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Blowing your own trumpet?

Blowing your own trumpet?

by Phil Stubbs | @PhilStubbs14 | LinkedIn

It’s not big and it’s not clever but social media is awash with self-proclaimed experts. Yes, I’ve covered this before but there’s so much blowing of one’s own trumpets by so many, I have an idea – all get together and see if you can join the LSU Tigers Marching Band as they love a bit of trumpet blowing. Check them out here.

LinkedIn and Twitter aren’t the place to harp on about how great you are, would you do that every time you were talking to family and friends? Telling everyone how you are the world’s best sales trainer that was born at 1103am on a Tuesday. How you were voted the number 1 social nobody, or the world’s best bore.

Having a huge number of twitter followers means zip because if it meant something they would all be buying into your preaching, paying for your overpriced training or your book that actually tells them nothing new. Which means you wouldn’t have to fill every available piece of social profile real estate with banners proclaiming your greatness – you actually wouldn’t need to.

Like most people I prefer a LinkedIn profile that has a head shot and a hero image that isn’t branded or has a rah-rah ‘I love me’ banner (see a previous article).

If you’re an influencer and you are great at what you do then your reputation will precede you in a positive way. Splashing your alleged greatness across our screens can have the opposite effect.

Sir Richard Branson doesn’t bang on about how he is an English business magnate, investor, author and philanthropist. Or how he founded the Virgin Group, which controls more than 400 companies.

Ok, we may not be in his league but think about this – success means you don’t have to talk about yourself all the time. Conversely, talk about yourself all the time and it says ‘actually, this person most probably isn’t the best’. If we are interested in you, we would use Google to find out what the world thinks of you – not what you think of yourself.

You want your google search to show what others say about you, or interesting content you have written. Not ‘stuff’ written and posted by you on your own website and profile pages that’s just a lot of trumpet blowing. Keep that for when you’re on your own.

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The saturation of social media marketplace and a question for you to answer

The saturation of social media marketplace and a question for you to answer

by Adam Gray | @AGSocialMedia | LinkedIn

This week our good friend Simon Kemp came out with his “state of the nation” report – 2018 Q4 Global Digital Statshot which for us is a fantastic tool to see how the macro shifts in behaviour influence what we and our clients do at a more micro level. (you can see the report here)

One of the things that I notice straight off the bat is that the indications are that social media has reached saturation level. Facebook and Google identified that this was starting to happen 3 years ago that there was a ceiling of the number of social media users and that the only meaningful chance they have of increasing their reach is to increase the number of people with internet access. This makes the growth of social channels both slower (which we are seeing) and far more costly as it becomes an infrastructure project.

So, in the last quarter the percentage of internet users who are active on social media has actually decreased slightly, but the number of social media users has [again] increased.

However, as common sense tells you, as the percentage of people on social media increases there are fewer and fewer people left to convert to social media users and therefore growth is bound to slow.

So, as of this month there are 4,176,000,000 internet users and of those 3,397,000,000 are ACTIVE social media users. That means just over 81.3% of people with an internet connection are active on social media. Now consider this. People over 75 generally aren’t active on social channels, and children under the age of 8 aren’t either so that means that those portions of society (all of whom have internet connections) are counted in the 18.7% that aren’t active on social.

So this means that pretty much everyone (certainly everyone we want to talk to from a business perspective) is there now.

Another interesting fact is this (millions):

  • Facebook 2,234
  • YouTube 1,900
  • China 1,415
  • India 1,354
  • Instagram 1,000
  • QZone 548
  • Douyin 500
  • Sina Weibo 431
  • Twitter 335
  • US 326

Of the top 10 most populous places on earth only 3 of them are now countries, the rest are social media networks (if we chose to include messenger apps in this list then there would only be 2 – China and India – ranking 4 & 5).

So where once you might say that “my customers aren’t on social media” or perhaps “my customers’ aren’t influenced by social media” this isn’t true. Now, EVERYONE is on social media and we are all influenced by it..

Given that all of the evidence seems to suggest this position, I would pose the following question to YOU.

As adoption of social media continues to increase, as dwell time on social networks keeps rising, as the influence that these networks has on people both micro (clothing purchasing) and macro (democratically electing leaders/referendums) continues to rise… Why would you make social media and how you and your company are perceived and act on an adjunct to your company, sales and communications strategies rather than central to them?

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How to Become a LinkedIn influencer

How to Become a LinkedIn influencer

by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

I’ve just had an email from somebody who isn’t a LinkedIn influencer, telling me about a course by somebody else who isn’t a LinkedIn Influencer which they are running called “How to become a LinkedIn influencer”.

