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This Social Media Thing

I’ve been using LinkedIn for years.  Been writing about it and recommending it as well.  I’ve introduced some out-of-work sales leaders to some of my contacts, did some informal research, got connected to old contacts.  It’s a very useful tool for business.

During this past holiday, I decided to spend some time on Facebook and Twitter.  I guess the phrase “some time” isn’t appropriate.  Those apps can sure suck you in.

No question it’s fun playing with that stuff.  But is it of business value?  It certain is for many people.  One example is Julie Roads, a business writer here on Martha’s Vineyard.  She’s on Twitter all the time.  She gets a fair amount of work through Twitter.  In fact, ESR might wind up using her services going forward.  She made a great point to me on the phone last week.  Yes, all our Twittering and email led to a real phone call!  She said that she communicates with people about many aspects of her life and makes a lot of business connections that way.  She found me on Twitter because we both live on MV.  Proves the point.

Facebook is another story.  I have been connecting with old friends, family, and some business associates.  Making some new “friends” as well.  But I really don’t feel comfortable being friends with everyone.  Too much personal stuff, I think.

The other thing is that I don’t believe there are too many of the people that ESR sells to on Twitter or Facebook. Lots and lots of marketing people.  Sales leaders?  I’m not so sure.  Thats just my impression so far.  If that turns out to be the case, I’ll be spending less time there.

I’ve got a very busy month coming up, so I’ll get to see how this really works out.   I’ll keep you posted…

Photo credit: © driad – Fotolia.com


20 Responses

  1. Hi, Dave,

    I don’t find Facebook useful for business at all, just for friends & family, though a couple of Facebook contacts (e.g., old college friends) have migrated to become business connections.

    Twitter’s value is hard to pin down. There are lots of social media professionals out there, but also some great business thinkers (@fredwilson and @amcafee are two I’d recommend highly). I’ve made several business contacts via Twitter, but being very selective about whom to follow is important. Also, a tool like TweetDeck allows you to segment people whose every Tweet you want to read from the larger mass of people you follow.

    Also, for people you already know who are on Twitter, it’s a great way to communicate very quickly with them.

  2. Concur with both of you on Facebook.

    And, Dave, you know I’m a big fan of yours, but I’m not a big fan of blogs and newsletters. With the exception of the crème at the top (you, Gitomer, Farrington, Godin, etc.), our targets (sales execs and other execs) have WAY too little time to read the glut of content out there. So for the lion’s share of individual & orgs, it’s a bit of a resource waste to invest in communications that aren’t touching their targets.

    I also don’t “follow” many folks yet, but twice today I went and read blog entries that I was enticed to read by twitter.

    I think twitter is a fab micro-blog tool – cool way to deliver concise, compelling, just-in-time stuff to our communities.

    Yes, our targets aren’t on twitter yet, but I continue to promote twitter as a tool for sales organizations. I think internal IT could be our biggest stumbling block. WIll be interesting to see how it develops.

    (altho after reading your opinion on “Tips” I almost changed my mind.


    • Maureen,

      I’m always interested in your comments and perspectives.

      You’re right about sales execs not reading a lot of the content. In fact, I was a bit discouraged early on with my blog. Most of the readers were sales trainers themselves. I’m now more encouraged because many of the subscribers are, in fact, sales leaders. Also, I know that sales training company CEOs forward relevant blog posts of mine to their clients and prospects–who are my prospects as well. I have the same thing going on with other companies as well, such as tech companies. They’re using my stuff to help them sell. At least that’s what the end customers are telling us. My blog posts are making the rounds. I’ll keep writing them, at least for the time being.

      Finally, part of my mission is in education CEOs, COOs, and especially VPs of sales that sales departments in general are dysfunctional and something has to be done about it. It’s a bit of a Don Quixote thing, I know, but that’s part of the contribution I want to make to the profession of selling. My ongoing rant about sales tips, hiring and process are just three of the things that most sales organizations can’t do well.

      Take care, Maureen.

  3. Dave,

    I agree, there’s not a lot of Sales Leaders on twitter yet. I have some CEO clients on it now, and mostly they see it as a novelty although a couple of them have surprisingly developed some good business relationships. For me It gives me access to a lot of PR professionals and journalists and I’ve managed to fill some audiences ( paid attendees) using it to market seminars (combined with traditional marketing of course).

    I believe it’s still in the “early adopter” stage and I don’t know about you but I have found large sales organizations and large companies to be slow to adopt. There’s opportunity there but it’s shrouded in a lot of chatter.

    The challenge is most people put their big toe in the water; they will not know the real ROI until they jump in with both feet. I’m giving it 12 months. On month 6 now.


