Social Media: Where Personal & Professional Collide

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I was on an insightful webinar with Jay Baer the other day and he made a profound statement, “My Facebook News Feed is where my personal life and my professional life collide.”

He went on to say that companies that think they are competing on Facebook by pushing out sales messages are totally getting it wrong. This is because they’re not competing with other companies. This is because, as Jay put it, “They’re competing with my wife! My life!”

We are now a hyper-educated society. Talking with someone about features, bells and whistles is a LAST resort. Instead, we Google it, research it, or find out what we need to know through peers on social media. Then, and only then, do most of us pick up the phone or head to the store.

Information Killed The Salesman

Unless the customer is in front of you or on the phone, salesmanship is dead. We’re not always relying on sales people to give us the information we need to buy; we can do that ourselves.

Fact: B2B customers contact a sales rep only after 60% of the purchase decision has been made. [Tweet this stat!]

If you’re a sales rep on social media why not lose the sales-y stigma and go back to what salesmen used to do best? BUILD THE RELATIONSHIP. You can do this, quite simply, with information. Read more about how brands are doing this on our previous blog post.

Hoarders Isn’t Just A Show On AMC

I can’t get behind companies that do NOT share the information they have. I’m not talking proprietary stuff, or saying they have to give away the kitchen sink, I’m talking info in the way of helping others.

Why do companies want to hoard precious info all to themselves for profit? Do they fear people will not buy from them if they share their good tips and advice on their blog or social sites?

Other people in your industry WILL share their tips and valuable information, and they’ll do it for free.

Maybe the info hoarders are scared that Sally Sue is going to read all of their tips, day after day, and go out and do it herself? I see that as insecurity. Perhaps these companies don’t believe they’re the leading authority to deliver those tips. Implementation is where most people fail – not in knowing HOW to do something. We can Google that, remember??

Just because you have a list of ingredients, it doesn’t mean you’re a chef.

And for those few Sally Sues who DO exist? I don’t want them as my customer anyway. My customer is savvy enough to know that they don’t have the resources or the time to do what I do, or to implement on a consistant basis, or to do it with my experience and knowledge base.

The Data Dump

Information Overload

While we (consumers) need information – and need you to supply it – we also don’t want information overload.

We have such little attention spans that sending out a newsletter or other “informative content” with several different offers is not a good idea.

I’m sure you’ve gotten an email from some pathetic soul trying to sell you four different things at once; their webinar, booking them for a gig, their featured product, and a 50% offer. Bombarding our brains with so many offers at once is a buzzkill.

You don’t want to punish your readers for being readers by pelting them with several sales messages at once. Focus on one thing to sell … like JUST your webinar, OR your featured product, OR that thing you’re discounting because it’s SO valuable it needs to be discounted by half off or more.

Ahem. You get the point.

In short: Inform before you promote. Make it personal before you push the professional. THINK CONVERSATION, NOT CAMPAIGN.

See you in the social sphere!


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Brooke B. Sellas is an award-winning Customer Marketing Strategist and the CEO & Founder of B Squared Media. Her book, Conversations That Connect has been recognized nationally and is required reading for a Customer Experience class at NSU. Brooke's influence in digital marketing is not just about her accomplishments but also about her unwavering commitment to elevating the industry standard of digital customer experience and customer marketing.
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15 Comments. Leave new

  • This is a really great post Brooke and very timely for me! I’ve been brainstorming on creating some “How To” blog posts but I’ve had reservations about giving away information; yes, I’m a hoarder. I’ll just let my guard down a little and share some of what I know with the world.

  • I think sometimes we worry that we’re “giving away the kitchen sink”, as I mentioned. I’m not saying you give your secrets away! Rather, I’m saying that YOU should be the SOURCE. The place where people know they can ALWAYS go for great tips and information. Being the SOURCE keeps you top of mind, and when someone IS READY to buy, they will come to you. :-)

  • BRILLIANT article! You made countless valid points. Love your “Hoarder” comment. It used to be that companies wouldn’t post info on their website because they didn’t want their competitors to see it. What they didn’t know was that their competitors already HAD the info it was their customers that were missing out. This article is a MUST share and I’m sharing it now. P.S. I did tweet the 60% statistic.

  • Thanks, Heidi! I still hear the “competition” excuse a lot. People and companies think too much info will be telling to their comps, but you’re right, the savvy comps (the ones you really have to worry about) already know your dirty little secrets!
    Thank you for sharing and tweeting! I thought that stat was VERY telling and lent to the validity of what I was trying to say …

  • There’s a big difference between smart sharing, careful crafting of “how-to” posts and articles and full on “secret” dumping. Sadly, some people don’t seem to understand and grasp the difference. Give to get is one of the prevailing principles of social. It’s rather ME ME ME to think you can GET GET GET without sharing and giving.