How is this? How can somebody who isn’t a Linkedin Influencer run course called “How to Become a LinkedIn influencer.” How is it that people that know little (I won’t say nothing) about a subject can suddenly teach others about it? The thing that totally baffles me is why are people buying it, when it’s clear the person running the course, just by looking at their Linkedin profile, they don’t know about being a Linkedin Influencer.

Well on Social anybody can set themselves up as whatever they want and it would seem people fall for it. Well, maybe not you and me, but if people were not falling for it, then these people wouldn’t make any money and go and do something else.

A prospect we spoke to had just fired their social media person and said to us “I thought he was a social media expert, as he had a beard.” Funny statement, but they were serious.

Here at Digital Leadership Associates (DLA) we believe that the only way that you can stand in front of people and say “How to become a LinkedIn influencer” you have to be a LinkedIn Influencer. 

We don’t see how you can be a Judo expert by buying and reading books on Judo from Amazon. You have to join a Judo club and fight and do your gradings. Bob Dylan is great folk singer and songwriter because he played folk clubs where the audience was 7 people. He found out what worked and what didn’t.

I often see debates about this on Facebook which respond and say “we are too busy teaching people to be a LinkedIn Influencer to be a LinkedIn Influencer.” For real?

This “we are too busy servicing clients” to do what we say we do is total and utter rubbish.

Would you take driving licences from somebody who couldn’t drive or undertake a sky dive following lessons from somebody who had never actually sky dived. How difficult could it be? Well you will probably waste your time and your money.

Sorry about what I’m going to tell you but with social media there are no quick fixes, there are no silver bullets. Like so many things in life, if something seems to good to be to true. It is. 

If you too want to be a LinkedIn Influencer, please don’t fall for the snake oil merchants.

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Why You Just Failed at B2B Influencer Marketing

Why You Just Failed at B2B Influencer Marketing

by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

We have written about B2B influencer marketing several times, I’ve also written about it in my book “Social Selling – Influencing Buyers and Changemakers” available on Amazon. This article is about a recent fail we have seen in the Influencer Marketing arena. Please read on there are clear learnings for us all.

Now the reason why you employ influencers is that they will get you in front of a new audience.

For example as a marketer, there will be the people you talk to all the time, such as your email list, people who come to your website, your user group. The idea is that you “touch” them with newsletters and events etc and hopefully you move them along to a lead or meeting with which sales pick up and take along the sales funnel. 

From a sales prospective, there will be the people they are talking to. A smaller list than the marketing one and they will walk this list through the steps hopefully to a close.

The problem most marketers have is getting people that don’t know you much into the hopper at the top so you can start “touching” them.

Traditionally people have attended events, run webinars, written blogs all “top of the funnel” stuff so you can get access to these new people. The problem for many marketers today is that people are too busy for events and webinars. In my experience you only ever get a 50% turnout, maybe I’m just rubbish are organising events and webinars?

One of the (many) reasons why people don’t turn up to these is that people sell / pitch and we don’t like that. Another reason is that you know a company will tell you how great they are, and, to be honest it’s a big yawn. Nobody likes corporate marketing anymore, we have better things to do than list to a talk about your products and a talk from somebody senior who has no idea what he or she is talking about.

This is where influencer marketing comes in. Influencers have a following and that following probably don’t know about you. So what you do is “stand by” the influencer and hope the followers notice you. It’s sounds difficult, but actually a chinch. The Influencer can guide you, that is along as you have a brief, a set of objectives and the budget. Sorry to say but getting access to somebodies network, that they have spent time and effort to build up, will cost you money.

If the money point was a bombshell, then influencer marketing was never for you.

The critical point is that people are not interested in you, they are interested in the influencer and the win as a brand is that you get access to new people.

The moment you cross the line and start trying to put “corporate marketing” through the Influencer’s network, you have failed. Hopefully, the influencer will just say no, like we would, OR you have missed the point and you are wasting money.

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6 Ways to Gain Influence With B2B Buyers

6 Ways to Gain Influence With B2B Buyers

by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

I remember when I started in sales some 25 years ago.  Buyers were painted as some mystical being that could make life or death decisions in some opaque way.  Like the Roman term Pollice Verso (or verso pollice), a Latin phrase meaning “with a turned thumb“, that is used in the context of gladiatorial combat. It refers to the hand gesture or thumbs signal used by Ancient Roman crowds to pass judgment on a defeated gladiator.  Thumbs up they lived, thumbs down they were executed.

I know that sometimes in sales in can feel like life and death.  To misquote Bill Shankly “Some people think sales is a matter of life and death. I don’t like that attitude. I can assure them it is much more serious than that.”

