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Posted: May 04, 2011

Five deadly social media sales mistakes

Mistake #1: Hit and run

Julie Hansen

There are five deadly social media mistakes that you can make in sales. I have been guilty of committing all five - sometimes at the same time. As a seller it can be a challenge to stay on top of today's ever changing technology: the i-phone 4's, the Droid X's and the various Sales 2.0 programs. Add to that the growing demands of our job, the increased competition and the pressures of doing business in today's economy and it's a wonder we have time to write a profile and create an avatar!

Today I'm going to talk about the first deadly mistake that sellers make but I will be discussing all fivev social media sales mistakes-and how to avoid them--at ColoradoBiz Magazine's "Aligning your Business with Social Media" event on May 11. If you haven't gotten your tickets, go here. This is a fantastic opportunity to get invaluable, practical advice from business experts on how to successfully navigate the murky waters of social media.

Mistake #1: Hit and Run Social Media

We've all done it. No, I don't mean leaving the scene of an accident, but jumping into a social media site and disappearing for extended periods of time. Raise your hand if you've ever tweeted 15 times in one day and then disappeared without even a glance at your TweetDeck (my what??) for two weeks. Keep your hand up if you've ever started a discussion thread on a LinkedIn group and abandoned it. How about loading up a video and thinking you're set for the year?

Businesspeople, and salespeople in particular, often spread themselves too thin. In our attempt to "cover all the bases" we don't make an impact in any of them. Many smart businesspeople walk away from social media shaking their heads saying, "it doesn't work," precisely because they've stuck their toe in the water of too many different pools without ever getting wet.

Developing and implementing a consistent strategy that you will stick to on a regular basis (and I mean 40-50 weeks out of the year) is going to ultimately determine whether social media will work for you, or (as some toe-dippers have concluded) it is a major time-waster. If you can't commit to a consistent presence on Twitter, don't tweet-unless you're doing it for fun or personal reasons. If you can't follow up on a LinkedIn discussion, don't start one. In the social media world, half measures don't get you half. They get you nothing. So get realistic about the time you're willing and able to commit to it.

To calculate how much time you will need to commit to social media for it to be effective, answer the following questions:

How long will it take you each week to:
1. Create interesting content specific to each site (tweets, discussions, photos, video, etc.)
2. Post the minimum recommended number of times on each site.
3. Read and respond to responses.
4. Stay up to date on topics of interest to your customer or industry groups.
5. Follow up with potential prospects or leads.

Now, multiply that by 120 percent (it always takes longer than you think) and that's how much time you need to set aside each week for social media. Is it enough to spread over two sites? Three? Seven? Now set aside that time each week in your calendar, just like a real appointment. Because it is a real appointment. An appointment with members of the social media community. So don't let them down!

To learn more about how to effectively use social media in sales and business, create a strong personal brand and get up to speed on important trends, join me, local social media experts and your favorite Colorado Biz columnists on May 11th! Go here for more information.
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Julie Hansen helps sales and business executives differentiate their solution and deliver winning presentations by leveraging proven performance skills from film, stage and improv.  The founder of Performance Sales and Training, Julie’s techniques have been adopted by Fortune 500 companies across the globe, including IBM, Oracle, SAP and local Colorado companies to gain a competitive selling edge.  Julie is an international speaker, sales trainer and the author of ACT Like a Sales Pro!  Learn more about workshops and keynotes at  PerformanceSalesandTraining.com, start a sales conversation at Julie@actingforsales.com  or connect with Julie on LinkedIn.

Enjoy this article? Sign up to get ColoradoBiz Exclusives. The opinions expressed in this article are solely that of the author and do not represent ColoradoBiz magazine. Comments on articles will be removed if they include personal attacks.

Readers Respond

David H. and Dan - thanks for your comments. Agreed, mobile apps helpful for sticking to a social media plan. And good point David, sales is first and foremost about relationships - whether online or in person. FYI, the second article in this series will be out next week and per your suggestion will clarify that in the title! By Julie Hansen on 2011 05 12
Enjoyed reading your article and only can add by having a social media marketing is great but has limitations and is based on a desktop to view in most cases. What about mobile web/apps? Mobile web/apps are much easier to maintain and launch and can drive new business. Our mobile web/app has built-in text messaging so the business can send out an immediate text relating to the business overall. True, a business should have some form of social media but for businesses that don't they should consider a mobile web/app that can engage a customer/client/member 24/7. By Dan on 2011 05 11
Nice article. I think it speaks to a common sales problem in which customers are often taken for granted. We sometimes forget that sales is basically about relationships and those relationships need to be maintained - not just on social media, but in all other customer contact venues. Good sales takes work, as stated in the article, customer/industry research, sustained effort, and a genuine interest in being part of your customer's professional network. You WANT to be the one they come to with questions and needs, and you can't always assume they'll just do that. Someone else is always knocking on their door. If you're not part of their professional lives, someone else will be. I look forward the rest of the series. PS - Perhaps reworking the title to reflect a series of articles would help. Thanks! By David H on 2011 05 11
You make a very good point. Many companies want to do social media because "it's free" which is an incredibly false statement. You either pay someone to do it (in-house or out-sourced) or you do it yourself and that takes time as you point out above. It is important to be present in social media (to varying extents depending on your business) but it is more important to do it right. By Zachary on 2011 05 04
I appreciate your feedback David. It's impossible to cover 5 points with any kind of depth in 700 words or less so I've found it's better to break things down into separate articles. I apologize for any confusion. In a way, this ties into the first mistake of spreading yourself too thin. Any thoughts on that? By Julie Hansen on 2011 05 04
Article Title : 5 Deadly Social Media Mistakes Article Body : 1 Deadly Social Media Mistake True or False? Is the title misleading? Yes. THE BIBLE - LEARN THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. (One here, reader must attend church to find out the other 9.) It's typically consider deceptive advertising. Is it a mistake? I dunno. Write an article about it, maybe you can call it: "Ten ways to get people to attend my seminar." QED By David Sneed on 2011 05 04
Reply to David Sneed- "Today I'm going to talk about the first deadly mistake that sellers make but I will be discussing all five social media sales mistakes-and how to avoid them--at ColoradoBiz Magazine's "Aligning your Business with Social Media" event on May 11." Only reading half the article and critiquing the writer about a flaw that doesn't exist shows that you may need to attend the event more than you realize. By joanna on 2011 05 04
Mistake #2; Only listing one thing in an article titled "5 Somethings?" By david sneed on 2011 05 04

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