Tag Archives: Twitter

The Value of “The Human Interface”


face to faceIt’s an unfortunate paradox, but one that is harder and harder to ignore.  The more energy we all pour into our computers, social media, and mobile interfaces, the less time we spend on our person-to-person, human interface.  There are many articles highlighting this dynamic – that social media is ironically making us less social human beings. A great Facebook-focused article on this topic can be found here in The Atlantic.

But you don’t need to do comprehensive research for this information, the anecdotal evidence is all around us – kids texting from across a school bus aisle, adults arguing via Facebook posts, even teens impersonating other teens using “text spoofing” and other electronic interfaces.

The Workplace version of this story took on a new reality last week.  Here is what happened, according to Tech Crunch:

While at a Python programming conference, a developer who used to work for a company called Playhaven apparently made a joke about “big” dongles and “forking someone’s repo.”

Adria Richards, a developer evangelist sitting in front of them, called them out on Twitter and in a blog post for making the conference environment unwelcoming toward women

A huge, nasty online exchange erupted on the social media universe, and ultimately, both the programmer and Adria lost their jobs.  Very serious.  Very sad.

What if instead Adria had simply turned around and told the programmer that she found his comments offensive?  It’s easy to imagine that with face-to-face communication, this conflict could have been resolved much more effectively.

So, what does this have to do with sales and marketing?  A lot, I think.

I believe that we as Sales and Marketing Professionals have also lost some practice with direct human communication.  We use voicemail, email, text, and even social media to carry out much of the communication that was once almost exclusively face-to-face with our customers.  Have there been efficiency improvements, absolutely.  But, I can’t help but wonder how much more effective some of our critical conversations would be if we delivered them on the human interface.

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Sales People – Play Your *Position (*It’s Changed)


Parents who have watched their children growing up playing soccer can appreciate this.  It’s the phenomenon I call “swarm-ball” where the young kids cluster around the ball, eyes fixed on it, and move as a swarm up and down the field, flitting around to the brink of exhaustion.

Years go by.  Then, something magical happens.  All the coaching sinks in and like a light-switch, the players lock into the concept of playing their position.  Suddenly all the lost energy becomes focused and efficient.  Players are making passes, assists, and goals more often with less exertion and more accuracy.

Sales people have a position to play in a selling process too – and it’s changed.  Radically.

In recent years, as the internet has exploded and buyers are more educated than ever, sales people can no longer afford to just “chase the ball.”  Buyers don’t like it.  They won’t tell you – they just won’t buy from you.

It boils down to this, you are no longer the source of information on your product or service.  Whether they have it or not, clients will come to you feeling as though they have all the knowledge about their purchase (want proof of this trend? Ask your Doctor if Web MD has caused her any frustration in this area with the medically “brilliant” patients she now must deal with).  Clients do their homework first.  We all do this when we buy. 

My respected friend, Ardath Albee (follow her on Twitter immediately if you don’t yet – http://twitter.com/#!/ardath421 )  is a thought-leader in content marketing.  This is the art and science of generating interest, attention, value, and engagement (that leads to YOU and the active selling position you play).   Here is Ardath’s new concept of a sales funnel:

The bottom line is that you as a sales person no longer work the entire funnel.  You and your organization need to need to put good, valuable content out there to capture the interest, gain the attention of, communicate value to, and Engage potential buyers.  This is where your position kicks in.  At this point is where you can make a huge difference as a sales person.  You can have more qualified sales conversations, and close more sales, if you play your position

Don’t to shoe-horn your clients into being “sold” on your product.  Instead, play your position by leveraging content marketing techniques to engage clients in the front end of the funnel while you bring value to buyers in key conversations and their decisions to buy. Be the best possible player you can be from “engagement” onward in this funnel and you will score more goals!

Making Dogfish Into Lemonade – Great Social Media Save by The Red Cross…


Think you can let your social media team tweet away and not monitor the mentions and results? 

