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Social Media has leveled the playing field. What’s your game plan?

February 3, 2011

Courtesy of National Recreation and Park AssociationAs with any sales process, a large factor in an organization’s ability to promote and sell professional services is the ability to project their expertise and competence.  There’s a sense that the Internet and social media have “leveled the playing field,” giving smaller businesses the ability to compete and thrive. So what’s your game plan?

You Have a Web-site, Maybe a Newsletter. Now What?

What is the value proposition of social media? There, I said it. To me, social media is the “Internet Megaphone.” It’s not going to make your message any better, but it does give you an opportunity to reach a much wider audience. What are your tools? Blogging, LinkedIn, Twitter – there are many. However, if you are merely translating your traditional media strategy to social media, you’re missing a whole lot.  Are you communicating in the language of social media? What is that language?

It’s All About Engagement

Social media presents some interesting and powerful opportunities to reach a wide audience.   But “swimming in the social stream” is not without it’s caveats. Consumers and businesses alike are jaded to sales pitches and being “marketed at.” There is a fine line between adding to the conversation and alienating your potential customers. In some ways social media is raising the bar, challenging marketers to not just sell but provide additional value within their message.

So we have a challenging dichotomy: there’s a fear in social media that we’re giving too much away, but content seems to be the currency. I wrote a blog a while back called The Age of Thought Leadership in which I discuss the concept of knowledge abundance vs, knowledge scarcity. Which side are you on? Does it matter?

They Said WHAT About Me?

Social media has also given power to your customers. That’s right. Your customers now have the ability to get information about your business from sources other than you! More than that, they can get information from each other about you. Are you listening to what your customers are saying about you? Are you participating in the conversation?

You’re going to tell me that’s customer service, not marketing. Is it? Is there really a difference anymore?

Marshall McLuhan famously said “the medium is the message.” While we’re not ready to throw the baby of traditional marketing and customer service out with the bath water, it’s clear that new skills and new techniques are required these days to be successful.

My Game Plan

My value proposition for social media is:

  • Sharing – Using blogs to take advantage of the Internet megaphone, to amplify conversations I have with prospects, customers and colleagues. (“Who’s Going To Read My  Blog?”);
  • News Feed – Participate in a global conversation.  All forms of microblogging (Twitter, LinkedIN, et al ). Yes, and commenting on other blogs (“4 Reasons I Like Twitter“);
  • Collaboration – Using tools to directly connect and exchange ideas, like instant-messaging (Email, Skype, Twitter DM, et al) (“Social Media is the New Water Cooler“);
  • Transparency – Making it easier for others to understand MY value proposition (“3 Reasons YOU Are Not a Thought Leader“);

So, what’s YOUR game plan?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 4, 2011 12:54 pm

    You are right on with this post. It really is all about engagement. Social media is a megaphone, but what is your message. Love the analogies, they hit at the ideas underlying what is happening online. The way people interact on a fundamental level has not changed, just the tools.

    When someone runs into a room and starts shouting their message, people tune them out very quickly (or kick them out of the room). Same thing happens on twitter, linkedin, any other social network.

    Thank you for sharing this post.


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