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Social Media Just Isn’t Working for My Business: Sound Like You?

by Shawn Karol Sandy

When brand awareness (aka demand generation) is low, most businesses turn to social media channels as their tool of choice. And let's be real here, it's a smart move. Social media channels help you reach your audience and put your business in the social spotlight.

But, and this is a big BUT, just being on social media isn't enough. You can't just slap together a profile, post, or photo and call it a day.

Your content, your brand—it's the heart and soul of your social media presence.

Without a solid strategy, you're essentially throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping something sticks.

Spaghetti stains are like bad brand messages—hard to clean up, and they leave a lasting mark (aka bad impression) on your customers. 

It reminds me of Jill Rowley's words (she's a BRILLIANT outspoken social evangelist and one of the first 100 employees at Salesforce—she's a pioneer of social selling, challenging the modern sales pro to keep pace with the modern buyer): 

A fool with a tool is still a fool.

I completely agree with her. A fool with a tool . . . is what I experience maybe once or twice a week on LinkedIn. 

You may be on the receiving end of this too: you get a social request to connect, accept, and then BAM!

“Hey, nice to meet you. Let me know if you need my stuff.”


“Hi there, thanks for connecting. I’d like to talk to you about your Widget Supply needs. Can you respond with your email and phone number?”

It’s a complete fail at using LinkedIn as a sales tool and yet, sales people and even business owners who attempt to advance business this way, don’t realize how off track this is.

I have never received a message like this immediately after connecting that I felt compelled to respond to. Now, I HAVE received some great messages that compelled me to build relationships—this isn’t what I’m referring to here.

After this message, this is the ONLY contact I’ll ever have with the “hit and run” LinkedIn prospectors. I don’t see them posting, commenting, sharing, or being visible on LinkedIn in any other capacity either. That’s it. One sad attempt to sell me? No follow up. No relationship. No context . . . SMH!

Here’s a crazy, but strong metaphor to drive my point home about being professionals and being negligent with the tools we use.

Let’s say you’re a brain surgeon and there is a new tool that gives you finer control to reach or repair parts of the brain and improve patients’ results and recovery. You’d probably invest in that tool and the training and practice to use that tool, right?

You wouldn’t just pick a random patient to start with, grab the tool for the first time, and start poking away with it, hoping you get it right and achieve the success the tool promises.

Nor would you give up after the patient doesn’t improve, shrug your shoulders and say, “Well, THAT didn’t work!”

So, for your business, if you had access to a set of tools to help you reach more customers—HOW and WHERE they want to be reached, build relationships faster, and improve your results, you should invest in those tools too, right?

Especially if the cost of not using those instruments means your customers leave you behind and choose to do business with people who are meeting them where they are making buying decisions.

Of course! YES! You should invest!

So why are so many people failing to invest in training and expertise to learn the do’s, don’ts and “hell no’s” of LinkedIn and other social media?

My theory is that it’s hard to consider investing in resources that are free to set up and free to use. Time is your only investment to start with and maybe it’s the lack of time and persistence that some users fail to devote to using social media in effective and meaningful ways.

They go blindly poking away and end up turning off potential customers, throw their hands up and say “I told you it wouldn’t work.”

If this sounds like you, keep reading.

5 Reasons Social Media Tools Aren’t Working For You

1. You don’t have a sales strategy

If you did, you’d carefully invest in knowing exactly who your customers are, where to find them, and how they’re making decisions. THAT guides your social media strategy – which is a part of your overall sales strategy. You don’t connect blindly, message randomly, and never follow up or nurture.

2. You don’t have a documented sales process

The time you spend connecting, engaging, and building relationships on social media is how you execute your strategy through your sales process. This takes dedication, practice, patience, persistence, and consistency. A little dabble here, a little dabble there . . . doesn’t grow your audience or advance sales.

3. You’re not investing in your professional development 

Learning and an open state of mind is what’s required to try the ever increasing new resources to reach customers. As buying evolves, sellers must adapt and evolve as well. If you’re not learning how buying has changed, you’re not learning how to adapt as sellers either. Adapt, evolve, or be replaced.

4. You give up 

Reaching people has gotten harder. Most any product or industry has become more competitive. Sales cycles have increased. Successful selling takes more time, more planning, more touches, and more intelligence than it did just 5 or 10 years ago.

Persistence in nurturing relationships and consistently showing up in your buyers’ circles takes dedication.

Giving up quickly is for people who expect easy results and foolishly take the short term gains. No practice. No persistence. No payoff.

5. Your brand strategy is way off

This is the kicker. You can get all the others right, but if you don't have a brand strategy that attracts your ideal customer, it's all for naught. You need a Brand That Beckons to pull your best buyers in. This includes:

  • Brand messaging. Tell the story of your buyers—they're the hero! Be empathetic. Be authoritative. Let them know you "get" their problem, and have not just a solution, but their solution.
  • Brand design. Don't take a good logo for granted. There's so much that goes into a logo (color, font, design) that should be strategically targeted at what your ideal customer resonates with (so, not just your CEO's favorite color, or the font that comes standard in your Canva account).
  •  Company culture. Company culture isn't just for your employees. It's can be a selling tool, too—your culture emanates from everything you do, so make sure your company culture aligns with your values, and the values of your ideal customer. 
  • Customer experience. Once a prospect raises their hand, their first interaction will be with your sales or service personnel. If your customer service experience is completely out of whack from what a prospect has expected (based on messaging, branding, and company culture) they're going to bolt. Make sure that first impression reinforces your brand.

Social media is a great place to reach your target audience, and attract them with a Brand That Beckons. So please, please, PLEASE don’t be that “fool with a tool.” 

Use Social Media Channels Consistently

A Brand That Beckons isn't a one-and-done thing. It's the first step in an ongoing relationship that nurtures leads, delights customers, and turns buyers into raving fans. To do that, you need consistent touch points throughout the customer journey—and social media channels should be definitely be part of that.

Just like you would in face-to-face interactions, use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to build meaningful, successful relationships online that become meaningful and successful relationships offline. 

Ready to #GrowSmarter and build a Brand That Beckons—including social platforms? Let's chat!

Are you ready to #GrowSmarter? Schedule a risk-free call with a Growth Guide today!

Topics:Professional DevelopmentGrowing Small BusinessEntrepreneurSocial Media

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