Tag Archives: Social media training

Six Reasons Why Your Sales Folks Don’t Use Social Media

Last Friday, I conducted a social media training class for some of our sales folks. There was a room with many folks on a Friday, which was surprising considering it was optional and before lunch.

First, I love teaching about social media because I like to explain the real power behind the posts and tweets. I go through my deck and then ask if there are any questions. Things are looking good until the end. Then, there were crickets. No response, which from my teaching days I can tell you that’s bad. Asking again, one of the more seasoned sales guys and let’s say outwardly outspoken said this, “Rachel, I attend this session before. I think I can summarize that most of use don’t know where to spend our time if we have any.”

Now, for some of you are reading this and saying “typical sales guy.” I heard opportunity in his response. I addressed his answer, but I think there is a lot to that statement that got me thinking about the lack of adoption for most organization. Why is getting social media adopted a hard sell?

From my perspective, adoption is worth you spending time on. It is why me and our other marketing folks focus on sales and professional service. Why? Sales people are the front line to your business. They talk with your current and prospective clients. Good sales and professional services people generally have their ear to the ground and hear things before I do. I think it would a huge mistake not involving them because employees are your brand ambassadors.

So, why do sales folks not want to participate?

1)   Don’t see it as apart of their job.

While prospecting seems to go hand-and –hand with social, some sales folks stick with the traditional tried and true methods. Tip: Show Don’t Tell. I shared with the group how I research reporters and editors and then follow them on Twitter. Share their content. Send a note when I think a piece is awesome. It is a two-way conversation that doesn’t always have to be about my company.

Image from GetUWired.Us

Image from GetUWired.Us

2)   Don’t know how

No one wants to admit they don’t know how to use Twitter or Linkedin publically. So, we created an intranet group to teach folks. Remind people of the resources they have. If you don’t have any create them. I always have to remind myself that as an early adopter, I am ahead of the curve and not everyone is there yet.

Tip: Teach and Teach some more. I honor every request from our internal folks on how to use social media tools like Twitter or LinkedIn. While it not my role, I do believe you have to be a teacher to help folks adopt social media.

3)   Can figure out how to incorporate social media into their routine.

This is similar to point two, but I want to highlight that these folks have tried to incorporate social in the beginning of their excitement, then fall off the wagon. As Aristotle once said,“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

4)   Say their target market isn’t on social media

This is one of my favorites. So, the way I answer it is this: While true your senior stakeholder may not use Twitter or LinkedIn, I bet one of his/her influencers does. Someone you don’t have to go straight the top of an organization if you know who influences decisions. While the boss may sign the checks, someone is usually advising the boss on what to do.

5)   Not interested in learning

Not everyone wants to learn. Here my take on how to plan for it.

6)   Their boss doesn’t use social media and therefore they don’t.

This is a pretty common problem with any social media adoption. Training for senior leaders to not only encourage, but to participate.

Ultimately, I think most adoption problems are issues with use (utility if you will). If I don’t use something, I don’t see the value and cannot maximize the return on using it. So, in order to get more folks to adopt social media, you have to get them to jump in with both feet. Show them how to listen. Teach them how to share. And pack your patience. It is going to be a long road to adoption.

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Three Traits Social Media and Foreign Exchange Students Have in Common

Social media strategist and foreign exchange students have a lot in common surprisingly. Both speak and act differently than your usual run-of-the-mill communications or marketing professional.

The best part about working on social media projects is you get the chance to work with cool people both externally and internally. Last week, I had the opportunity to meet Liz Bullock, former Dell Social Media Director, to discuss all things social media.  Liz and I were chatting about some of the great and perhaps not so-awesome things that occur when you are moving your business from 1.0 to social.

