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January 7, 2016 | Candice McNamara

The Worst Social Media Blunders Sales People Make

The-Worst-Social-Media-Blunders-Sales-People-Make.jpgIn your personal life, knowing when and how to use social media probably seems relatively straightforward. When you want to tell your family and friends about your new promotion, you update your Facebook status. When you get a caramel brulée latte for the first (or 100th) time, you tweet @Starbucks to express your delight. And when your child opens a highly anticipated present on Christmas morning, you snap a photo, add a filter, and post it to Instagram.

But at the office, the ease of using social media suddenly becomes more complex. As VIEO’s Director of Business Development, for example, I represent my company on all of my social accounts, and my posts directly impact our business.

Although social media is an innovative and cost-efficient solution for connecting with your ideal buyers, you also know that it can hobble your business if you don’t follow the best practices.

Some mistakes are a matter of trial and error, but others can be easily avoided. Here’s a list of the worst social media blunders that sales people frequently make, as well as helpful tips for sidestepping them in your own business.

1. Not Being Social at All

Social media is naturally suited to inbound marketing, and yet a number of sales people still aren’t using it to their advantage. Instead, they prefer to employ somewhat outdated and intrusive outbound marketing strategies like cold calling and direct mail.

While these methods sometimes succeed in converting leads, they often require more convincing and educating than inbound marketing. As a result, many sales people expend unnecessary energy while overlooking the most promising online leads.

In this day and age, most companies have to be social to be successful. Not only does having a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account show that your business is up-to-date with the latest technology, but it also lets your company engage with a wider audience in a low-risk setting.

With 74% of adults on social networking sites, it’s clear that consumers are using social media to explore new brands and browse products at their own pace. If you want to appeal to that majority and increase your lead conversion, then you need to be socially savvy.

2. Spending Too Much Time on the Wrong Platform

With such a wide field of options, it’d be easy to think that engaging your buyer personas on one platform is the same as on any other. Treating them all equally, however, is a mistake. Each social media channel has a distinct purpose and audience; one of the biggest blunders that sales people make is ignoring those differences.

For example, instead of recognizing that Facebook is great for in-depth content, events, and contests while Twitter should be used for rapid-fire updates and news, some sales people treat both networks the same way. As a result, they spend too much time targeting consumers on the wrong platform (and then wonder why they have such low conversion rates).

To succeed in the marketing world, you need to know your buyer persona. If your products and services appeal to a trend-driven crowd that’s always on their smartphones, by all means use Snapchat to communicate with them. However, if your business is targeting middle-aged professionals, don’t dedicate extensive time and energy to Snapchat when you could better connect with your audience on LinkedIn or Instagram.

3. Being Too Sales-y

Perhaps the biggest pitfall of all is being too sales-oriented on social media. By following and engaging with your company, people are demonstrating a degree of trust in your brand. They believe that you will share content and ideas that interest them. If you reward them with constant self-promotion and “Check out this deal!” posts, chances are that your large following will quickly diminish.

Think of social media as a conversation. Just as you wouldn’t want to dominate the exchange by only talking about yourself, you shouldn’t use your social channels only to sell your business. Instead, earn your prospects’ trust by helping them; create and share content that educates, entertains, or addresses one of their pain points.

The best sales people are socially savvy. Whether online or in-person, they know how to convert leads with ease and efficiency. By avoiding these common social media blunders, you can ensure that you’ll be just as successful in your business endeavors.

While you’re at it, make sure those profiles look professional.

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Candice McNamara

Candice McNamara

As head of VIEO's business development, Candice McNamara works with clients and potential clients to tailor service packages that meet their needs and deliver results that exceed their expectations. In her words, "I love to help people learn, innovate, grow, and be challenged; I happen to do this through digital marketing and data storytelling."

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