When I went on my first sales call to Arfon District Council, which if you don’t know is in North Wales and the first language there is Welsh.  The meet took place in Welsh and every now and again they people would turn to me and ask me a question (in English).

What I found out was that buyers are like me and you.  We have the same needs, wants and pressures.  So let’s talk about 6 ways you can influence B2B buyers:-

  1. Help them – We all want to get home at a decent time, we all want our jobs to be a success, we all want to keep our jobs and often we want to get promoted.  So why not help people with useful information?  Here at DLA we share our IP on our blog, now something like 400 articles and you are welcome to read them.  If you have a social selling program or are looking to run one, there is an article for you.
  2. Don’t Sell – I know from the day we are born, we are told to sell.  People are too clever for that.  Nobody likes to be sold to.  There is a term I dislike called “add value” or put it another way, help people.  Gary Vee calls it the 49% / 51% method, which is to give more than you take.
  3. Be Honest – Here at DLA as a start-up the only was we will continue to be a success is for us to offer our clients what they want.  Let’s be honest here, we often turn business down, either because it doesn’t fit what we do or the client wants a social selling program which “ticks boxes” rather than makes an impact.
  4. Be on Social – Our clients are on social and we have to be there too.  Now there are two ways we can do this.  Be a spammer and be annoying and slowly people will walk away from us.  Or be who we want to be, which is ourselves and our buyers will see us, want to work with us and approach us.  As I say so many times.  If you are not getting inbound from your social selling efforts, you are doing it wrong.
  5. Business case and ROI – When people spend money they have to justify it.  My team have to justify any spend to me and the same for your clients.  You have to have an ROI, not some lame internal calculation but something you have proven out with clients.  This will then help the clients business case.
  6. Realise that the old ways of marketing are dead.  We don’t look at adverts (regardless of how much people spend on them), with GDPR in place email marketing is dead.  Nobody reads your newsletter your mail shot.  Nobody is interested in your corporate messaging.  We all know that corporations look and sound the same.  The website revamp, the logo change will do nothing.  You have to embrace the fact that 80% of the internet enabled world is on social and that is were your customers and prospects are.  Go get them!

This isn’t the only things you can do, but you will find a turn around in your fortunes and more “thumbs up” than “thumbs down” situations.

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Simple and easy are not the same thing.


The Secret to B2B Influencer Marketing

The Secret to B2B Influencer Marketing

by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

Most people who write about influencer marketing write in a B2C context.  We all see stars walking on red carpets and they are just walking billboards / advertisements for this designer or that.  This set of earrings or that, this make up or that.  The thing is, if we work in B2B we don’t really see how this translates, but it does.

We have just completed working with a large tech company who wanted support for a conference they were running.

The brief was simple, many of the people who attend the conference are the same old, same old.  How in this world of cloud do they get access to new clients?

The other issue “marketing” have, is that “sales” invite existing clients and prospects, and it’s seen as a “closing” event.  Which does not foster new pipeline or new leads which is actually the point of the show.

So what did we do?  Well to be honest we only had 4 days to prepare but we tweeted during the morning presentations.  Then took some Voxpop videos.  And we were on call for some more “corporate style videos”.  Which got posted out on social, during the day and for the week after, supporting actions on the day.  As well as the digital event for the week after.

Probably could have done more with more prep time, but we were able to make the event hashtag trend.

So why as a B2B Sales or Marketing Leader does this help you apart from some tweeting on the day?

If you want leverage online / digital through the way social delivers conversations, rather than just “marketing” messages means the events are likely to get more traction and visibility. 

But no matter how powerful your brand is, when you send out communications it’s unlikely that most people read them.  Or you are talking to the same old, same old.

Influencers have a different more intimate narrative with our networks.  Which is why we wanted to focus on “selfies” and the voxpop videos as this has a more intimate feel, rather than a corporate brand.

Also our followers are interested in us and what we do.  This approach I’m hoping will have got you great reach and amplification than the corporate brand by itself.

If you have an event coming up, might be worth a try? 

Some things to remember:

You need a brief of what you want, the objective you are trying to achieve, influencers can then decide if they want to be part of it.

This is not the same as taking your corporate marketing message and putting that out over the influencers network.  We won’t do that.

Influencers have families that need to eat and mortgages they need to pay, asking for things for free is actually offensive and demeaning to your brand.

There are fake influencers out there, people that have bought followers and likes.  It’s pretty easy to spot them, just look to see how much engagement they get on twitter and if the engagement is from actual people that exist.

There again, I was introduced to an “influencer” at the event I mention above and he had 245 followers on Twitter.  That isn’t an influencer.

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I’m a radio star!