So, you have a LinkedIn profile, a Twitter account, a You Tube channel, and a Facebook fan page. Are they working for you? Are you getting any business from your social media efforts? If 2009 was about this shiny, sexy new toy called social net- working, 2010 and beyond are about building ROI from your online efforts with social market leadership.
You’re thinking, “What? More high-tech jargon?”
Definition of Terms
Social networking (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, etc.) is about
presence. Hopefully, you have a professional presence on these sites to
create awareness and marketing gravity to your value-add.
Social media is the platform, or the vehicle to get you there. It encom-passes more than social networks and includes being more searchable,
paying for unique positions online, and conversion strategies to take
buyers from interested to engaged.
Social market leadership is about purpose. It is a fundamental shift in buying
behavior, and professional speakers have to understand and master it. To
succeed, you will need a very real purpose of why you’re online, who you’re
trying to date, and what will influence their thinking and call to action.
There is a lot of noise in the speaking industry. Every client evaluates
multitudinous options that compete for mindshare, and every speakers’ bureau recommends a plethora of prospective talent to speak about
“change.” It certainly doesn’t help the profession when speakers can’t
delineate and differentiate themselves from the next 10 similar options
or, even worse, try to compete on price.
The solution: Learn how to leverage social media to engage clients.
A Shift in Buyer Behavior
Social media empowers buyers in an unprecedented way. In the past,
buyers were educated during the sales process. Now, search engines
empower buyers to extensively research potential speakers before engaging
them. They can check references, build their own lineup of experts, and
make a buying decision without even letting speakers know they are in the
market, let alone engage them in a sales process.
So, how do speakers sell to buyers when they don’t know they are
looking for speaking services? How can speakers influence the market to
ensure they are considered for an engagement? Professional speakers who
cannot manage the transition to the new “buyer norm” will face considerable headwinds in building or retaining relationships and market share.
When I first began to speak professionally, every “expert” I met recommended a one-sheet, a demo video and a media kit. Everyone suggested
that I get a list of association and corporate meeting planners and start
dialing for dollars. At that time, speakers reached out to their markets and
educated prospective clients, who logically evaluated their options. Then,
speakers diligently followed up until they booked their first gig. If not,
they planted a seed for the next opportunity.