Jill Rowley, chief growth officer at Marketo, has this note for potential connections on her LinkedIn profile:
****If you want to connect with me on LinkedIn, I only accept personalized invites.****
This may seem a little exclusive for someone who evangelizes doing your ABCs: “Always Be Connecting.” After all, many people you might be excited to connect with are extremely busy and may not have the time to personalize their social media invitations. But the point that Rowley, a top sales and marketing expert, may be intending to make, is that your online persona should reflect your real persona, and in business, generic doesn’t cut it anymore.
In her talk at the Incentive Research Federation’s 25th Annual Education Invitational at The Grand at Moon Palace, Cancun, Rowley discussed why your social network is your new net worth.
“We are living in the age of the customer,” she said. “Your clients have more choice and a louder voice,” because the Internet is a business research tool and can amplify every review. Noting that there are 7.593 billion people in the world and 4 billion of them are on the Internet, Rowley said that “more people own a mobile device than own a toothbrush.” She quoted a statistic that by 2020 customers will manage 85 percent of their relationship with a business without talking to a human being.
Sellers who call or email are facing customers who ignore and delete. So, how do you get someone’s attention?
LinkedIn: With 562 million users in 200 different countries, Rowley suggested that if you are not on LinkedIn you don’t exist. “Everyone is digitally driven. It is your access to your buyers and colleagues.” Your profile is not just your resume; it should be who you are. LinkedIn and other social networks offer businesses the opportunity to listen, learn, and engage. Rowley demonstrated how she finds leads and connections on LinkedIn by searching for university alumni, interests, or job titles, and recommended using the free online learning tools to get the most out of the network before upgrading to Premium LinkedIn.
Twitter: Rowley calls Twitter a giant research network because you can listen to what customers, partners, and competitors are concerned and posting about. There are also opportunities to interact and connect with influencers in your industry segment. She cautioned, however, that social media can amplify mistakes. The saying “You are what you tweet” is more relevant now than ever.
Shared Content: Rowley quoted AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, “People who don’t spend five hours a week in online learning will make themselves obsolete.” Shared content in your industry is an easy way to learn, as well as online education tools like blogs and tutorials. Sharing content is a good way to engage with clients and potential clients to educate them about your company and also sharing content from others for the benefit of your industry segment.