Are you ready for Social Media?

Let’s start with the basics. What is Social Media (SM)?

social mediaThe Internet gives us “platforms” we sometimes call apps. Facebook (FB for short) is the 800 pound gorilla. The Amazon of Social Media if you will. You know about FB because you already use it for “social” purposes. Should you use it for professional purposes? It depends.

Your kids are abandoning FB at a high rate. The typical user now is middle-aged because when we Baby Boomers came to the party, it was no longer “cool” to be on FB. When one shares their life information with their friends, it was an open secret. When one shares their life with Aunt Bertha and she tells Mom, NOT COOL.

I took a class on Social Media and one of the major points was do one platform right, rather than several not so well. I agree. You can choose FB and not be wrong, but I view each platform for different audiences. The FB page I use professionally is geared toward my local audience, my co-workers, and their friends. I tend to post about our company picnics and company parties, and to showcase our involvement in the community with things like United Way, the July 4th Parade, volunteering for a local shelter, etc.

The next generation looks at your website and your SM (Social Media) to evaluate is this the kind of place I want to work? Turnabout is fair play, I read their SM profiles and sometimes determine I don’t need to interview them and waste both of our times.

It’s important for NetPlus distributors know what it means to brand. Brand is who you are and how you represent yourself and your company. Personal brand reflects who you are. Are you a family person? Do you work out? Do you contribute to your community? Are you a serious business person? Are you a goofball who has lots of pictures of the parties you attended and got wasted? Are you seen as someone who moves from company to company because you never “settle in” or, are you always looking for a “better offer”? Your personal brand can reflect positively and negatively on you and/or the company you represent.

Professional brand reflects the image of your company: Does your organization make a contribution to the industry you serve? Does it grow your customer’s revenues or reduce their costs? Do you care about the world outside of your work? Are their Google stories about your company taking advantage of loopholes in the law or creating pollution? Do you care about the environment?

Your prospective employees do.  So do many of your customers.

The next generation cares about the social purpose of your business. They want to know what they will learn that they can take with them to the next stop on this journey we call a career. Will you teach them skills that translate to their next place of employment? Will you allow them to make a contribution to your company or do they have to be there 10 years to “learn the ropes” so they can help?

What if I told you the next employees you hire will only be there for 3 years? Can they teach you something?  Do they know more about computer hardware or software than you do? Might they have a better grasp of what the “Cloud” is? Do they understand SM? Can they give you a roadmap to attract and retain the next generation of employees? Are you interested in your business continuing after you retire? Maybe to send you the “payout” checks when your feet are in the beach or skiing in the mountains?

You don’t have to believe what I believe. But you are not entitled to mis-interpret the facts. Today over 30% of your customers are Millennials. In 2020, they will be 50%, by 2025 Millennials will be 75% of the buyers. Baby Boomers retire 10,000 a day and Millennials are joining the workforce at the exact same rate.

Are you running your business for you? Or might you want to consider running it for them? We have adapted our entire careers. Who remembers their first fax machine? Who remembers their first desktop computer? Who remembers FORTRAN programming with cards and getting that integrated to your business? Who still resents buying software for the business? Have you transitioned to software in the Cloud? You will.

Almost no one (even Baby Boomers) do anything without checking it out online. 73% of the buying decision is made BEFORE they contact you. That’s true of your prospective customers, your existing customers and your prospective employees. For investors it’s 100%.

So while you are building your business, and you think it is about what you make or what you sell, and the services and perks that go with it—the world thinks your business is what you project online! Is your website the BEST representation of your business it can be? Is your website mobile friendly? The ultimate purpose of SM is to drive traffic to your website. Is your website ready?

Do you have regular updates to provide fresh content for the search engines? Is your website interactive with your ERP and can your customers find their orders online? As a manufacturer, are you providing enriched content so that 73% of the decision made is in your favor and YOU get the call? As a distributor, do you post the blogs of your manufacturers? Do you want AMAZON to get all the research or is there a role for your company with your customers?

Who IS this guy? https://www.linkedin.com/in/philsamuels/

Phil Samuels is a long time veteran of our industry who has worked for distributors and cutting tool manufacturers along the way.  He is the Director of Sales & Marketing for North American Tool.  (www.natool.com)  Just happens to have had some exposure to some young folks who understood this better than he does.  If he can do it, so can YOU!