Change the Demand Funnel — Get Social With Sales

In collaboration with one of our sales trainers, Sean Goldie, I recently took on the task of helping our sales team learn how to utilize social media to boost their sales. Sean and I find social selling a very important step to help our sales team and our sales figures for a variety of reasons.

Customer decision process is changing

In the past, the buyer’s process was simple, especially for the sales rep. A customer needed something, asked a few people and then had an interaction directly with a sales person. Today, the way a person learns about a product and decides to purchase is one big tornado of information. Sometimes, the information is even incorrect. Hence, the biggest competition in sales today is not a company’s competitor, but customers’ ability to learn on their own! And if that doesn’t give you the feeling of urgency to get on social media, think about this stat – 70% of a customer’s buying journey is complete by the time they even talk to a sales person. Yikes! That’s 70% of the buying journey where you can’t control the messaging. Or can you?

Teach where they learn

It’s time for sales for help generate leads, help shape the demand. Filling the demand funnel has always been a marketing function. Not anymore. Sales too can help shape demand and fill the funnel — enter social selling.

Today, customers learn about a product/service mostly by engaging in conversations either by word-of-mouth or online. It’s easy for sales to help be apart of that conversation with social media.

Build your social foundation

Social media can be intimidating at first, especially if you are looking at building a professional presence online. But, it’s easy. Just like building a house, you need to build your foundation first before you paint the walls or add any throw pillows.

Here are a few steps to get you and your sales team started on social:

  1. Correctly set up your profiles: Make them look professional and add personality to them. Remember, social is about H:H (Human to Human) interaction. Not sales person to prospect interaction.
  2. Listen: Start listening to the conversations about your brand, your clients, competitors and your industry. You can easily do that by setting up Twitter lists and joining a few LinkedIn Groups.
  3. Learn: Listening is just one step. Now, what have you learned? What are your customer’s real pains? How can you help them get rid of that pain?
  4. Engage: Don’t just stalk people. Creepy. Engage with them. Chat about life and business. It’s easier to sell to a friend than a complete stranger after all.
  5. Routine: Make social part of your daily routine.

Check out this infographic for a simple process to begin selling with social.
Social Sharing for blog

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3 Fun Ways to Respond on Social Media

My social media use can sometimes be compulsive and an uncontrolled consumption on a daily basis. What can I say, I’m a social mediaholic.

But for others, responding to social media isn’t always that easy. What if you have nothing to say? What if you can’t think of a witty response to tweet? Well, who says you have to say anything? Why not let pictures say what you can’t? After all, pictures can say 1000 words+.

Here are a fun examples of how you to respond on  social media:

1. Respond with a selfie

The Oxford Dictionary defines a selfie as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media.”

Don’t know what to say? Respond with a selfie, and show others what you think!

My favorite example is how my pal, Spencer, uses a selfie diptic to express his feelings. Like this one:

2. Respond with a meme

I know this is another oldie, but goodie. Memes have taken over the innerwebz, especially with pop culture, politics, kids and of course cats! So, there’s not a shortage of memes to pick from, but if you can’t find one, just make one — try Cheezburger or MemeGenerator.

Meme_Wonka

3. Respond with a song

Well, of course you could record a song and send it to them. However, I always like to send a link to song as a response. It can create a funny dialog, and you get to know each other’s musical tastes in a hurry.

For example, here’s the dialog I recently had on Twitter with an event company in Seattle:

What fun ways do you respond to others on social media? Let me know by commenting below our respond to me on Twitter.

How To Pick a SXSW Panel


It’s that time of year again when all your friends start pleading for SXSW panel votes.
They need your vote since voting counts for 30% of the overall vote for each panel being chosen to be at SXSW. I know 30% doesn’t sound like a lot, but it certainly does help.

First things first, a SXSW Panel Picker Primer . With three simple tips:

1. Get registered – In order to vote, you have to register. This means you must go to THIS LINK and sign up. It’s simple. Just your name and an email address – but it is a two-step process. You fill that form out, hit “submit” and then they send you an email with a verification code that you must click in order to activate your account and be able to vote.

2. No it doesn’t carry over 
– If you registered last year that doesn’t matter. The system does not save profiles year to year so even if you voted/registered last year you must still register this year to vote.

