Social media: it’s been the number one topic of conversation among the CEOs I’ve been hanging with lately, with the top question being, “how do we make money from social media?”
I think that’s the wrong question to ask at the moment. Maybe it’s the right question once social media has matured, but not right now. There are many more important questions, I think. Like “where should I invest to develop and improve my company’s social media strategy?” Or “how patient am I to make money from it?” How about “do I have the right people to develop a competitive advantage using this extremely large and lucrative marketing and selling model?”
Like many of you, CFS is in discovery mode and is asking these questions on a routine basis. It reminds me of when the Internet was in its infancy. Do you remember life before the PC, the rotary phone, cell phones, local area networks, and the birth of the Internet? If you do, I guess that makes you a dinosaur like me! But it can also make me smart! Of course, I won’t know that for sure unless what I say becomes reality, right?
So before I go any further I don’t want anyone to think of me as an expert, because I’m not. But I do believe that I’m investing more in my marketing budget as a percent of revenue than many others are, and by the way, I’m all in! Time will tell if my instincts pay off.
So what’s this old dinosaur betting on? Let’s see. I can’t predict when my company will monetize “social,” but I am predicting that when it happens it will happen quickly and it will be big.
I trust the geniuses at CFS: Our Marketing Manager and our Operations Officer. They are heavy lifting our Marketing “cascade” into place, one block at a time. Our Operations Officer has the best strategy development and execution skills known to man, and our Marketing Manager, although newly hired, has already taken full control of our social strategy and is moving us through it at the speed of light. Every day the three of us discuss our Social Media market, including leveraging LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to increase business. I love hearing “we got another 100 followers on Twitter this week.”
These are 15 things we’re noticing about our Social Media approach:
1. Our market of buyers, sellers, and subject matter experts is connecting and sharing best practices more than ever.
2. The volume of connections is important, but high quality volume is more important.
3. Good original and curated (third party content we’ve found and sifted through to make it relevant to a reader) gets us noticed.
4. Getting noticed is the first step to monetizing our presence on social media.
5. Social media is the best medium to generate suspects and prospects for my business.
6. Every month the ratio of prospects finding us vs. us finding them increases. For example, on a monthly basis, we are getting more requests for demos of our Sales PlayBook from people we don’t know and have never heard of.
7. Knowing WHICH apps to use like Sprout Social, Feedly, and Hubspot, along with HOW to use them saves us tons of time, makes us more efficient, and continues to make us smarter about our market.
8. Knowing what FEATURES to use on each platform like LinkedIn and Twitter is critical to execution. Said another way, using the basics is almost useless. Checkout LinkedIn Sales Navigator for an example. By the way, I just did something very social by promoting another company’s feature!
9. Being involved in social media makes you immortal – just kidding – but social media for us is a fun adventure. I wholeheartedly believe that FUN makes more sales happen.
10. Having a strong social media presence makes us more attractive to someone interested in buying our business.
11. Our number one way to verify someone’s capabilities when we’re in a hiring mode is through social media.
12. The competition that’s not using social media effectively makes them increasingly less competitive at a dramatic rate.
14. It’s virtually impossible for us to be a thought leader without using social media. The more we use it to speak and listen, the better our understanding becomes. The more we understand, the more value we bring to our market. More value makes us more money.
15. Marketing and selling used to be separate. Now they’re practically the same!
I suggest asking something other than “how do I monetize social media?” Maybe “when will I monetize social media?” is a better question. But, hey! You can still be a T-Rex. Just know that if that’s the case, then your days are numbered!