To quote this research from from Edinburgh University
"What the decision-makers made clear to us was that the most significant influence on their commitment to a supplier was its presence on LinkedIn. This may be explained by the purpose of LinkedIn, which offers a closer bond than the one-way relationship often found on Twitter and Facebook. The expectation of a supplier having a presence on LinkedIn may also offer a sense of security and transparency."
Gone of the days were your checked out somebody's website, now you check a company and its employees out on Linkedin.
The Rise and Rise of Social Media
Yesterday, one of my team post this article that TikTok was installed more than 87 million times in June.
Now I realise that you are probably thinking that this has nothing to do with your business, that maybe so, but it does show a swing to using social media during lock down. It also shows that people are comfortable with social media and use it as part of their day to day lives.
And, a way of life that people are getting used to.
Do You Wear a Disguise to Work?
Back in the days before Covid19, there seemed to be two ways of thinking. What we did at home and what we did at work and they, we were told were different.
At the weekend, people would sit in cafes, get out their mobiles and search to buy things. All in salesperson avoidance mode. In our personal lives we hate all forms of interruption marketing, advertising, we fast forward through any ads on the TV or change the channel. We set our iPhones up, since the introduction of iOS13 so we no longer get cold calls. We unsubscribe from spam emails.
We hate all this stuff.
I've just had somebody add me to their email list, so I immediately unsubscribed. Why would I want an email telling me how great your product is in my inbox, of course, I don't, I don't care about your product.
(I digress, Seth Godin, who must be one of the world's best Marketers says of email lists. "If you have an email list, one week / month don't send it and see how many people call you up and say "where's the email?"" That is the true measure of your email list. Sorry, I digress for a second.)
So why is it that in the days before Covid19, did we drive to work, ignore the advert on the back of the bus, turn the radio station over when the adverts come on. Get into work and commission more, advertising, email and cold calling?
It seems that as soon as we go to work we put on a "disguise" and we hide from everything that we know is true and we know this because we know this from our personal lives ..... when we put on this disguise we forget everything we know and go back to marketing like people did in the last century.
(Advertising was invented, in 1930, cold calling 1980 and email marketing 1990).
The New Normal is Digital
So when Stéphanie Genin, vice president of global enterprise marketing at social media management firm Hootsuite said this, I wasn't surprised, are you?
“After weeks of adapting to Zoom parties, video appointments with doctors, online schooling, social distancing and tapping into social media for virtually everything, will people be happy to go back to their old ways of working and engaging with each other?”
she then goes on to ask.
“The answer will be no. Social media has been holding communities together and organisations will need to assess how to manage the new normal.”
We are Comfortable With being Online and So Are Your Buyers
This has a massive impact for social media in the way it's used by all of us. In the past social media was seen as a tactic. You posted something on social, nothing happened, which just proved it didn't work.
My advice is that you should check out Simon Kemp's - Digital 2020 - Global Snapshot in he says
"The world has changed dramatically over the first three months of 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic impacting almost every aspect of our lives. These changes have been clearly evident in the world’s digital behaviours too, especially as billions of people turn to connected devices to help them cope with life and work under lockdown."
He goes on to say.
"The latest data show that the number of internet users and social media users around the world have both increased by more than 300 million over the past twelve months, despite delays in reporting in some key countries due to the coronavirus outbreak.
DataReportal analysis indicates that 4.57 billion people now use the internet, an increase of more than 7 percent since this time last year. Social media users are growing even faster, up by more than 8 percent since April 2019 to reach 3.81 billion today."
To give you some idea of the shift to digital in the last few months, TikTok was installed more than 87 million times in June. I totally get that TikTok isn't seen as a business social platform, but the point is that people have moved to social, they get used to it in their personal lives and bring that B2C expectation to their B2B work life.
The “problem” that companies have today is that they position their company as “buy my products because they are great”.
This is fundamentally flawed because everybody, including their competitors, say exactly the same. We know this from our own experiences.
You are just a zebra in a herd of zebras.
As a buyer, I know nothing about what your company does so how do I make a choice when all products sound the same? You may say that your company is different or you don’t have competitors but I can show you companies that look and sound the same.
So when you say "buy my product because it's great" it is what everybody says and you are "just another product" and your salespeople are "just another salesperson" with the same generic message.
Why Buying Today is Just a Blur
Your buyer is just like me, we know nothing about your company and you look like everybody else and it all becomes a blur.
The second issue they have is that the world is online. As soon as you put your products in front of me, I go online and do a comparison.
This will comparison will involve Google searches, reading content on social, asking my network questions.
Anything a company does, advertising, cold calling, email marketing, brochures, will trigger the buyer to search for alternatives online.
Interrupt me with an advert and it triggers me to do a comparison. The problem is, that if you are not on social then you are not part of that comparison.
If I tell you the BMW 4 Series is the best car in the world, you will go online and give me a list of cars that are similar or even better. All without BMW or a salesperson knowing you have done it.
I spotted a product on a Facebook Ad the other day and look the product up on Amazon and it was cheaper. So what did I do? Buy it on Amazon of course. Here was a marketing team, spending marketing dollars for me to buy from the competition. Why would you do that?
The Companies That Win in this Pandemic
The companies that will win in this pandemic are those that realise they need to cut the corporate rubbish and build relationships and have conversations.... on social.
Know me, like me, trust me.
When we go to social media to get content, we don't look at a company social media page, we look at the employees social media pages. I read an article not because a company has posted it .... we avoid this material because it will say "buy my stuff because it's great". We know it will be biased.
In a universe of 700 million, why would you be instantly forgettable?
Where as, if we read content from our network, the people we know, like and trust .... then this is the stuff we are interested in.
A read a person's post because I like that person.
People buy from people they know and trust.
Last November, a BMW dealer in the UK had 28 pieces of inbound to buy a BMW car, they converted 14 of those into sales.
This was the same month that their competitor, Jaguar Land Rover complained they were not selling cars and were therefore stopping production.
But There is More - Another Business Case Maybe?
In this interview with Danielle Guzman who is Global Head of Social Media for Mercer and we discuss "5 Things to Kick Start Your Employee Advocacy Program" and she shares the value they have gained from empowering their employees with social media.
Mercer are getting 3 to 4 times the attributed revenue than the brand generates. Can you believe that? If the brand is creating $10 million, then empowering your team on social will generate $40 million.
There could be a business case there, my suggestion is that you use an outside company to help you. Hint, hint. ;)
There Are Clear Winners and Losers in This Digital World
There are clear winners and losers starting to happen in the social space.
What you need to do right now ...
Your business needs to get digital skilled. You need to train your sales team in a methodology that will enable them to prospect where your clients are .... on social media. They need to have the skills to build relationships in a world where there are no face-to-face meetings.
They need to be able to accelerate their pipeline and close business through social.
Because this is where your prospects are right now and if you are not on social, then you are invisible.
If you are ready to give your team the digital skills they need then contact me here.