It was great to speak with someone who, like me, had built a case for social media by stressing the importance of training and how it is key in adoption. Amen!  (If you haven’t heard me beat that drum loud and clear, training is vitally important to the business of social)

While these conversations were awesome, who doesn’t relish in the opportunity to commensurate. I expressed to Liz that I often feel like an anomaly; the only one who gets what social media is about. She laughed and said, “Not an anomaly, more like a foreign exchange student.” Intrigued, I asked her to explain. So here’s the gist of our conversation:

1)    Social media people speak another language. If tweets, shares, or retweets are in your vernacular, then you speak a foreign language. To be honest, social media strategists and their marketing counterparts could have done themselves a favor by speaking in business terms or outcomes right from the beginning.

Artwork originally found on www.herald-dispatch.com

Artwork originally found on http://www.herald-dispatch.com

Think about this in terms of explaining why a social program was successful to your manager or senior executive. It generally doesn’t work.

Solution: Don’t talk in terms of jargon, talk in business terms.  When I shared how we improved the customer experience by taking care of customer support issues via social media – that’s when executives started to listen. It wasn’t about the transactional metrics of “we have XX followers;” it was about mitigating risks and taking care of the customer. Taking care of your customers will equal in better relationships and ultimately more revenue opportunities.

2)   Not only do we speak a foreign language, but we also see the business world differently. Folks who truly understand the power of using social for business approach problems and invent solutions differently than most of their contemporaries. It is easy to understand why many companies run to the next shiny object (Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr) and create pages but grow disappointed when their expectations don’t match reality. Social media strategists understand that it is possible to build a social media nirvana, but it can’t be done without a plan.  Not planning is planning to fail- Hillary Clinton.

3)   People are nice, at first. Remember when you were in middle school or high school and you met the foreign exchange student? Everyone on the first day is so nice and accommodating. By week two, all those friendly faces forget that coming to the States is a hard transition and resort to calling their habits “strange.” When you introduce a new concept everyone is nice, but when it comes to implementation, the gloves are off. Change is hard folks, especially when it comes to changing your perception of what social is and how it can be applied to your day job.

Bonus: You’re different. Just like European tourists who rock fanny packs. It has been my experience that folks who work in social media tend to be the disruptive type. We question the status quo, we like to try new things, which is why we tend to adopt things earlier than everyone else.  The social role is changing, but it can only change for the better if you’re up to the challenge.

Fun Fact Fridays: How Content Creation Helped Create Corporate Change

While preparing for a speaking proposal last month, I pulled together case studies how content creation can help start a quiet revolution for corporate change. I am a big believer that everyone in your organization has the potential to help promote the brand. Over time, employees’ contribution to content will be more important than what is said in your media release or company’s newsletters. But, this is a huge shift on how most business are operating today. Often times the employee is an untapped resource when it comes to content and social media.

Challenges of Building Social Business

There are a lot of conversations about how company today need to preparing for Web 3.0.  While there are many articles about this topic, one that I found as an awesome resource is from the Altimeter group on the challenges corporate social strategists are facing with bring social to their business.  Anyone interested in social and how to bring it to your company should read it.

The report outline challenges that I had experience when building my current organization’s social strategy. Most organizations are still struggling how to use social media and control its brand on those channels.  I would say many social strategists already know that the paradigm of control is already shifting. Specific to public relations and social, I spoke about the important of earn media a few weeks ago and its impact.

Image from Walker Zine (UK)

Image from Walker Zine (UK)

This sparked the idea about how companies should better leverage their employees for social media (also outline in the Altimeter paper). But beyond that, I began think how do you leverage your employees’ talents for content? This question is vital especially since you cannot participate in social if you do not have any content to share.

With this in mind, here are some of my own case studies that highlight the importance of content creation and brand advocates.

