“Faulty execution of a winning combination has lost many a [chess] game on the very brink of victory. In such cases a player sees the winning idea, plays the winning sacrifice and then inverts the order of his follow-up moves or misses the really clinching point of his combination.” [Fred Reinfeld, 1959]
What is Social Media?
Social media are “spaces”, “platforms” & “media’ for social interaction,using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media uses web-based technologies to transform and broadcast media monologues into social media dialogues. They support the democratization of knowledge and information and transform people from content consumers to content producers.
The cultural changes happening today in social media are having a larger impact and will continue to have a larger impact on how people do business than the initial adoption rates of the Internet and email.
To the right are just some of the Social Media outlets. As the “Social Graph” expands to include more and more connections there is a trend toward “social specialized fragmentation” Just as The Medieval Period saw the growth of individualist thinking it also was the advent of trade guilds that could discuss industry specific problems. This is what is happening today. The more social media adoption occurs the more niche it becomes.
How branding has changed
There was a time, not all that long ago, that a “brand” was a faceless company that either had a good reputation or a bad reputation based upon individual customer experience.
People do Business with People
When you go into a restaurant and sit in your favorite server’s area, when you go to the same hair stylist and recommend them, you are doing exactly what social media does. You already do it in your personal life and your business life. You already know how. You are dealing with people whom you are comfortable with.
Brands today are now beginning to realize that they can “talk”
to customers and develop “personal” relationships. As a result,
personal brands are also being created as a result.
What is the Social Graph?
The Social Graph is how you connect to the various social media sites. Depending on your brands needs you can connect to a variety of specialized services that meet YOUR NEEDS.
At the left is an example of a Social Graph
This is visual representation of how your company and your personal social graph might look. They are interconnected.
Just as with your calendar where you put both your business appointments and your children's soccer schedule, social media integrates as part of your personal life. That's whyyou MUST insure that your PRIVACY settings are properly configured in your social media accounts.
Understanding the 4 C’s of Social Media
Just as you would not walk into a a social gathering and start yelling at the top of your lungs about how great your product or service is, you can't just enter into Social Media and start blasting out a sales message. It's a Community. If you want to be a part of it, take your time and meet some people
Consumers want entertained, informed, and educated. If they like
your content they will probably like you.
If you share good content
consistently over time they will likely begin to trust you and
thereby trust your brand. That means not only talking about what
you know, but sharing information that others have shared that
would be useful to your customers. If you're in a face-to-face
conversation with someone and they tell you to a interesting fact
or tidbit you share it with your friends. So although your
content is important to share, remember that person you've met that
only talks about what they want to talk about and dominate the
conversation? Remember how you walked away? Don't be
thatperson in your social media discussions.
What are “Conversations?” A comment on a blog post. A retweet. A comment on your LinkedIn or Facebook wall. A “LIKE” on a Facebook wall. Yes, it’s going to take some time to know what all of these new words are, but just like meeting a new group you need to take some time and try to learn the language. Remember, you're meeting these people for the first time so make a good impression. Just like trying to do business in a foreign country for the first time it's best to learn some of the language and customs so you don't offend someone.
Conversion is about closing the sale. The prospect or customer does the intended action you desire for your company. Simple right?
One of the biggest mistakes that Company owners and managers can make is delegating the Social Media to someone who understands the language of social media, all those words above, but doesn't fully understand their companies product or service. This becomes more of a problem the more technical the product or service.
If you where a auto manufacturer entering a new foreign market would you put someone in charge of your sales and marketing who had never driven a car? How many customers would trust your brand if the person sending out the message said "It's pretty amazing, you push down this pedal and you go faster" Although a very new concept to the person sending the message, it's probably common knowledge to most consumers in the market. If you delegate the Social Media to the person who understands the language but not the product or service, you're going to be sending out a message that implies that the people doing your social media for you really don't know much and can't help me. You've seen this before. What did you do? You removed them from the list of people you trust.
Nuts & Bolts
Here are some links you may find useful as you begin learning more about Social Media from Wikipedia:
The following article from GlobalSpec is worthwhile information about how purchasing decisions are being made:
How the Buy Cycle has Changed The four stages of the industrial buy cycle have remained constant over time. What’s changed, however, is how buyers go through the four stages. Today, online methods dominate the four stages of the buy cycle.
- Buyers conduct Research on the Internet
- Contact suppliers
- Request quotes online
- Compare supplier offerings using content found online
- Submit purchase orders online
Buyers use Search engines, Online catalogs, Supplier Web sites, Portal sites They gather data, review product specifications, view drawings and more—all online.
They often bookmark Web pages, download content, and print out information to share with other decision makers. Even traditional sales through offline channels such as purchase orders often are the result of buyers using online methods to move through the stages of the buy cycle.
Get Found Early in the Buy Cycle
In order to make the final short list of potential vendors, suppliers must get found in the early Needs Awareness and Research stages of the buy cycle. A GlobalSpec survey found that:
- 42% of buyers evaluate four or more suppliers during the Research stage.
- Only 26% of buyers get quotes from four or more suppliers during the later Procurement stage.
The conclusion is that as buyers move through the buy cycle, they eliminate suppliers from contention, as opposed to adding new potential suppliers to their short list. That’s why it’s so important to be found early
- 70% of buyers review four or more pieces of content for purchases greater than $10,000
- 17% of buyers review that much content for purchases under $1,000.
“Suppliers must create a robust library of content and make it available online to buyers. The content should be targeted to multiple different decision makers, such as the economic buyer seeking ROI and value vs. the end user seeking features and functionality.
Your content should include specification sheets, white papers, Webinars, e-newsletters, application notes and more. Only with this breadth and depth of content can you help build confidence in the buyer that your brand and solutions can meet their needs, and at the same time, distinguish your company from your competitors.” -GlobalSpec newsletter, March 23, 2010