How ‘Keeping Up’ With Social Media Will Sabotage Your Ability to Sell With It

What separates the leading social sellers from the aimless, follower marketers? Thinking. Sure, most of us believe we’re thinking about social media, but we’re actually just reacting to it. The sooner you stop reacting to every johnny-come-lately and defending against “the next big thing” in social media, the sooner you can start creatively applying existing strengths with the new social tool set. It’s the difference between an attitude of lack and one of abundance.

What separates the leading social sellers from the aimless, follower marketers? Thinking. Sure, most of us believe we’re thinking about social media, but we’re actually just reacting to it. The sooner you stop reacting to every johnny-come-lately and defending against “the next big thing” in social media, the sooner you can start creatively applying existing strengths with the new social tool set. It’s the difference between an attitude of lack and one of abundance.

Ignore the Deluge
“How do you keep up with all the change in social media, Jeff?”

I don’t. Keeping up with technologial change doesn’t grow my business. Adding new knowledge about Pinterest, Google+ and whatever might come next into my consciousness only inhibits success. Keeping pace with how, when and why customers are using social platforms might help grow my business and is where to focus attention.

The belief that we must keep pace with social technology arises out of a feeling, not an actual business need. Social media marketing feels very new, dangerously fast-paced, difficult to understand or define, and that’s a little scary. We’re only human, and like every new technology before it, it feels damn urgent to get involve with because … well, just because. Paradigms are changing yada-yada. Your business depends on it, right?

The truth is your business probably already has the answers it seeks from so-called social media experts.

Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing
Most social media platforms are solutions looking for problems that offer little, if any, immediate or future value to marketers. Consumer buying paradigms (their collective habits) are not actually revolutionizing, they’re just speeding up. Sure, once in a while something really useful comes along but even then it’s typically years before most of us can figure out how to apply it in ways that serve us. Why? Because we’ve lost track in keeping the main thing-customers-the main thing.

Social media has literally become the main thing! The conversation should be about how to sell stuff by innovating around customers’ problems, goals, fears or ambitions. Right? Instead, it often devolves into using social media to create conversations about the conversation. Whoops!

Social media has become “the main thing.”

Speed Up, Calm Down
The real opportunity for your business and you is to speed up and calm down. This has been the promise of every technological advance history has offered. We’re supposed to be launching, selling and distributing our products and services more efficiently to customers-and kicking our feet up a bit more. Right? Well, for some businesses, large and small, this is actually happening. Even kitchen cabinet dealers are selling with social media!

Hey, I know, the marketing world certainly didn’t ask for Facebook or Twitter. We didn’t need more ways to market our businesses. Social media just showed up at our door on a Wednesday night at 5 p.m. and invited itself over for dinner. “Hi, I’m social media. Need another dozen ways to do marketing?”

Who were we to say no? We let the well-dressed fella in. No sooner was he inside than he texted all his buddies to join in. So what did we do? We ordered take-out and outsourced to social media experts who, in fact, aren’t very expert because it’s new to them too!

Get Things in Order
In the end, we don’t think we have time to get creative in the kitchen feeding this beast, but we actually do. Therein lies the opportunity. The best “next step” you can take is to surround yourself with what you already know about customers. Find ways to leverage what you are already doing (outside of social media) that effectively creates and nurtures leads. Start using social media to give customers results in advance-a taste of success-in ways you can easily connect to the lead management process.

Next time a social media expert says something like, “You’ve got to be authentic, transparent, human and honest,” muster up the courage to say, “Well DUH, we didn’t build our businesses on a pack of fake, opaque, ogreish lies.” Now go get ’em!