I was recently involved in a roundtable
discussion with several hiring decision makers, sales managers, and human
resource specialists. While there were differing opinions, as you’d might
expect, when it came to interview and hiring practices, there was almost an unanimous position about the retention factors for sales people. And, at the
top of the list, was the use of social media.
Obviously, in the digital era for which we
live and work, social media is a factor that is here to stay. The use of social
media to advance one’s business agenda can be a powerful tool. However, that
same use of social media may also be a sales person’s demise. The line between
the two could not be thinner.
Good, positive use of social media can
and should include posts about successful stories involving your own company
and those of your customers. Announcements about new products or services,
posts about promotions, the use of images and video to support a comment, are
all good ways in which social media can help a sales person move ahead of the
pack and engage new levels of customers.
But, what happens when social media is
overused or abused? What becomes of the sales person that takes social to a
very personal, intimate level with customers? Where does the use of social media
cross the line into becoming a problem? It can happen quickly and often without
the sales person even realizing they’ve crossed that line.
I’ve seen firsthand how social media can
be the root cause of a sales persons decline. The Tweets and re-Tweets about
political, economic, or religious commentary to an audience comprised of both
personal and professional contacts. Blending the personal Tweets into the fold
with your professional Tweets. Friending your customers and prospects on
Facebook where you are posting personal pictures of you and your significant
other at a bar, on the beach, or attending an event. At first this doesn’t seem
too harmless until your customer realizes you are “constantly on Facebook” and
that you share way too much personal information. They want to have a
professional relationship with you and don’t need to see you and your wife in
Then there is the overuse of social
media while describing to your employer and customers that you are “so very
busy” and “overwhelmed with work”. Let me get this straight, you can’t seem to
stay on top of your customer meetings and responsibilities, yet you have the
time to post on social media every 25 minutes? Something is just not right with
So, as I wrap up this morning’s post,
let me just use this as an opportunity to share my advice. Keep personal social
and professional social as separate as possible. If you must blend the
audience, make sure you are always cognizant of your posts and the frequency.
And, most importantly, be aware that people are always watching you. Social
media has broken down many barriers that once allowed a person to remain
private. What you share on social media removes your privacy and those words,
pictures, actions, videos all may cost you business some day.