Is your social media digital skills gap still manageable?

Conversations I have with CEO’s, CMO’s and senior leaders often highlight a concern I have.

The social media digital skills gap is far too often overlooked.

What does that mean to you and your business?

It could be the difference between success and failure and hand an huge advantage to your competition

If your customers and prospects aren’t following and engaging with you and your business on a regular basis – they will be doing it with someone else

  • You need to have professional and visible personal branding
  • You need a ‘one in all in’ attitude to LinkedIn – don’t be happy with just a handful of employees being active
  • B2B social media is a world away from Facebook. It requires a skill set that many businesses don’t help their employees develop

You can sit and wait but this only guarantees one thing:

The gap will get bigger – in fact, leave it too long and it will become insurmountable.

You need to look at your employees, starting will all those that are customer facing or senior leadership positions. It’s unlikely they’ve had and in-depth training, coaching or mentoring.

Would you leave your business strategy to luck? Of course you wouldn’t, but without addressing the social media digital skills gap you’re relying on luck – any you have will soon run out as the gap grows.

Closing the gap isn’t something you can do in-house or by getting employees to read a handbook. It takes recognition, acceptance and commitment.

You need someone that has taken the journey before you, creating success over decades dealing with customers in competitive markets through the changing digital landscape. Someone that understands the digital journey we need to take, not settling into a comfort zone – someone used to calculated risks and staying ahead of the game. My global clients have this.

Why didn’t I become a professional football player?

…Or soccer player for those of you in some parts of the world.

So, why didn’t I become a professional?

Well, when I was young, I wanted to play football every day, during a break at school there would always be a game of football taking place in one of the playgrounds. We played with a tennis ball. And being small it helped us hone our skills and playing on a hard surface – we learned to keep our feet. Something the pros of today could learn.

As I got older and the distractions grew – I was in a school of 1,800 pupils and although I was in the last intake of the all-boys section of the school – the adjoining girl’s school building was the root of the head turning. The playground matches became more sporadic although there was a group that continued playing, every day without fail.

In my latter years of study, I had stopped playing for the school team and was turning out for a team that was in a youth league – which was a higher age group and by the time I was 16/17 I was playing in a men’s league. And that’s how life continued, albeit along the way there were a couple of gaps – one when I was living two minutes away from the City of London and life revolved around West End restaurants and weekends away. However, I would still represent the company or turn out for 5-a-side tournaments when needed.

All told, I was playing football until the result of many injuries forced me to stop. I was 44 and took having to quit very badly.

Back to the title of this article – when I was young, I wanted to play football every day – I didn’t have the chance of becoming a pro because I didn’t play football every day.

I was talking to someone yesterday about what it takes to be really good on social media, how to tap into the vast number of opportunities that are out there, how to build a strong and credible network and how to become a ‘go to’ person. You need it to be part of your everyday life. You can’t dip in and out in those early stages as I did with football in mid-teens and early twenties. Adam Gray, someone who I’m lucky enough to have as a mentor, mentioned ‘regularity’ to me this week. I realized that I had been thinking of ‘frequency’.

What’s the difference? Well to be a pro footballer a player would be required to regularly turn up for training at a specific time on days when there wasn’t a match. That’s what enables them to improve and create muscle memory and have the chance to become a true great. If a player turned up on 75% of those days at a time that suited them, then although they were frequently training, they wouldn’t achieve the levels of performance as those that were regularly at the training ground. Those that the coaches could engage and work with.

So, if you are ‘active’ on social media, make sure there’s a regularity about it – rather than just being somewhat frequent.

Old school v new school CEOs – which are more likely to have a decent personal brand?

I make no secret of the fact I believe too many CEOs are ignoring the ‘elephant in the room’, social media presence – and need to work on their personal branding. If I had a pound (£), for every poor attempt at a LinkedIn profile by a CEO I find – I could make that a full-time job and do nothing else!

Actually, ‘attempt’ is being too kind – they resort to the minimum – name, rank and number. When I ask many of them why they haven’t added detail to their profiles or at least try and make themselves seem interesting – the excuses I’m given are more akin to when a teacher asks you why you didn’t do your homework. To be honest it’s embarrassing. Not just to them but to me too, having to review such poor work – people entrusted with the future of a business and the careers and wellbeing of their employees – are cheating.