3. It’s not just about volume – yes, getting tons of “thumbs up” votes is important. It is equally if not more important to get *quality* votes. What does that mean? It means you need to (and encourage others to) post comments on the submission indicating WHY you think it’s a great addition to the program. Things like – you’ve seen the speaker before, you are interested in the content etc… IMPORTANT TO NOTE: the commenting system on the SXSW site is run by a company called Disqus (pronounced – Discuss). In order to post a comment you need to log in via one of the myriad social network options there. Easiest is probably Facebook though the Twitter integration is solid too.

Instructions above thanks to the lovely Cathy Brooks.

If you need help deciding, here are my favorite panels: (Of course, I’ll start with my own)
Hey A-hole, Stop Calling Yourself a Guru

Panel: Amy HigginsEvan Hamilton, & Erin Robbins O’Brien

And here are a few of my  favorites that I have voted for so far:

Shut Up & Breathe: Meditation & Storytelling FTW! This panel is presented by the rhythmic and lovely Cathy Brooks. Watch her video below to see what I mean:

From Crowdsourced Film to Social Movement

Curation + Crowdsourcing + Creation = Love

PR for Startups

Three’s Not a Crowd for Startup Founding Teams

Distribution or Death: How Publishers Can Survive

The End of Trolls? New Ideas of Online Identity

Exit Fragmentation, Here Comes The New Social

Tactics of App Distribution Hackers & Cartels

Real Talk: The Social Customer Shift

DIY App Publishing and the SXSW Community Cookbook

A few more to add to the list…

The X Factor: Women Innovators

Connective Consciousness: Influencer Back Channels

The Future of Porn

The Alchemy Economy: A $300B Craving for Change

Open Sourcing Accelerator for Social Impact

Chicks Making Out: Monetizing Niche Content

How to Find the Co-Founder of Your Dreams

Super Fly Super Fans. Super Success Stories.

Solving the Pandora Problem.

Social Discovery or Online Dating, Who Will Win?

Social Surgery: Live Streaming the Operating Room

Edited August 22nd.

Check out these awesome Community Manager focused panels (of course in addition to my own listed above):

People and things: Why visual social networks work

Panel: Matthew Knell, Katy Kelley, Katie Richman, & Katie Morse

Are Community Managers the New Influencers?

Panel: Christina Hug, Saul Colt, Justin Isaf, & Tine Thygesen

Community Management: Beyond the News Feed

Panel: Spencer Rinkus, Peter Slutsky, Kendra Bracken-Ferguson, & Laura Gluhanich

When Sh*t Hits the Fan: An Online Crisis Drill

Panel: David Krejci, Aaron Miller, & Lauren Melcher

Myth Busting: Creating a Viral Video

Panel: Bettina Hein, Eduardo Tobon, & John Duffield

Tricks of the Trade: Grow Unity in Your Community

Panel: Kat Mandelstein, Jessica Murray, Joyce Davis, Michael Bepko

Edited August 28th
Open Sourcing Accelerators for Social Impact

Panel: Diane Bisgeier and Pascal Finette

Feel free to add yours in the comments below.

SF Opera Tweeters in Da Haus!

If I told you that I just watched a three-hour opera, and live tweeted during the entire time– you’d think that I was nuts! Right? Well, what’s even more nuts is that it was allowed. Cray! Cray!

San Francisco Opera invited 10 people out of 30 applicants to live tweet yesterday during the final dress rehearsal of John Adam’s opera, Nixon In China. They spread the news via their blog, Facebook Post and Tweets. San Francisco Opera BRAVO! Club also joined in spreading the news over their social channels. The application asked for the basics – Name, Email, Twitter and Blog. Plus, they wanted to know if you were part of an arts  organization. As soon as I knew about the program, I filled out my application — about an hour before the deadline. I received an email that evening that I was accepted and instructions on what to do on Tuesday afternoon at the dress rehearsal.

Even though I applaud the SF Opera for doing their Tweet Seat program, it needs a few improvements to reach a larger fan base.

1. Announcement of program:

There are many tech savvy opera-goers who don’t frequently read the SF Opera’s blog or social posts that would have liked to go. Historically, the SF Opera has used print and email marketing as their primary forms of communicating with their patrons. By only publishing the invite on their social media channels, they limited the program’s overall reach. Maybe this was their goal –  limit the reach of the program so they could have a smaller group to work with this time. But, I’m just guessing.

