“Social media is essential when building brand awareness!” This message has been emphasized endlessly by marketing experts, business leaders, celebrities, and even President Obama. Although a relative latecomer to this phenomenon, I now have been convinced of its value. But only to a degree.
In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, I helped launch several companies and then opened my own, Finesse Cuisine. In those days, outreach and brand-building still happened primarily through old-fashioned, face-to-face networking, prospect meetings, and endless phone calls. When the power of social media became evident, I was concerned because my sales staff and many of my consulting clients came to rely on their laptops and smartphones as their sole means of communication. I instructed that live interaction between people should never be replaced by technology and I still believe this whole heartedly. A client or colleague never develops a trusting relationship only through tweets or status updates. These connections are a good start, but they must be supported by the building of a real world bond. Over time, I have learned to embrace social media with many fewer reservations but only when complemented by those tried-and-true methods of live and personal communication.
If you have thoughts on how we use social media to enhance sales relationships, please share in the Comments. Or, even better, call us!