    You’re a real content marketing dynamo this week, Brooke. Keep it up.

    • Thanks, Mallie. I think it’s hard to sell info these days (just info) since we have so much info at our fingertips. Unless its extremely unique and helpful, might as well use it to present yourself as a source of good and helpful tips/tricks/”secrets”.

  • I find that for me personally, it’s very important to keep personal and professional separate. My boss, the company’s owner, not so much.

    I think a great deal of it is personal preference – I’m simply more of a private person.

    But while I think that’s a topic onto itself, I didn’t feel like that’s where the post really went. I think the conversation here is really on sharing company secrets. I went to a meeting one day last month had a hint of ‘sales call’ to it (requested by the customer) and I came away from it feeling like I’d given away every last secret I had save for passwords. We put together a proposal for our services with some fantastic ideas that she probably won’t ever use.

    Fast forward a couple weeks. I had another meeting to discuss social media in which I gave away a ton of suggestions and ideas. And we won’t end up seeing work from that customer, either.

    Now, the argument can be made that I should never be sent to a meeting about social media where we don’t already have a sale made – and that’s probably true. BUT I also think that it speaks a lot to what is important to me. I LIKE to see other people succeeding at promoting themselves. I like to see well-crafted Tweets and Facebook posts, hashtags used only on Twitter, etc. I like to see other businesses succeed. I’d rather we all (not just marketers, but the whole WORLD) share a few of our “trade secrets” so that everyone can better themselves – it will come back to us.

    For instance, a lot of small businesses and non-profits can’t afford true “social media management or consulting.” So they ask a friend for a few hours just to “brainstorm”. If that friend is like me and gives them good ideas and valuable information, and that small business does things right – it will pay off by way of improving their finances. Next time they need services, they’ll be able to pay that higher rate.

    And again, this is why I’m not in sales. :)

    Great post.

    • Thank you for such an insightful comment, Amanda! I really, really appreciate it. And of course I totally resonate with your sentiment on the world being a little more open – more posts to come on this very topic soon. I hope you’ll come back and weigh in on those, too. :)

  • I agree with this 100% – “My customer is savvy enough to know that they don’t have the resources or the time to do what I do, or to implement on a consistent basis, or to do it with my experience and knowledge base.” The Sally Sues you are talking about more than likely the ones teaching everyone who to do it wrong.

    • Thank you, Mandy. I’m just not interested in chasing a client who thinks they can do it all, or knows it all. I’m here to help and our success in 100% dependent on the client’s success – so Sally Sue is fine and dandy … I’m just not interested in her!

  • This is a BRILLIANT article with countless valid points. It never ceases to amaze me that every time I read one of your articles, I learn something new. Great fact: B2B customers contact a sales rep only after 60% of the purchase decision has been made. I have been working on sharing more. :-)
    Robin Strohmaier recently posted…Top 5 U.S. Social Networking Sites – Share of Time Spent – comScoreMy Profile

    • Aw – Thanks, Robin! You’re making me blush over here. And puff up like a proud hen. :) I’m really happy and excited to hear that you’re leaning new things by reading our blog – that’s EXACTLY what we want to happen. Cheers, thank you, and HAPPY FRIDAY!

  • Are some social media marketers oblivious to user experience?
    February 26, 2013 1:26 PM

    […] original post, “Social Media: Where Personal & Professional Collide” by Brooke Ballard was published on the B Squared […]

  • Thank you Brooke. The world needs more voices shouting these messages. I will file this under Best Practices -Social Media for 2013.

    Business fail to realize their marketing spam can never compete with OMG CAT videos or updates on friends questionable lifestyles – they will blame Social Media as “dead” or something equally untrue. The savvy will take the time to engage their audience, build relationships, trust and culture.

    Sharing information is a great way for all of us to start, rebuild and maintain preeminence and authority in our professions. How else is a potential client going to build trust in our brand, in us? By giving away useful, relevant information through blogs, articles and social sharing – we help people in a real time way. We also have the ability to receive instant feedback from not only our network, but our network’s network, through comments and sharing. How valuable!

    Cheers Brooke.

    • Thank you, Jeff. I couldn’t agree with you more. I loathe the use of cat (and other non-relevant) memes. I think it’s lazy to market that way and then yes, true to your point, those marketers will then blame social media for their shortcomings and inability to measure ROI.
      I’ll keep sharing my (sometimes snarky) messages in the hopes those reading will actually learn something rather than pretending to do so.
      Thanks again!


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