Imagine you are at a conference. It is the networking break and you spot someone you haven’t seen for a while. The two of you start catching up over a coffee then someone you both don’t know comes up to you. Conference etiquette is that the “unknown” person waits for a gap in the conversation for a suitable break when they can join, when they can add value to something that you are talking about.
An alternative version is that someone comes up to both of you and thrusts a business card into your hands and yells the name of their company at you, saying “buy my product”. You can’t help but stop to acknowledge the stranger.
This is called advertising.
We accept these interruptions on many of the mediums we use because we have become used to it.
Social media is different though. Just as you can’t walk up and yell out an advertisement for your company to conference delegates in the middle of a conversation, you can’t do this on social media either. You have to have something of value to exchange.
The social value exchange
I use the conference example on stage at my keynote talks and it gets people thinking, that yes social media is indeed different and must be treated in a different way.
Selling in the past via the telephone or email has always been a fine art. So how can you get to a decision maker and bypass their team or personal assistants put in the way to block your marketing messages being received?
In the age of social, many traditional sellers have assumed that they can just “tweet the CEO” in the hope they will bypass the usual people blocking them for their message to be heard.
The issue is though that many of the buyers are not on social media, or don’t use it in a way that is effective for cold calling.