who are simply in need of quality information.
Let me paint you a picture of the type if misinformation that’s spreading its tentacles into your business today. This one deserves a place on the mantle of the Social Media Fear Mongering Hall of Fame.
1. MySpace? Seriously?
The first thing that set me off was the fear monger’s explanation of the social media channels available to individuals today: “Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram and…MySpace.”
Yes, you read that right: MySpace. Um, did we go to sleep and wake up in 2007? MySpace died a slow, agonizing, NewsCorp-induced death circa 2008 and was sadly on life-support for a few years. It’s about as passe as well…MySpace!
If you’re going to provoke fear in order to benefit from the result of it, at least mention the social channels that are in use today. My fear is that somebody told these attorneys what’s hot and they took it as gospel; as “the law” without really vetting their information. (Kinda scary if you’re a client of theirs, eh?)
2. Cutting off a preferred form of communication with customers.
Fear monger: “Social media use by employees equates to lack of productivity and loss of company assets. That’s why employees need to be told that social networking is for break time and after hours.”
Now, I agree that if you don’t have your act together with a company culture that’s ready for prime time and you’re lacking a solid social media policy for employees then yes, you will suffer a lack of productivity and loss of company assets. But if you’re the type to forego giving employees guidelines in any initiative that involves their participation, you’re already suffering losses.
Social media is not for every business. If you believe it may be good for your business, take every bit of information you get (including mine) with a healthy sense of skepticism.
Here’s the social media reality:
Today’s tech-savvy consumers want their online questions to be addressed promptly; 42% expect a response within one hour. (Gigya)
- 33% of users prefer to contact brands using social media rather than the telephone. (Nielsen)
- 83% of respondents in a recent survey said they liked—or even loved—when a company responded to them on social. (Convince and Convert)
With these stats (and many more) pointing to social media being a reliable, preferred way to communicate with customers, why would you restrict the use of it by employees…especially your salespeople?
If your customers are online and your products are online, why wouldn’t your salespeople be online?
3. Destroy any chance of social selling converting leads and sales.
Fear monger: “Employees should be told that when they choose to “blog” or engage in on-line chats about work-related matters, they are not representing the company.”
Translation: “Let’s make sure we never leverage our employees’ expertise or support them to provide value to our customers.”
Fact: The purchase decision is made more than 70% of the time before the customer ever physically walks through the door. The best way to identify, engage and compel your market to choose you is to enlist salespeople to adopt social selling techniques.
In today’s marketplace, salespeople are teachers.
It’s no secret that successful salespeople are helpers first. In fact, they’re passionate about it. They listen carefully, ask the right questions, get to know their customers as individuals and assist them in their purchase decisions.
Social selling (leveraging social media to network, prospect, and to give and get referrals) is the key to connecting with your customers before their decision is made.
Guiding and coaching your salespeople in social selling tactics lets you enjoy the benefits of ‘brand advocacy.’ Your brand advocates are an extension of your business and are an integral part of your growth and success.
Call me crazy but isn’t it just better to approach social media with a positive, peaceful, authentic, curious and lead-generating mindset than to come at it with a double-barrel shotgun ready to mow down anyone who dares to jump outside the approved lines?
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” ~Ben Franklin
By all means, secure your company’s assets with the right measure of policies and procedures. Just don’t fall for every doomsday scenario an attorney spews.
Information is power.
Education is the movement from darkness to light.
Combat social media fear mongers with sensible, pragmatic standards. Calibrate your marketing goals, employee participation and brand security. Don’t let misinformation sabotage your success.