Guest Column | October 4, 2013

How Social Media Is Killing Your Sales

By Clint Hofer, Owner, Slingfly Media

You’ve probably heard Twitter has gone public, and that Facebook has more than a billion users. If you think that dabbling in these social media outlets is a good idea, not only are you wasting time, you’re killing your own sales.

Just to be clear, I’m not bashing social media in general. In fact, having the correct LinkedIn profile and an official LinkedIn company page is one of the most important online branding steps you can take. The problem is when VARs and resellers spend so much time on social media that they neglect their core online marketing and confuse priorities. 

There’s this magical belief that posting pictures on Facebook about your company lunch is going to help sell your solutions. Or, that updating your Twitter account while at a trade show is going to help increase your managed services accounts. Sorry to burst your bubble, but nobody cares. In fact, any potential clients you’re trying to reach are probably not even connected with you.

Let’s pretend someone handed you a stack of hot leads, hot like the “Glengarry” leads. You’re sitting — just shaking with excitement — rubbing your hands together in anticipation, plotting a plan for world domination.  What’s your next move?

Can you imagine sliding out from your desk, then driving to the local hardware store to pick up paint and some decorations? Perhaps you stop and buy some artwork to hang on the wall. You are so excited about these leads that you have decided to remodel your office before calling the leads, because, after all, these leads are so hot you want to make a huge impression if they visit your office.

In fact, you spend so much time updating your office that your competitors have already called these leads and closed the deal. You have killed your own sales by wasting time that could have been spent growing your business, but that paint color you chose does make your office look more open!

The fact is there are thousands — yes, thousands — of people every month looking for your solutions. This is not a guess; there is actual data from Google and other providers to back this up. Sorry to say, they are not looking for help on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, so stop focusing your time and effort on those sites.

Social media does have a place in brand recognition and online marketing, but it should not be your priority by any stretch of the imagination. As a VAR you depend on sales, and the last time I checked those leads are not falling into your lap. You need to have a strategic plan to generate your own leads in the most efficient way possible.

If your website looks like it was designed during the Clinton Administration, it’s time for an update. You may have some great information available, but if the look and feel is dated, potential clients will think you’re behind the times and simply leave. With the advances in website technology and systems like WordPress, you can update your online brand in record time.

You want your website to be easy to navigate, and make sure your phone number is listed on every page. This allows any visitor to easily contact you when needed, as we live in a world of short attention spans, and they will simply leave your website rather than hunt for it. A great-looking website is not all it takes by any stretch, you need to get people on your site, the right people, looking for solutions.

This is done using Search Engine Optimization, also known as SEO. While some people may think of SEO as a dirty word, or perhaps have had a bad experience, there is no other method of attracting new leads and clients than online. If you think putting an ad in the Yellow Pages is the way to reach new clients, you better jump back on that ladder and finish painting your office.

The problem most VARs have with online marketing is not performing proper research when it comes to online lead generation. Make sure you do your homework, or have an expert help you determine what your potential clients are searching for online. The data is available and should be used as your treasure map to guide you in the right direction.

There is a working formula for getting more leads from the Internet, but make sure you have your online marketing priorities in check. Wasting time on entertaining social media outlets before your core online brand has been updated is a sure way to kill your sales.