I have this view of the world: marketing is focused on pixels and print and sales is focused on people. It’s a bit of a simplification but the point I am trying to make is sales is about people:people interaction and marketing is mainly people:non-people interaction.

So, when it comes to integrating social media into your business what strategy do you adopt? Over the last few years we’ve seen a significant increase in social media uptake by businesses – and for the most part they are failing. To me it seems that a lot of these businesses hand over social media to the marketing department, who then start to think in terms of ‘messages’ and  ‘channels’ and see social media as just another channel to pump their messages down. But here’s the problem – most marketing departments aren’t used to the customer answering back – which is the whole point of social media. And they panic.

On the other hand sales folks are very happy to engage and converse with customers, prospect, well just about anyone in fact. So doesn’t it make more sense if the sales people are on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or whatever? But marketing get concerned about how this type of interaction may ‘dilute the brand’ or ‘not be consistent with our core values’. So in the end, the customer speaks and few are listening. And those that do listen are often worried about engaging.

Ideally get your sales team involved in social media – but not to push your product – but to grow your contacts, your influence and help people on-line with your knowledge. This will create far more of a buzz and help the business define its area of expertise and value to the market place.

Social media is best when it is used across the entire company to communicate. From stores, to dispatch, from finance to HR – social media is just another communication tool that can be used across the business.

Would you consider limiting the use of the phone, or email to just one department?

Then why limit the use of social media?

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