Well, this week the American Red Cross, they learned a sobering lesson (pun intended) that you better be listening.  They were, and they recovered…

There was an accidental tweet of a personal nature launched over the American Red Cross Twitter account.  It referred to a staffer partying with friends drinking Dogfish brewery’s Midas Touch beer – and it lit up the Twittersphere.  Here is a link to the full story on the Huffington Post.  Better yet, jump into the Tweet Stream on this topic and get a load of all the traffic this thing drove: http://twitter.com/#!/RedCross

With some quick thinking and some quicker action, The Red Cross has turned this potentially embarrassing gaffe into a fundraiser.

This proves once again that if you can show that you are listening in social media, and that you are a part of the community, the community will reward you with the benefit of the doubt, and maybe even some donations.  You might even say the Red Cross has the Midas Touch!

The Four Stages of Getting Twitter


Have you been using Twitter?  Well, 190 million people have found some valuable reasons to.  Perhaps it’s time for you to check it out.  Once you do, don’t expect to become an expert or to fall in love right away.  It takes some getting used to.

Here’s an example: Aaron Lee, who is a great “Tweeter” on social media topics, “Re-Tweeted” (forwarded)   Jay Oatway‘s tweet about the info-graphic above in November.  It’s posted on pop-culture blog TopCultured and captures your learning curve better than anything I’ve found out there.  Without Twitter, I would never have known it existed.  He breaks it down into 4 Stages:

 Stage 1: You begin – “Crazy morons…”  and “…I tried it for a day, it’s stupid!” 
Stage 2: You will progress to being curious: “…I had a burger today.”
Stage 3: The light bulb comes on: “…I think, therefor I am.”
Stage 4: You are a full convert:  “Hey, @Tim_Kocher – Thx for re-tweeting!”

 Once you get there, you’ll find Twitter can be your most valuable source of targeted, real-time, and interactive information.  It’s like a cable TV channel that you build over time with the most relevant and up-to-date information that exists for you. 

So get started, you have a few stages to work through!

Tim on Twitter


No, not me.  I’m highlighting an interesting post on a very cool blog that I just discovered from Tim Berry, President and founder of Palo Alto Software on the nature of Twitter. 

Tim argues Twitter can be a good thing or a bad thing.  At its best, it is a game-changing business must-have for every serious marketer.   At its worst, Twitter is time-wasting drivel.  In the end, however, it’s neither.  It all boiled down to how you use it.

I think we’ve all caught ourselves in that moment of shock waking up from a Twitter bender having just spent more time that we’d like to admit on the “bad” Twitter. 

Tim Berry’s Synthesis: “Twitter is the brush, not the painting. It’s a tool for a new kind of self publishing with a different kind of reach. Talk of business benefits of Twitter are like talk of business benefits of the telephone, or of conversation, or of advertising. It’s all in how you use it. Who or what are you trying to be in Twitter, and what does that have to do with your identity, your message, your business, your self.”

How are using your brush?

Read more of Tim’s interesting blog at: http://timberry.bplans.com/2010/12/twitter-is-the-brush-not-the-painting.html#ixzz188ajPUqj

Jeff Bullas’ Top 5 Posts…


I’ve sung the praises of Jeff Bullas in past posts.  If you’re not following him on Twitter, it’s your loss.  Pound for pound, it’s the best social media direction I’ve found out there.

Here is an interesting post of his from this summer.  It is from his blog readers’ perspective.  The focus is what they have found “most newsworthy and topical in the last 90 days.” 

Summary:

  1. 30 Things You Should Not Share On Social Media
  2. The 7 Secrets to Ford’s Social Media Marketing Success
  3. 20 Things You Should Share On Social Media
  4. Twitter Reveals 11 New Facts on its Traffic and Usage
  5. How To Use Twitter For Business: 5 More Incredibly Interesting Case Studies

As usual, great stuff.  Thanks, Jeff!