Is that harsh? Not at all. When I played football (soccer) if a player was ‘cheating’ it meant they weren’t putting in a decent shift, they were being lazy and doing the bare minimum.

I recently found 92% out of 175 ‘active’ LinkedIn profiles, I reviewed, of CEOs from businesses with in excess of 10,000 employees – were, and I’m being kind, very poor. You would probably think that new school CEOs were the 8% that had made the effort – alas, that’s not the case. They are as bad as each other. ‘New school’ tend to think they have a decent personal brand but don’t, whereas ‘old school’ are more likely to make the changes required and are more open to help once they understand the impact. However, with CMOs also failing, you can understand how deep the problem goes.

Regardless of who’s best – it’s a shocking statistic and if I reviewed more profiles, the numbers could be worse. Makes you wonder what happens in the board meetings……….

More people see your content on social media than you could ever imagine

This article was first published on the Digital Leadership Associates blog here

‘Yes, he doesn’t drink, does yoga and goes to watch lots of football.’

That’s what a lady said when asked if she knew me. We were at a work reunion I recently attended but I’d never worked with her. Earlier that evening an old colleague I hadn’t seen for years, remarked ‘I hope this comes across how it’s meant – you seem to be an insightful businessman on LinkedIn’. It turned out he read lots of my posts and articles – but never ‘liked’, commented or shared any of them.

These are great examples of social and social selling. I don’t have to know who is looking at my content, I put lots out there and it’s up to the individual if they want to read it. I don’t force my content onto anyone and I don’t send out any of my blogs by email. I post on LinkedIn, I tweet and share content on Instagram. A quick side note – at Digital Leadership Associates we don’t use email – we actually deleted our database of addresses when GDPR kicked in. It’s an ineffective channel.

Just as social media gives the individual control over what they want to view, social selling gives control to the buyer and decision maker. They can choose what to view, who to follow and who to converse with. No one is forcing them.

If you ran a reputable shop you wouldn’t run into the street and drag people to your store so you can show them what you had on sale. So why would you directly bombard people with content or offers they most probably aren’t interested in. Why would you hassle people with cold calls because you have a target to hit, and, let’s be honest, you don’t really care who buys from you or if they really need what you are selling? Of course, you wouldn’t – you’re a professional.

So, let me ask you this. Do you believe in yourself and your product, service or solution, enough to rely on people coming to you because of what you’ve posted on social media? If you don’t, maybe you need some help with your approach to social selling or it’s time to switch jobs.

At a meeting earlier this week I drew, on a flip chart, the good old sales funnel. I spoke about how we get leads in at the top and being salespeople, we quickly qualify as much out as we can but we tell the boss we are qualifying the leads ‘in’. All we are interested in is getting to the sweet spot at the base of the funnel – when we get a sale. I then flipped the page over and drew what life is like with social selling. It’s a perpetual cycle – people ‘drop’ into my world whenever they want. I don’t force them to stick around and I don’t force them to read anything I post. They can also exit when they want. Or, choose to dip in and out when they want and engage with me when they want.

My audience on social is far too big for me to know everyone and add them to a fudged excel pipeline. I generate inbound without spending a penny………..

You can read the rest of the article here

Infinity pool or bath? Today’s sales pipeline by Phil Stubbs

Yes, I remember selling when all our contacts and prospects were kept in a file or a Rolodex and when we changed jobs they went with us. It took a while to ‘fill’ our bath – management would always tell us sales was like filling that bath – the water was our prospects and we needed to keep the water topped up. As we know with baths – too much water and they overflow.

Salespeople can only juggle so many balls – they have to keep filling the bath to replace the water that’s spilt out, the pipeline always needs topping up. Building up that pipeline is like painting the Forth Bridge – once you think you have finished you have to go back and start again. Sounds like a full time job – when does the selling take place? Very good question.

Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to keep topping up the bath – if you had an ‘infinity pool’ that appeared to go on forever, never running dry and never overflowing.

Welcome to the world of ‘social selling’ – get it right and it will provide you with enough water (prospects and enquiries) to keep the pool full and you don’t have to worry about the supply. Social selling can provide inbound interest leaving more time to convert propects that are ready to take the ‘plunge’.

Contact to see how you can adapt you business to take full advantage of social media. #engageviaguildhatch