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“I hate twitter”

I used to take this stance with twitter, and to an extent , social media in general. I saw it as a waste of time that could be spent doing other, more productive stuff, and that there was nothing to gain by sitting on social networks for hours on end.

In fact, up until about 3 months ago I had this stance. A common perception amongst Generation X is that anyone under the age of 25 is a complete social media whizz, knows how to use it and understands most, if not all, of its functionality, and maybe even how to apply it to a business context. Well, certainly not me!

Sure, I have a facebook account and go on it every now and then, but in no way am I a social media whizz, especially when my attitude was always “it’s a waste of time anyway!”

However, after a long persistent stubbornness to embrace social media, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is going to be (it sort of already is) a massive tool in future, not just from a personal perspective but from a professional one too.

Fact: More and more businesses are getting on social media and actively engaging with prospects and customers.  They’re not just setting up a company twitter account and only shouting at customers, they’re listening and engaging with them too.

From a B2B perspective, this is huge. A report from BaseOne highlights that Word of Mouth and Web searches are the 2 most commonly used ways to make buying decisions amongst B2B buyers, and that 49% of twenty-something B2B buyers will use social media in the buying process.

Word-of-Mouth marketing is often a summation of phone, email or person to person contact, however twenty-somethings regard this social media as WOM marketing too.

What does this mean? Going forward, more and more of these twenty-somethings will be on social media, looking for answers to questions they have, and engaging with companies and employees to get these answers.

A Key Misconception: Social media is hard to measure ROI.

A recent blog post by Sarah Goodhall discusses how this is in fact the wrong question to ask. Social media is a different form of marketing. It isn’t “Spend X to generate Y Leads”. It’s about how you can use it to assist you in the sales process, and assist others in their buying process.

Social is exactly that, social, and if you aren’t using it to listen and engage then your social media use will ultimately fail.

The Solution: I don’t want this blog post to be another “get on social media now!!” post that you’ve probably read a million times before, but actually offers no step-by-step process to using it effectively. Perhaps your situation was similar to mine, where you do not feel social media is a useful tool, see it as a waste of time, and have no intentions to using it.

However, do what I’m doing. Start using it for just personal use. Don’t think about it from a professional perspective at all yet, and just start following your interests. My misconceptions of social media have changed a lot since I’ve began to use it on a more regular basis.

I follow things that interest me, and getting comfortable using twitter on a more regular basis. Why? In the long run, I’ll be more equipped to use social media from a B2B perspective, and this will ultimately make me a better marketer.

So what are you waiting for? Start changing your perception today! Share any thoughts you may have below…

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  1. Steve Rumsby

    I agree completely that starting with personal use is the right thing. There’s definitely a culture associated with social media, and using it incorrectly can create some awkward situations. Best do your learning, and make your mistakes, when you have few followers to notice!

    It might also be tempting to keep personal and professional use separate. In my experience that’s a mistake. Social media is mostly about personal interaction, and the more personal a twitter account is the more satisfying the interaction. I know people who have started with two and ended up with one, but nobody who has gone the other way. This is different, of course, of we’re talking about a corporate twitter account rather than a professional person!

    And twitter takes time and effort to get right – don’t expect big things to happen quickly. All the more reason, then to start now if you haven’t already:-)

    1. Johnny Roberts Post author

      Yes, definitely agree about only maintaining one social media account, rather than a personal and business account. The temptation with this is to ONLY regurgitate your companies products, events etc on your busineess account, and totally miss the point to listen and engage with people on these accounts.

      My long term aim is to incorporate social media, especially twitter, into my daily routine. A common excuse amongst employees is that they don’t have time to check on social media updates, however they have time to look at emails, so it’s all about getting into a regular routine.

  2. Laura Pick

    Great sentiment Johnny – humans inherently reject change but in an innovative company such as SAP it is so necessary!

    You are like our own Project LiFT guinea pig!


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