Rebranding Project

I had the fortune of working on rebranding project last year that really was more of a corporate culture shift. So, a couple of things we did that helped not only our content machine, but also our business:

  • For the prelaunch of our brand initiative we created an internal campaign to get folks excited about the brand and why employees where critical to the success of the overall project. The month-long campaigns yielded 4700 opens, 640 click-throughs, 2600 views on its internal site, and 150 posts. Our internal campaign won the Bronze Stevie for Communications Campaign of the Year – Internal in 2012. I also talked about the campaign in-depth in AMA Marketing News.
  • We assigned brand ambassadors for each department. They helped disseminate the message and distributed templates to their teams.
  • We went to each office (US, UK, and Australia) and kicked off the brand launch through targeted activities including what the new brand meant, architecture, how to talk about it, its impact on our marketing (example: events and webinars), and how to use it in terms of their daily work.  It was important that every office get the full impact and exposure of how important this initiative was.
  • Fun fact: I led our APAC brand launch in our Australia market. I spent my downtown touring Australia and where I took the photo for my blog. The photo is of The Twelve Apostles. If you don’t know where this is, it was taken from Port Campbell National Park on the Great Ocean Road, outside Melbourne, Australia.

Company Blog

  • We created a blog where internal (as well as external) folks can share their passion and expertise. To help folks with writing, we crafted guidelines to establish our brand messaging and overall tone. So far my corporate blog, which started in June 2012, has 21,000 page views, garners 2300 unique visitors a month with an average 2 minutes on site engagement.
  • Everyone has the chance to participate. We sought out folks who had something to say. Sometime, it was the customer support rep and other times it was our division leaders. We search high and low in the organization and didn’t use title as a prerequisite to contribute.
  • In order to quell my stakeholders’ need for equitable sharing of resources, we created an editorial calendar to make sure we had equal share of voice across business interests both domestic and international.

Social Media

  • After we streamlined some of our social assets, I led a few workshops how employees can use social more in their work.
  • As I wrote in my previous post, if you want your company to be more social train your people.
  • In addition to training, you need to provide some type of guidelines or playbook.
  • In addition to the playbook and training, we showed folks where to go to find content in addition to their own.
  • I repeated training, playbook, and where to find content often.
  • I encourage folks to follow me and other folks to find content.
  • I trained anyone independently when they asked. I am a true believer that mentoring and coaching are the keys to adoption.

While I don’t believe the above case studies were different or unique, the point of those are you can start a quiet revolution by planning small, but delivering big results.

Fun Fact Fridays: 8 Tips to Humanize Your Brand through Social Media

I had the chance to catch up with a former client about the success of his business. While he has double his business over the last few years, he is always looking for marketing advice. And I am always happy to give my two cents on how to use social media to drive awareness and traffic to your website. Over lunch, the conversation went from marketing to the benefits of social media and how it could humanize his brand.

We started chatting about how to get people to his site.  The usual tactics were employed: we have a blog; we work with our affinity partners, etc.

Then I started peppering him with questions like:

“Great, you have blog. How often are you updating it, are you consistently publishing relevant and informative content, have you optimized the blog for keywords, do your employees share the information with others, are your employees contributing to the blog?”

Then I ask my favorite question, “ Are you using social coupled with your blog to personalized the people in your company?”

His answer: Well…We should do more.

Our conversation got me thinking about how to humanize brands. While I am not a proponent of tactics driving strategy for social media, I think you first need to consider why your company should be social.  You need to have

People. Objective. Strategy. Technology

People. Objective. Strategy. Technology

purpose in your company’s social media efforts, it is all about P.O.S.T.

If you need a reason, here is one: social media is creating a two-way dialogue with people. Social media also produces almost double the marketing leads of trade shows, telemarketing, direct mail, or PPC according to a recent study by Hubspot this year.

And let’s be clear, people are searching for your product or company way before they pick up the phone or send an email of interest. While the sales process is not necessarily longer, however, prospects have more resources to research your product online. Why not give them information to support each stage of the buying cycle.

So here are some tactics to consider;

1)   If you don’t have folks outside marketing contributing to your blog. Start today. You need employees to share industry news and trends. 

2)   Anyone working for your company should be positively promoting your organization through sharing industry news or company articles not always about you, but topics your current and potential customers care about.

