Saturday Morning Sales

Kevin Latchford


Social Media & The Salesperson - April 7, 2018

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 swimsuits.


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 that picture.


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.

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