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Earn the Right to Sell

Posted on : 19-11-2008 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Brands, Social Media


Many marketers want to know the best ways to sell in social media spaces.  I have seen these sell attempts made on posts made on blogs, forums or twitter.  As with anyone I applaud them for recognizing the social media spaces as being important to their business.  I agree it is probably going to be one of the most important areas for companies in the future.


I may be a simple service person and not a marketer by trade, but I do think I know a little bit about this space.  To me social media is the same as talking to a Customer during a phone conversation or in person.  It never works when you throw something out there for the Customer to buy.  When I spent more time managing people I always taught them to earn the right to sell.  You do this by providing the best service and resolving any concerns.  Once you do this, it is simple to review and offer something that is appropriate for the Customer.  If nothing is appropriate, then nothing should be offered.  It is letting the Customer guide the approach.


In social media the same is true.  The first step would be to build relationships and earn the respect in the space.  The way you build relationships is first listening.  Doing so, you will understand the audience and the way interactions occur.  It also allows you to learn about your brand and how companies use your products.  The next step would be to engage with your Customers in the space.  This is probably the most rewarding of the steps for company (at least in my personal opinion).  There is nothing more fun than the opportunity to chat with your Customers.  Once you do all this, then, and only then, can you consider selling.  At the same time, just like in a phone call, it is only good to sell what it is appropriate for the needs of the Customer, or in the case of social media, the Customers involved.  The other key (now this goes back to listening) is that it must be relevant.  It must be a solution or fulfill a need.


This may be against the grain of many regarding selling, but I think in this space where the Customer has a high degree of control, it is necessary.  Otherwise people will shut you out and not listen, which is also easy to do in this space.  What are your thoughts?

You Might Get a Headache from Social Media

Posted on : 18-11-2008 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Brands, Social Media

Tags: , ,


How effective is your company listening to social media?  Do you have the ability to respond quickly and effectively within the space.  Everyone knows my story on Twitter, so I will not go into that here.  But one thing I have always said is the true ROI for being involved in social media is the cost for not being involved.  Over the past few days a story began to unfold regarding a brand many of us have used (although based on what I have seen, many will not use going forward).  The brand is Motrin.  Lets watch a little of this headache unfold:

It all started with this ad campaign (you can provide your own adjectives). I think Peggy Olson (Mad Men) would have told Donald Draper no on this one! 



That was the beginning of the headache for the maker of Motrin, McNeil Consumer Healthcare (A division of Johnson and Johnson).  As I have stated before, one of the reasons Twitter is a good place for business is news starts in places like that or online forums.  From there it usually spreads to other sources such as blogs, or in this case You Tube.  Eventually the information finds its way to traditional media.  Well this is just one of those stories.  So after the ad campaign began, let the tweets and the headache begin.  Here is an image of the website:


Moms began to tweet about the offensive nature of the ad.  These mom’s made it clear that it is not a pain to hold their child close to them and they love to do it.  So this ad was truly backfiring on them and they did not know it, at least until someone decided to build the video.  Instead of rebuilding all the tweets, check out the You Tube video created:



This started numerous blog posts on the topic.  Check out Google Blogsearch, Twitter Search, or a search of You Tube.  This caused a large hit to the brand that will show in search results for a long time to come.  Now at this time the company has posted an apology on the Motrin website:



There are a number of lessons for brands.

  1. Common Sense Marketing – First and foremost use common sense in advertising.  I am not a marketing person, but I could see this one coming the moment I saw the ad.
  2. Listening in Social Media – Listen to spaces such as Twitter because it will give you a heads up very early and hopefully respond before there is a video and numerous blog entries such as this one.
  3. Engagement – If you had individuals already in spaces like Twitter, reaching out at the time of the initial tweets may have prevented this (although no guarantee).  It at least would have made it so some of the individuals would have known the brand was listening.  I will write a post soon on engagement by companies! 
  4. Rapid Response Culture – Create a rapid response culture that would allow this to be escalated to the right people and decisions made immediately.

I would like to thank the Moms on Twitter for sharing the story – I have become friends with many of you and I appreciate all the hard work you do.  I also found the blog posts from David Armano and Pete Blackshaw very helpful (as always)