3)   Worried that folks don’t get social media? Give them a playbook to help them understand how to use it professionally.

4)   People need guidelines, consider creating a social media policy.

5)   Don’t expect people to jump in and understand what you want them to do socially, train them.

6)   Have employees contribute to your blog on their interest.

7)   Encourage your folks to follow your social media channels and reshare to their followers.

8)   Be the influence and guide by your example.

Bonus. You need content to share right? Start using your employees to generate content for your blog

1)   The number on rule for your blog should be S.F.T.C (Solve for the Customer).

2)   Interview both employees and clients for the blog using a Q and A format.

3)   Have clients share best practices.

4)   Blogs are not exclusively for executives. Everyone should contribute.

5)   If you don’t make the blog a priority, no one else will.

How to Run an Internal Social Media Training Workshop

So, you want to make your organization more social? Congratulations. It’s a smart move given that social media produces almost double the marketing leads of trade shows, telemarketing, direct mail, or PPC according to a recent study by Hubspot this year.

If you cannot budget funding for a social media strategist to come in, how can you run an internal social media workshop? Couple of things you need to realize and do in order to be successful.

Step 1: Not Everyone Will Participate

Accept this now. Not everyone in your organization with jump on the social media bandwagon. I learned this the hard way. Even after running multiple workshops on how you can sell, engage, and network more there are still people who will throw their hands up and say, “I don’t have time for this.” Leverage the folks who already using social media to influence others. If you can get even 10 percent more people involved in your companies social media efforts it is a win. Not everyone will be an adopter to this new medium, so plan for it.

Step 2: Create a Playbook

Single best advice I every received was from Wendy, director of digital strategy from the Red Cross. I attended her session at DC’s Social Media Week in 2012 in which she shared with the audience this nugget, “you need to provide people with guidelines.” So simply, but this step is often overlooked.

Embracing this concept, my social media specialist and I developed a social media playbook. Best thing I did because it outlined the foundation of what I was expecting from employees, social media tips, best practices when engaging online. Don’t assume people will understand how social media works. The playbook is key in training.  I outlined what should be included in a social media playbook in a post last year titled Social Media Needs to Involve Others, but There’s a Catch. Here is my personal example to use as a reference on how you can build a playbook.

 

 

Step 3: Practice What Your Preach

Most likely if you are running this workshop, you are already using social media. If you are not active using social media, then get active. You can’t expect people in your company to take you seriously if you are not actually using social media.  You don’t have to be a social media ninja, guru, or change agent to convey the best practices. You just need to be enthusiastic and passionate. I got involved in social media back in 2008 when I figured out how that word of mouth marketing was going digital.  This doesn’t mean you can’t get there; just don’t think you need some fancy title to deliver a quality program. Answer these questions and you will be well on your way, “Why Should I Care?” and “What’s In It For Me?”

Step 4: Build Your Workshop for Beginners

For the most part, if you are kicking off a workshop, you need to design it with the beginner in mind.  Why? Most folks are using social media for personal connections (hello, most people have a Facebook account and think just having an account is what social media is about). Think of this presentation as a selling your team on the concept. Don’t assume they know anything. When I developed my social media workshop I tried to create a presentation that was interactive and informative. It was filled with plenty of best practices and examples for folks to us. Here is an excerpt.

Step 5: Repetition is Learning

Perhaps my experience teaching was a great primer for teaching adults to use social media. Don’t think you will do this workshop and that is the end. “One and Done” it is not. Plan on folks to ask questions and follow up with you. For people who were generally confused or didn’t know how to do something on Twitter or LinkedIn, I organized meetings to review.  We also created an internal social media group on our intranet to upload articles and tips to help folks along. Essentially, I never stopped teaching. Whether it was by example or direct meetings with folks, I had an open door policy for folks to ask questions. Best thing you can do to create internal advocates for social media is to be a teacher. Be accessible and open.