An Odd Way to Advertise Social Media Services

Photo Credit: R. Mark Moore

What do you think? 

Would you hand over money and trust the person who hung this sign to help you increase revenue using social media? Advertising on a highway road sign in the greater Atlanta area seems an odd way to get your social sales message out there.

In addition to the obvious disconnect between the type of service they are selling and the medium they are using to advertise said service, here are few other things that I noticed.

They advertise their social media services, but where’s the Twitter or Facebook handle? What about a website to learn more? I guess they figure you can’t surf the web while driving, but you can make a phone call, right?

Who is their client anyway? Anyone who can drive a car? As my readers know, I’m a strong advocate for narrowing your sales focus by targeting your ideal client, which is one of the benefits of using social media I might add. These folks are using the “spray and pray” method of advertising. Doubtful they’ll get much traction. Oh, and do you think they realize that they are breaking the law by posting a sign like this one? It would seem not.

What about you? What do you see? What do you think about this approach? Should we give the number a call and find out if their ad campaign is working?

The Why of Social Media

The explosion of social media into mainstream consciousness has seemingly come from nowhere. Though it may be new to you, the social media groundswell has been building for some time, and it’s fair to say that the buzz right now is deafening.

While there is a growing familiarity with tools like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, blogs and YouTube, here are 5 questions being asked in companies large and small about the business reasons for using social media:

1. Why should we care?
2. Where do we start?
3. What technology should we be using?
4. How do we manage the information?
5. How will we measure effectiveness?

As with any new business undertaking, questions like these (and more) definitely need to be answered. Here are the reasons that I believe it is important to pay attention.

Why You Should Care

These days your prospects are surfing the net, reading blogs, participating in forums and group discussions, asking for product and services referrals from their social networks and joining on-line communities.

Even if you wanted to “opt out”, choosing instead to use outdated approaches to sales and marketing, your potential customers - and your savvy competitors - are most definitely going to be online.

Your prospects are tuned in to what they want, what’s available, where to purchase and how much to spend. The bigger the sale, the more educated they will be.

With 66% of the 38 million LinkedIn users deemed “key decision maker”,175+ million people on Facebook (31% over the age of 35), and millions more conversing over Twitter, you can’t ignore the opportunity. The name of the game then is visibility. If you aren’t participating online, you are missing huge opportunities to reach an audience you would otherwise not be able to connect with in an easy and cost effective way.

How to Get Started

If you are just getting your feet wet with regard to social media, you are most likely approaching it backwards, as most do. Companies are typically approaching the social computing world by looking first at the nifty, whiz bang technologies available. Could be a tweet here, a blog there, a LinkedIn profile, a Facebook fan page or a few YouTube video’s thrown up on the website- to achieve their sales and marketing goal. That is a mistake! People, purpose and plan first - technology last -should be the mantra of every business interested in succeeding with social media.


As with any hot trend, people are clamoring to get on board the social media gravy train. Yet as many have already discovered, having an online profile doesn’t mean you are using social media effectively to market your business or increase your sales. People are floundering in the online space for many of the same reasons they probably flounder around with their current sales and networking approach. They don’t have a plan!

Your plan starts with “narrowing” and “clearly defining” your target audience. Here’s a hint…your audience is NOT everyone with a pulse. Though it seems counterintuitive to some, the more you narrow your market, the faster you gain traction, which then leads to more sales of your products and services.

The key with choosing the right technology is making sure you know EXACTLY what results you want to achieve. You certainly need to understand what tools are available, but that’s the last thing you really need to focus your attention on. Once you know who your audience is, where they live online and what you want to happen once you get in front of them, you are then well positioned to use an online tool best suited for your purpose.

Managing the Flow

I’m known for saying that it is up to “you” to manage technology, not the other way around. Dashboard tools like Digsby help you watch your email, Facebook page, Twitter account, LinkedIn profile and more without having to web surf the individual sites. TweetDeck gives you the ability to keep on top of all that is happening in your Twitter world. And tools like Ping and HelloText let you create a post once that updates multiple sites of your choosing all at the same time. The point is that you shouldn’t let the “fear” of too much information stop you from getting on board. There are lots of great tools to help with the information management flow.

Measuring the ROI

Like anything else in business, you need to be sure that you are measuring effectiveness and results to ensure that you get the greatest return on your effort. In the March 23rd edition of Information Week, TransUnion reported as estimated $2.5 million in savings in less than five months. Did I mention that you first need a plan? In TransUnion’s case, their cost savings showed up in a reduction of software services purchases. Using an internal social networking platform, employees were able to brainstorm ways to more effectively utilize what they already had, thus reducing the need to buy more.

Companies of all sizes will benefit from having clearly defined objectives that you can then track your progress against. If one of your goals is to increase product sales on your website, you will want to track HOW people find you. Was it the blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, a Facebook ad, or that amazing sales article your sales manager just wrote? You can use tools like Google Analytics to help you track how many visitors visit your website, as well as give you clues as to what they focused on they got there.


Remember that social media and the world of social networking are here to stay. See it as a threat or an opportunity. It’s your choice!

How Are You Handling Disruption?

We are living in an age of what many innovation experts are calling “disruption”. What a perfect word to describe what’s happening at this very moment.

This much needed disruption is shaking us out of our comfort zones forcing us to fundamentally re-think what we know about business - or thought we did. Similar to when we moved from an agrarian society to an industrial one, we are faced with a transition unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, some people and businesses are going to struggle with this disruption more than others.

Business owners and sales people must consider how this disruption changes the way they approach the sales process and devise strategies for addressing it. How you get attention with your potential customers when they are so overwhelmed with choices will all start with creating “value” in a virtual world with people you may never actually meet. Creating online relationships that will lead to closing sales is going to require that 3 things happen:

  • You have a plan and a purpose for what you are doing.
  • You choose the right tool(s) to support your sales goals.
  • You LEARN and USE the tools consistently day in and day out.

As you begin to join in on group and online community discussions like you’ll find on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, you will have to understand that you don’t “sell” while joining in on the conversation. Instead of talking about what you or your product does; you will be demonstrating your expertise and industry knowledge as you share your tips, advice, information and helpful hints with others without expecting anything in return.

How sales people will uncover opportunities, research trends, keep on top of their competition and network completely changes the way the game is played. And they must also be realistic in their expectations, because social media is not a “quick fix” nor does it bring you sales overnight. Like great offline selling, it takes time to build the relationships that lead to closing business.

While you won’t get rich overnight as you embark down the social media path, you can’t afford not to get started right now. The train has already left the station, so you need to get moving to catch up!

How Do You Use Social Media Tools To Sell?

What do you use to build your network? Linked In, Plaxo? - once you have your profile, how are you using it?

What about Facebook, Twitter - using them? What things have you done that have successfully attracted clients?

What’s your blog strategy? Do you know why a blog is important?

Love to hear how you are using social media to attract more clients and sell more often!