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How Do You Sell Social Media?

The issues of social media and how to use it is usually ambiguous, often confusing, and sometimes baffling to business owners. The immediate question on everyone’s mind is how do I use it to create revenue. So if your selling your knowledge of social media you are selling to a market that doesn’t understand it and is already programmed to believe it is something it is not.

Professional services  is selling knowledge people want or need to make something better. What businesses always want is either how to reduce expenses without hurting service or how to sell more of something they have or don’t yet have but want to develop.

Consultants have to  provide not only subject-matter expertise, but also critical thinking coupled with a neutral perspective gained from experience dealing with very similar and also very different situations. The difficulty is selling social media is that the market is tainted with misconceptions and everyone is telling everybody what it is and how to use it.  Most of what the market is saying is wrong.

Consultants have to add value through communicating capabilities and enabling relationships but also they have to actually create value through intellect and experience combined with just the right level of creativity. In other words they must approach a prospective client with solutions thinking that appeals to their needs.

What Solution Does Social Media Create?

The right question  is what problem does social media solve. You can’t recommend a solution if your client doesn’t perceive it as solving a problem they have and want to fix.

So the first issue is to understand what problem a client has that they want to solve. Clearly identifying and defining the problem is half the battle. If you can’t identify a problem that social media may be able to solve then  your chances of getting engaged are slim. Worse, though, is giving the impression that social media can solve all the problems, it can’t.

Social media can’t solve all your problems as a matter of fact using it improperly can create more problems that you never had. Yet everywhere I look many seem to be selling social media as the cure all for everything. Here is a hint. It isn’t!

The Problem With Expected Results

Most of the market is consumed with creating an ROI from social media. Many want social media solutions that drive revenue. The problem with these perspectives is they haven’t identified a problem they want fixed or a solution that want to achieve besides more revenue. ROI comes from lowering cost or improving revenue from investments in new initiatives aimed at solving problems. Social media doesn’t do either without knowledge.

As stated in a previous post social media is a system of communications, period. While communications is part of any solution to solving problems and generating more revenue it is not the whole solution.

Social media is a communications tool that can help you increase awareness, improve brand recognition, reach more people efficiently and pull a market to your value proposition.  However, simply doing so doesn’t translate to revenue or solving problems if you don’t think through the process and related issues. Simply jumping into social media and pushing your message is like yelling at your sales force for more revenue.  If you haven’t first figured out what your market wants or needs and whether you are capable of delivering it then you are peeing in the wind. How’s that for an analogy?

If you don’t know where your market is and how they are participating in social media how will you “communicate” with them? Worse yet if you are communicating the wrong thing the wrong way how can you expect the market to pay attention to you or your proposition?  The analogy for this is throwing money into advertising with no way to know who it reaches and who responds. Sound familiar?

Social media affords you that specific data so you can measure how effectively you are communicating with your market.

So again, what is the ROI on social media? The answer is how well do you communicate with your market (all social media does is deliver it) and what value do you have to offer (that is the job of every business to define, improve and deliver).

Fix your communications and deliver superb value and social media will return a huge ROI. Selling social media is only relevant to improving your market communications, which can improve revenue and saves money if you “know” how. Get it?

What say you?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Lisa Nicole Bell 12/30/2009, 10:14 pm

    Inspired Girls is using social media with its sponsors. Helpful article —–> How Do You Sell Social Media? http://bit.ly/4B2Zq1

  • Michelle Price 12/30/2009, 9:47 pm

    How Do You Sell Social Media? http://bit.ly/4B2Zq1 (@jayderagon puts it in perspective)

  • ingenesist 11/08/2009, 9:14 am

    RT @JDeragon How Do You Sell Social Media? http://bit.ly/18HTfh

  • jerome newman 11/07/2009, 2:28 pm

    Hi, Saundra here! This is a good network. I need to know more tech oreinted blogs, my blog is XP and Windows 7, and I have more questions than answers. I’d like to do a post about advertising via social media.

  • jerome t newman 11/07/2009, 12:53 pm

    Hi, Saundra here! This is a good business network. I need to know more business oreinted blogs. My blog is Page Ranking, and I have more questions than answers. I’d like to do a post about internet advertising.

  • Ko Shengzhen 11/05/2009, 3:15 am

    How Do You Sell Social Media? > http://ow.ly/yRqt

  • Leslie Jarrard 11/03/2009, 2:56 pm

    I have a giant smile on my face!

  • Red Cube Marketing 11/03/2009, 7:50 am

    How Do You Sell Social Media? http://ow.ly/yPCh

  • milene laube dutra 11/03/2009, 3:58 am

    RT @Don_Crowther: How Do You Sell Social Media? http://ow.ly/yCZY

  • MiLy1Idéias 11/03/2009, 3:56 am

    RT @JDeragon How Do You Sell Social Media? http://bit.ly/18HTfh

  • Shari Weiss 11/02/2009, 5:23 pm

    How do you sell social media via @allenmireles: http://bit.ly/4B2Zq1

  • Syntaxes ? Semantics 11/02/2009, 3:28 pm

    RT @Don_Crowther: How Do You Sell Social Media? http://ow.ly/yCZY

  • Jarno Alastalo, SDO 11/02/2009, 3:18 pm

    RT @Don_Crowther: How Do You Sell Social Media? http://ow.ly/yCZY

  • Matt Bales 11/02/2009, 2:24 pm

    Social media allows companies, if wisely used, to micro-target their customers based on the customer’s willingness to be engaged. I think Jay frames the argument in a very interesting manner. The desire to turn social media into an ROI is captivating concept and will be the focus of a variety of conversations for some time, but I think the most important idea to take away from the article is “Selling social media is only relevant to improving your market communications, which can improve revenue and saves money if you “know” how. Get it?”

    Great article – very insightful!

  • John LoFranco 11/02/2009, 12:43 pm

    Selling social media is not the purpose of social media. I completely agree with the necessity of social media to connect like minded individuals to one another. People can not be told to use social media if they are disinterested in the idea. The social media being presented must be relevant to the users or targeted audience. Don’t waste your voice talking to people who do not care about what you have to say.