Who’s afraid of social media and social networking? You are!

Who’s afraid of social media and social networking? You are!

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at gitomer.me.

You’re a chicken.

Let me correct that. You’re a dumb chicken. You’re out in the middle of the road, pecking for scraps of food, and an 18-wheeler is about to run you over.

LET ME EXPLAIN: Business social media has created the biggest chicken farm in the history of mankind.

But you’re chicken to get involved with, or participate in, what will prove to be the biggest boom to business and sales since the creation of the Internet. The chicken farm is also known as “Corporate America.”

Since a very small percentage of salespeople and business people in the country are taking total advantage of business social media, I’m assuming you fall into the chicken category. And I’m not just talking corporations and lawyers here. I’m talking you, the salesperson, are a chicken.

Here are the elements that may be holding you back from participating in Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube to build your connections, your reputation, your business, and (of course) your sales:

1. You’re technologically challenged. You may feel overwhelmed at the thought of creating your own business Facebook page, your own LinkedIn account, your own Twitter account, and certainly your own YouTube channel. RELAX: Each one of these social media programs has easy-to-follow tutorials that will allow you to get started and establish your base. It will require an investment of time, about two to three hours total. Or, in that same period of time, you could make 20 cold calls and receive 20 rejections. Think about it.

2. You don’t know where to begin. Begin by calling your top 25 customers to find out what they consider valuable in their marketplace and in their business, and inform them you’re about to create a value-based business social media presence and you’ll be sending them an email asking them to join you.

3. You don’t know which program to start with. Start with Facebook. Currently the third largest country in the world, Facebook has now interconnected more than 600 million people, many of whom are your customers and your prospects. You may already have a personal Facebook account. Now start a Facebook “business” page.

4. You don’t know what to say. When you call your customers and find out what they want to hear, what they want to read, and what they want to learn about, you’ll know exactly what to say. Business social media is not complex. It’s not a course in calculus or physics. The secret basically revolves around common sense and providing value. Those are the core elements.

5. You don’t understand how it applies to business. Business social media provides a first-ever, open forum where customers can connect with you and share their feelings, and you have an opportunity to respond back. If you don’t see how it applies to business, perhaps you should search your competitors, who are at this moment making some feeble attempt to get involved. Your job is to create a better, more open, more truthful forum on Facebook, on Twitter, and on YouTube.

6. You’re afraid your customers will post something bad. Wake up and smell the Internet. Just because you don’t give customers an opportunity to post bad news, doesn’t mean they’re not going to post it. If you give them an opportunity to post, it will give you an opportunity to respond and fix the problem, or at least address it — thereby giving your other customers assurance that you’re paying attention. This is also a huge opportunity for your business to discover your own weaknesses and make certain they don’t reoccur. I believe a negative post on your business Facebook page is one of the most positive opportunities you could have. And the only people against it are C-level chickens and marketing chickens. Oh wait, I left out lawyer chickens.

7. You’re afraid the boss will fire you. If you’re posting positive comments about customer interactions and customers themselves are posting their comments about how much they love you, your fears might turn into a raise. Most of the time bosses are afraid of business social media because they are technologically challenged themselves. (Note well: All bosses and all sales managers are chickens. That’s why they put a non-compete clause in your contract in the first place.)

8. You’re afraid you will break the rules arbitrarily set by your corporate attorneys. The easiest way to ensure that you stay away from rules is to stay away from your company name. Your business Facebook page should be about the product or the service, not the company. Keep in mind, you’re branding yourself and you’re branding your expertise. This is all about communicating and helping customers, not selling products.

9. You’re afraid no one will follow you. If you set up a page and use the Field of Dreams strategy, “If you build it they will come,” you are correct, no one will follow you. If you create a game plan as outlined above, post valuable information, and invite your customers to follow you, you’ll have more followers than you can say grace over.

10. You’re afraid to make the personal commitment. Time fears and time commitments are one of the biggest barriers of life, not just business social media. I recommend that you list the hours of a day that you’re awake, maybe 16, maybe 18, whatever it is, and allocate them to the projects you consider most important, saving at least two hours for business social media. One hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. NOTE WELL: If your boss is stupid enough to forbid Facebook at work, start the morning at Starbucks. Make 25 connections, post five great events, and cruise into work an hour late. After a week, the boss will ask what you’re up to. Show ’em. You might be able to get a rule changed.

10.5. Your bosses and lawyers are not just afraid of business social media, they’re afraid of everything.

The simple answer to involvement and achieving business social media success is: seek professional help. I did. One Social Media (onesocialmedia.com) advises me how to cross-link, keyword, and other Googleable actions. It’s working.

Re-allocate time. Two hours a day to start. Get into the 21st century. It’s measurable, and it’s pleasurable.