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by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes

I was talking with a customer the other day and they said, “you know people go through 4 steps as part of their social media journey?”

I was amazed so I got her to explain.

  1. The first step on a companies social media journey is to employ the intern to do it. And why not? Social Media natives have grown up with social media, there is no legacy.  We have trained many an intern and social native and while they know about social media, they often don’t have the business acumen.
  2. After a while when companies realise that actually “just posting” does not work. There is nothing proactive, no growth, no leads, no inbound.  The next stage is to hire “a person with a beard” was the way it was described.  A client did say to me “we hired a guy to do our social media and nothing happened, which surprised us as he had a beard”.  After a couple of months (when this person is found out, they have no social media presence themselves) they get fired.  Again, no growth, just posting and no inbound.
  3. Some people at that stage, give up. But some make it to the next stage which is where they invest in fact based training or webinars.  Again, why wouldn’t this work?  Well the good news is that this will activate the “ninjas” in your organisation, but they would have been activated without this training.  The bad news is that the majority of staff, don’t get social media, they are not social naturals and actually have concerns about social. Will I lose my job?  What happens if I say something wrong?  I’m not on LinkedIn or Twitter and don’t understand it. This means that those people won’t be activated by webinars.  Fact based training, you know the 150 power point training, we’ve all be on it, we go back to our desks, the phone rings and then, nothing happens.

All three of those stages are based on tactics.  Social is being treated as a tactic.  Where as, we all know that both sales and marketing are strategic. Social media needs to be strategic as well.  After all, social selling can get you incremental sales increase of 30%, (we have customers doing $multi-million on social) and competitive advantage.  This is not a tactic, it’s a strategy.

  1. The 4th step in the journey is to realise that social is a strategy, it requires a company to activate the ninjas but all the sales staff, in fact all of the staff.If you can get all the sales staff increase their work rate and their sales by 20 to 30% this will move the needle.

Social media is a change program, it request people to do things like they have always done, but it also needs people to do things differently.  That difference requires employees to be empowered, supported and mentored not trained.

So what do you think? and where are you in this journey?  We see a lot of people spending a lot of budget and getting little or no results.

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