Management Consultant Outlines Common Social Media Sales Campaign Blunders

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When are sales people breaking the rules or breaking new ground using social media to promote product? Certified Management Consultant Terry Rachwalski explains the pitfalls of using social media groups as a prospecting tool.

Front Porch Perspectives management consultants, Victoria BC

Management Consultant, Victoria BC

Avoid social media blunders by having an engagement strategy

Using social media to sell a product is challenging says Victoria, BC management consultant Terry Rachwalski of Front Porch Perspectives. “The biggest blunder is using Linked in, Meetup or other social media sharing forums to send overt sales emails to people who are in a group to share information but did not sign up to receive sales pitches,” says Rachwalski. Although email is still an important part of the marketing mix, it is absolutely essential to have an opt-in and opt out mechanism and send your message to those who will be receptive to it.

The reason sending unsolicited emails or messages directly to fellow members of LinkedIn groups is a social media mistake is that, “most people are polite and won’t tell the offender that their unsolicited sales pitch was not welcome. Instead – they will tell 10 friends! And you may never know.”

Citing another example of unsolicited selling, Rachwalski went on to explain how over-eager sales people become members of social media sites like Meetup just to send promotional emails to organizers.

“This is spam,” says Rachwalski. “The sales person has no intention of joining the group or the conversation – they just want to sell their services.” Directing efforts at members of groups – like Linked In or Meetup - without engaging in a conversation first, breaks simple sales rules. “Experienced sales reps know that cold calling to an untargeted list has a low take up rate, yet some sales reps continue to contact people found on social media groups who have not expressed interest in their offerings or asked for their information.”

The problem usually exists in smaller firms that may not have professional management consulting or marketing direction. Often keen sales people are jumping into industry forums without thinking through how they intend to interact with prospects.

To avoid the problem, Rachwalski reminds group members that on Linked in, for example, they can change their settings so other members can’t contact them directly – though says this is contrary to the concept of social media. “It is the ability to contact and communicate with other group members that makes social media so powerful yet it also leaves you open to sales spam,” Rachwalski says. With Meetup, anyone can contact the organizer. If you are the recipient of spam selling email – forward the email to abuse(at)meetup(dot)com, Rachwalski advises.

Part of the solution, says Rachwalski, is to participate on forums where there is strong moderation by a community manager, and a clear, written message that overt selling will not be tolerated.

Rachwalski concluded by saying that social media is a tremendous medium to promote a product and interact with a brand – though companies of all sizes need to plan how they will use the tools.

About Front Porch Perspectives Ltd.

Terry Rachwalski is President of Front Porch Perspectives in Victoria, BC, Canada, a consulting practice that focuses on business development and bringing new technology to market using traditional and social media techniques. Rachwalski holds an MBA and is a Certified Management Consultant (CMC). Contact Front Porch Perspectives Victoria BC Management Consulting

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