    Shane Gibson

  4. Dave,
    I, like you, have used the last month to dive into Facebook and Twitter and have come to similar conclusions about the current frequent users of both. However, I believe this is going to change pretty quickly as people “jump in”. I think the landscape will definitely be different in 6 months.
    Also, a young man like yourself will be around as an advisor and mentor to the new sales leaders 10 years from now. They will definitely be connecting this way, to their collegues, clients and prospects (IMHO).

    • Thanks Brad, for your comment. If sales leaders don’t adopt the new social media, they are going to miss out, big time. Not to communicate and connect with each other—it’s their buyers who they have to connect with. The marketing types have sure figured this out. Lots of them are making money off this.


  5. I often see the Social Media discussion being limited to Facebook, MySpace or Linked In. While Linked In clearly has business benefits for prospecting, Facebook and MySpace are a waste of effort for business users. That being said, the ROI of enterprise collaboration systems is easier to see.

    -Users have context to collaborate (their jobs)
    -The experts become the trainers
    -Potential to make organizations more efficient since they can find contributed content.

    Social Networking has great potential to achive ROI for consumer and B to B applications it is clear that one tool will not fit all the needs.

    • I completely understand your point about enterprise collaboration systems, Tim. My firm has done research on that technology and recommend it to many of our clients for precisely the reasons you mention.

      It’s the “enterprise” part that the social media apps are going outside of. I know a lot of business people who are finding prospects, building relationships with them and closing business, mostly through Twitter (much less so through Facebook, I agree.) I don’t see any real B2B business value to MySpace at this point.

      Notice the comment by Brad Childress above. He’s a world-class expert in B2B selling. I think he’s right. But I’m not certain. Jury is still out.

      Again, thanks for the comment. You’re not a lurker!

  6. I have been digging into many of these options lately. My biggest realization is that the social media angle can be more than a full-time job. Right now, I am picking 1-2 of these tools and investing a set amount of time on them. Seems to be working for me now. I’ll keep you posted.

    On blogs, reading these can also be a full-time job and many aren’t as worth the time to read. Again, I pick a handful of the top ones and stay tuned that way.

    Also, I do love your blog and have recommended it and ESR (esp the Sales Training Vendor Guide) to almost all of my clients and prospects who lead large sales forces. Thanks for the great work!


    • Jill,

      No question that there is a lot more stuff out there than anyone would have time to read. I use Bloglines as a blog aggregator. Works well. Still trying to figure the rest out.

      And thanks for the referrals, Jill. Much appreciated.

  7. I see companies adopting Twitter as a compliment to their blogs and as a new medium to reach existing and new customers. Brent Leary (http://www.brentleary.com) has some great insights on the power of Twitter and social CRM for the SMBs.

    Also, I am another fan of TweetDeck. It helps me separate tweets from friends, business contacts, and others.

  8. Dave,

    I agree with your view of Facebook in that it lacks any appreciable business fit. I am on FaceBook, yet I often wonder why? The excessive exchange of personal information and commentary has nothing to do business, knowledge share or professional growth. It seems to be more suited for those who like to read about the personal exploits of others. LinkedIn has been a fabulous resource for me!

    Keep your views coming – I find them on point and thought provoking.


  9. Dave — I’ve been using LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter for many months now. I like LinkedIn as a sales tool — it has definitely been helpful for account research and warming up what otherwise would have been completely cold calls. Coupled with other contact research tools, like Jigsaw and ZoomInfo, I find I can get a clear picture of key contacts for sales calls. (FYI – I wrote a review of LinkedIn from a sales pro perspective on my personal blog at http://sellinggeek.com/selling-geek-podcast-5-linkedin-the-social-network-for-business/)

    Twitter, on the other hand, seems nearly useless to me as a selling tool. It’s an automated mass notification system, nothing more. I keep looking for applications for Twitter that might make it more appealing to salespeople, but every time I think I’ve found one, I realize that there are too many other tools that do the job better and faster. Yes, I’m still on Twitter, but only because I feel I have to be, not because of any sales utility there. (FYI – I also wrote a review of Twitter, again from a sales perspective, at http://sellinggeek.com/selling-geek-podcast-4-twitter-what-is-it-good-for/)

    As for Facebook — well, I think the jury is still out for me there. As a fun place to reconnect with friends, it certainly works very well. As a sales tool — meh, not so much. But perhaps someone might write a Facebook app that makes it more LinkedIn-like, and then I might get more excited.

    My two cents worth….

  10. Dave,
    this is a great post and a great exchange of ideas from your readers. You and your community have engaged in probably the most intelligent exchange on social media for the B2B world that I’ve read anywhere.

    Well done.


  11. Recesion has affected us all.We have to do more efforts to stay in business.Facebook is not good for business connections.Thanks for sharing your thoughts

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