2. What you could or could not share:

Honestly, it played with my mind a lil’ to be able to tweet during a live performance. I usually go to an art performance to simply unplug. The very fact that I was live tweeting inside THE SF Opera house took some time to get accustomed to. However, once the novelty wore off, the tweets took flight. But once that bird had flown, it was hard to restrain it. And, unfortunately I had to show a lot of restraint. We were not allowed to post any photos or videos once the opera started. It took all of my will power not to Instagram or Social Cam during the performance. Apparently, the SF Opera could have been sued if we posted any multimedia of the sets. It’s really too bad that they restricted us to text only. Photos and videos have a greater chance of being shared throughout social networks. This would have helped their overall reach – their main promotional goal. In full disclosure, I did post one photo during the performance and then erased it after some scolding from my online networks. *facepalm*

Once I did get used to this Tweet Seat social experiment, I noticed a few things:

1. Paying attention:

It was difficult to really pay attention to the opera. I was looking for things to tweet, not sitting back to soak in the opera. You can tell in the tweet stream  when all of us were really involved in what was going on stage, because we all stopped tweeting. Madame Mao Tse-tung, played by Hye Jung Lee, had a very powerful and almost pissed off aria during Act 11. All of us stopped tweeting until the aria ended. During the Beijing Opera scene in Act 11, our tweeting stopped in it’s tracks. The dancing was so mesmerizing that I completely forgot everything except the beauty on stage. It’s a good thing it was a final dress rehearsal because I can always go back and see the opera again.

2. Online dialog:

Once we all got over the novelty of tweeting at the opera, we started tweeting with each other. Nixon In China has moments that reminded us of Phillip Glass. Even though John Adams and Phillip Glass are not exactly friends, it made us wonder where else his influence could come from if not his enemy. I personally also tweeted with my online friends about what I was experiencing.

With all that being said, I really enjoyed my Tweet Seats at the opera. They placed us in box seats – smack dab in the middle  – where we could see all the action. I even spotted John Adams and Donato Cabrera in the orchestra watching the performance.

It was also great meeting all my fellow tweeters- Christopher D. Lewis @NewHarpsichord, Alicia Johnson @UrbanAreaAlicia, David Newman @dnsf, John Boitnott @jboitnott, Michael Owens @mko, Susan McConkey @smcconkey, Nancy Roberts @leapingotter, Joseph M. Colombo @JMColombo, Jean Shirk @bean, @SFCV, and Steve Rhodes @tigerbeat.

I was tweeting from my own handle @amywhiggins and for the San Francisco BRAVO! Club @SFOBravoClub.

For a full twitter report- check out #NixonInSF on my Storify here.

Freely Manage Your Social Media Analytics

People ask me all the time how to manage social media. Yes, even people who are social media managers themselves just like me ask. Many think that it has to cost you money. Well, it doesn’t! Here are two of my favorite social media tools that I use for free! Of course, I have tons of tools in my social media tool belt, but this is just a taste…

Are you taking notes?

Crowdbooster: “Measure and optimize your social media marketing”

This is a great service to track your impressions, engagement and growth over time. You can sign up two of your social profiles (like Twitter and Facebook) for free. All of us post a plethora of things to our brand’s social sites. But which ones are resonating the most with our fans? Quickly use Crowdbooster to see which posts are receiving the most amount of RTs, impressions, likes, comments, and replies. This way you can effectively change your posts to fit your community’s taste, and not just shoot blankly into the interwebs.

Don’t know what time to post? Fret no longer. Crowdbooster recommends that for you. The site also shows you when key influencers with high a Klout score follows you. That way you can interact with them on the spot. Crowdbooster also has a killer #FF feature. Personally, I look at who RTed me the most– and then send the #FF out to them with a huge Thank you.

Topsy is another great free service– mainly for tracking your social mentions over time.

Did you just release a product and want to see just how much your reach increased– use Topsy. Have a bug in your app and want to see just how many people mentioned you online – use Topsy. Just make sure to click on their analytics feature. It’s a small image on the right hand side of the screen. Then, you can search for only yourself or yourself compared to two of your competitors. For sh*ts and giggles, I searched just myself. Today, I did an awesome tweet chat, and my social mentions went from their normal 50/day to 80 for the day. You can also see your top tweet as per its traction. Just click on the top peak of each day to view it in Topsy’s Analytics.

On the main website (out of the analytics page) you can also look at the RTs for each tweet about your search term.

Wanna know more about the person who tweeted you? Just click on their avatar and/or handle. How cool is that?

It does have some limitations though. It tracks mainly tweets– Facebook and blog posts are not calculated. It also doesn’t show sentiment, gender, or list the tweets by anything other than the time they were tweeted. That being said, it’s a great tool to freely track your mentions and your competitors.

Hope these two tools help increase your awesome social media powers.

-Amy