“Show Him the Money: a $25,000 Social Media Success Story”

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter… are all FREE social media tools. In this article I was interviewed by Tonya Taylor  the feature writer for social media at the local Baltimore Examiner.com. During this interview I briefly shared a few tips as to how I used social media tools to launch my business, and continue to leverage them to address my clients requirements. Of course, for competitive reasons I didn’t share everything.

To access the article entitled: “Show Him the Money: a $25,000 Social Media Success Story” you can click here: http://bit.ly/cIPLAe

Win,

Chris III

Amnesty in Social Networking

 

As usual, one day last month I was up late last night preparing my notes for the next day when I powered up my laptop and started looking at metrics associated with my Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn activities and I began to feel a little uneasy.

Why? I’m certain that some of the people within my social media sphere of influence accepted my invitation to connect quickly and without much thought because it was really the “polite” thing to do and would cause no harm (at least that’s what I did sometimes.) For that, I say “thank you for not hurting my feelings” but I want to give you an “out.” Let’s call it AMNESTY for Social Networking.

Almost exactly one year ago, I became an informal student, advocate, and passionate user of social media applications and platforms. And while I LOVE my virtual social interactions I took a bit of a break from blogging and tweeting to re-establish my bearings. What was  interesting about my hiatus is that I came across a few people who weren’t able to immediately understand that I’m not really the uploaded photo image in the 2-inch x 2-inch box, and that yes… I still enjoy a good verbal conversation or an occasional exchange of written content that exceeds our 140 character twitter limit. But as I’ve grown and matured around the technology, I was finally able to secure an answer to one of my most nagging social media questions:

How can one individual authentically manage hundreds, if not thousands of  social media relationships? Answer: They don’t. There’s simply not enough time in the day to do it

So, if you’ve got lots of social media connections and only a fraction of your interactions seem relevant,  lighten up, forgive yourself, and give your connections permission to break things off by declaring an informal amnesty. Simply drop a quick note of thanks to the folks who are following you and then invite them to drop you without penalty, hard feelings, or perception of ingratitude if they don’t believe your social relationship is mutually beneficial. Let’s keep it real here shall we? I’d rather be virtually connected to 3 people who actually want to have an exchange of thoughts and share experiences than to be myopically focused on monitoring the numerical growth of hundreds or thousands of followers. I mean, what’s  the point of talking if nobody’s listening?

As I researched the viability of my perspectives, I came across this video interview affirming my perspectives featuring Seth Godin: blogger extraordinaire, author, social media guru and icon. The result? Watch this 2-minute video and tell me what you think?

Win,

Chris Bell, III

High-Tech for High-Touch

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With the exponential proliferation and use of high-tech social media marketing tools like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, sales executives are now racing to develop and implement comprehensive, strategic business development plans for their sales teams that are relevant, realistic, and tactically results-oriented. The new buzz-word of the day for the integration of social media capabilities with sales is “Sales 2.0” (Have we really been using version 1.0 since the Stone Age?)

Anyway, it’s clear the old adage “you can’t manage what you can’t measure” presents itself as a unique challenge when a sales force begins to adopt and leverage social media tools to research, prospect, qualify, and drive their sales opportunities to closure. So where does one begin? Answer: With the end in mind.

In order to ensure that the time allotted to use Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn during business hours isn’t going to be misappropriated, a company’s business development and sales personnel should be expected to adhere to internal social media policies and to follow a marketing strategy that can connect to old-school metrics – the number of meetings or relevant encounters that were attained.  One of most difficult things to witness in a sales organization is the adoption of high-tech tools and methodologies without them being coupled to robust, systemic, high-touch follow-up. It’s akin to watching a modern-day Greek tragedy where the Achilles heel of a great entity is that it behaves as if virtual interactions and real world encounters are one in the same. Reality check: clients are not the .jpg image in that little box, and they don’t communicate in 140 characters or less in real life.

Now the obvious question is: when are Web 2.0 technologies coupled with social media capabilities successful without a high-touch component? Usually when the sales model is high volume and transactional in nature (typicallyanchored by a low cost, commoditized product or service.)However, if there is a complex buying process and the objective is to establish long-term collaborative relationships that result in large transactions, there’s simply no substitute for being able to shake a hand, read body language, have a conversation, and sit across from a client eyeball-to-eyeball, knee cap-to-knee cap to accelerate the speed of trust.

The awesome part about this sales era, is that we have a buffet of options and really great tools available to us as business development sales professionals. High-tech, for high-touch? Perhaps.