How to Hire a Social Media Manager Who Can Sell

Need to hire a social media manager, freelancer or agency … or get your current resource focused on sales? Here’s a quick way to get everyone aimed at the goal: engagement that creates leads, referrals and sales, not just shares, comments and followers.

Need to hire a social media manager, freelancer or agency … or get your current resource focused on sales? Here’s a quick way to get everyone aimed at the goal: engagement that creates leads, referrals and sales, not just shares, comments and followers.

3 Phrases to Watch Out For
There are three “red flag” phrases to watch out for in the interview process, during weekly meetings or in performance reviews. These are:

1. “People are not on social media to be sold.” If your social media manager or candidate tells you this, it’s a warning sign. Pay attention! I’ll show you why this belief is so dangerous in detail below.

2. “Marketing and advertising are long-term, not instant.” In short, any good seller or marketer (you) already understands and appreciates this. The statement is a hedge.

3. “Social media marketing is mostly about building brand equity (as opposed to selling).” Indeed, but this presumes getting and maintaining brand equity is not about selling.

“You don’t sell someone something by engagement, conversation and relationship. You create engagement, conversation and relationships by selling them something,” says Bob Hoffman, CEO at Hoffman Lewis.

In many cases, any one (or all) of these phrases can be signs of a belief system that does not take responsibility for strategies like blogging for lead generation. Tactics supporting this viewpoint are often made by social media managers who don’t know how (or don’t want) to take responsibility for generating sales.

To be clear, this exercise is not about judging your social media manager personally. I’m sure he or she is a great person. This is about making sure you know how to hire a social media manager who can sell.

“People Are Not on Social Media to Be Sold”
This one is the most dangerous. It sounds totally rational and a little part of each of us can relate to this claim—until you think about it for a minute.

For the sake of argument, let’s say it IS true. People don’t go to social media to be sold. But do they turn to social media to solve problems? Have you? Or have you ever turned to Facebook to discover short-cuts to doing something really important to you?

Do people ever turn to blogs or YouTube to discover new ways to achieve goals?

Sure they do. As people do these things they often end up meeting businesses that can help them. Some people end up being courted by those businesses via social media or email lead nurturing. Some prospects even convert to customers—they purchase!

Many of us are selling on social media every day.

Consider the millions of people each day that:

  • query Google about a problem they need solved or a goal they want to reach;
  • end up at a blog;
  • sign up for an ebook or educational video series;
  • end up buying from the blog owner a few months later.

Sandy Isaacs, owner of events company, Break Away Moments, said to me recently, “Why would one opt to become part of (social media) sites if you are not wanting to either promote yourself with what you have to offer or, in turn, wish to gain as information from others especially, based on your own interests as well?”

You Better Watch Out, You Better Not Cry
You’d better not pout about the in-effectiveness of your social media execution. I’m tellin’ you why. Saying that people are not on social media to be sold ignores both reality and the central tenant of effective online lead generation:

Helping customers (who are hungry for solutions) problem—solve in ways that give them enough confidence to buy.

Bottom line on how to hire a social media manager: Don’t hire anyone who tells you that marketing isn’t responsible for generating sales in directly or indirectly … in some way, shape or form. Watch out for the above phrases exiting the mouths of your interviewees or employees.

Also, remember to focus on the questions your social media manager asks YOU … not just answers they offer to questions you ask them.

That’s how to hire a social media manager who’s focused on leads and sales.

Good luck!

Introducing ‘The Integrated Email’ Blog by Debra Ellis

Why is email marketing so effective? Is it the one-to-one communication, ability to connect with customers and prospects on the go, or the provision of instant gratification with one-click shopping? The answer depends on the company and the customer relationship, but there is one universal truth: The combination of interactive communication with self-service solutions makes email the most versatile tool in a marketing workshop.

Why is email marketing so effective? Is it the one-to-one communication, ability to connect with customers and prospects on the go, or the provision of instant gratification with one-click shopping? The answer depends on the company and the customer relationship, but there is one universal truth: The combination of interactive communication with self-service solutions makes email the most versatile tool in a marketing workshop.

My experience with email marketing began shortly after Hotmail launched the first Web-based email service in 1996. A client had compiled approximately 11,000 customer email addresses and wondered what we could do with them. Our first test was a 25 percent discount on any order placed that day. A text-only message was sent using the mail merge functionality in Excel and Outlook. It took over two hours to send all the emails.

Those two hours were quite exciting. We had two computers in close proximity so we could watch the progress of the outgoing emails and monitor sales on the website. Within minutes of starting the email transmissions, orders started flowing in. By the end of the day, more than 1900 orders were received. A handful of people asked to be excluded from future mailings. Over 200 people responded with personal notes. Some were grateful for the discount. Others apologized for not placing an order and asked to receive more emails.

Things are much different today. The novelty of receiving a personalized message from a company is long gone. Spam filters make getting emails delivered a near impossible mission. And the competition for recipients’ attention is at an all-time high. Even so, email marketing remains one of most effective marketing and service vehicles available.

The emails that deliver the best return on investment are the ones that are integrated with the other marketing channels to provide information and service to the recipients. They create a connection between company and customer that motivates people to respond. A successful email marketing strategy builds loyalty while increasing sales.

Many email campaigns today are little more than a systematic generation of one promotional email after another. Discount emails are relatively easy to create and deliver sales with each send, making them a quick way to inject some life into lagging sales. The simplicity of sale marketing combined with solid response rates creates an environment where marketers are reluctant to move beyond the easy, low-hanging fruit.

In addition to generating sales, discount marketing also trains people to always look for the best price before buying the company’s products and services. It is not a sustainable strategy because there will always be another company that can offer lower prices and lure customers away. A better plan is to develop an integrated email marketing strategy that educates and encourages people to develop a relationship with the company. This requires more effort, but it delivers loyalty and long-term results.

Every email that a customer or prospect receives is an opportunity for the company to establish itself as the best service provider and solidify the relationship. Best practices include:

  • Using a valid return email address so the recipient can respond with one click.
  • Sending branded emails that identify your company at first glance.
  • Mixing educational emails that provide “how to” information for products and services with new product launches and promotional messages.
  • Transactional emails that communicate shipping information and challenges so customers aren’t left wondering, “Where is my order?”
  • Highly targeted and personalized emails designed to engage customers and prospects at every point in their lifespan.

Finding the right combination of educational, event and promotional emails requires testing and measuring results for incremental improvements. The resources invested improve relationships, increase sales and create a sustainable marketing strategy.

Note: Over the next few months, we’ll feature winning and losing email marketing strategies and campaigns on this blog. If you would like to share your company’s killer emails, send them to Debra at dellis@wilsonellisconsulting.com.