Thursday, January 6, 2011

2011-- Is Social Media the New Las Vegas for Business?

$50 billion! Too much money to rationalize for most people…..but that’s just what Facebook was recently estimated to be worth (http://tinyurl.com/22qp7p8) by Daily Finance. Groupon worth ~$6 billion! Mind boggling numbers unless you are the Yankees or Red Sox.

The expected boom of social media sites can be compared to the explosion of Las Vegas after World War II in 1945. Lavish resorts and glitzy hotels with casinos begin to dominate the city and tourism takes over as the #1 employer in the valley. In the 1960’s Howard Hughes invests in Las Vegas, buying up numerous casinos and “gambling” turns into a legitimate business called “gaming”.

On May 15th, 2005, Las Vegas celebrated it’s 100th birthday, holding the title as the largest metropolitan city founded in the 20th century. In 2009 the American Gaming Association reports that annual gaming revenues topped $5.5 billion on the Las Vegas Strip properties (http://tinyurl.com/38jjoou).

Jump ahead to 2011……Facebook, with more than 200 million users worldwide, was just valued at ~$50 billion. Groupon valued at ~$6 billion. Linkedin pondering an IPO , looking to raise ~$2.2 billion. All this social media buzz and the wealth associated with it started in 2003 when Mark Zuckerburg, a Harvard University student, started “Facemash”. In 2005, “Facebook” was officially launched with an initial purchase price of $200,000 for the domain name. And the rest is history!

Based on the market capitalization estimates from Daily Finance, since 2003, social media sites have created value in excess of $50 billion! Not bad for a 7+ year old fledging industry. Better than Las Vegas!

We’ve seen many of our gadgets over our lives go awry due to advances in technology. Remember 45’s, 33’s, 78’s, VCR’s, tape recorders, reel to reel movies, adding machines, typewriters, DOSS, TV antennas, wooden shafted golf clubs, “BIG Wheels”, Asteroids…..you get the picture.

Today’s business professionals are all chasing the buzz terms we refer to as “ROI’, “EBIDTA”, “margin”, “IPO” as indicators of their success as business entrepreneurs. Problem is in order to achieve these buzz words, they require sales professionals who can convince other executives to purchase their products. The sales industry has suffered over the last decade as yesterdays managers become today’s executives and won’t take “cold calls”. Today’s decision makers typically were promoted or advanced from yesterday’s managers who taught the sales techniques of the 80’s & 90’s. The “assumptive close”, the “affordable close”, the “conditional close”, the “summary close”, all were techniques taught and developed in years past. With the days of successful “cold calling” going the way of 33’s and 45’s, the successful sales professional has had to adapt their efforts to the information age of the 21st century and begin using social media to build, nurture, and grow their professional relationships.

The use of Linkedin, Twitter, Yelp, Groupon, Facebook, blogs (yes, like this one), email, Digg, etc are vital to continued sales success in the 21st century. Sounds simple, right? Wrong!

In order to properly utilize each of these methods (and a successful sales effort requires use of all these sites and more), it would take hours and hours to visit, search, post, reply, tweet, blog, etc. No time is left for the fun part of sales……selling.

The goal here is to become “social”, build a brand awareness for yourself as a sales professional, and have today’s decision makers want to purchase from you, not be sold by you. It’s much better to be a successful order taker than a frustrated sales person.

There are a number of great tools out there to help you manage your brand awareness and on-line reputation. To get additional info, and get a demo on how a social media engagement program can benefit you and your company, contact me for your free demo on how the Social Strategy1 “Engage” system can streamline your daily social efforts and help your profits soar in 2011!

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