I am an avid collector of vinyl records. I have had a fascination with them since I first started collecting in the 1960’s. I was working for a rail company as a Redcap (carrying customer baggage for them), and I would get tips that I then converted into vinyl records. Everyday I would go into the record store and browse the thousands of records wondering which ones should I buy today. In those days LP records cost $2.98, so I was able to buy 2 every working day. I soon had a great collection and continued to add to it oven the ensuing years.
The came the fateful day in 1987. I was sitting on the veranda at the great Pinehurst Golf and Country Club in North Carolina and reading an article in the newspaper; The Death of Vinyl Records. I was stunned thinking this can’t be! It seemed at that time that a new form of recording was coming to the market called CD’s. I immediately decided that I would quote my Father when he said: “The Beatles will never last.” Of course, CD’s would not become the go to listening format.
Well as we all know, they did and now they are a thing of the past for the most part as well. Digital downloads and music streaming sites have taken over and who knows where it will lead to next.
I write this because I am seeing a similar disruption and transformation taking place in the world of Social Media today. Social Media is becoming the go to form of communicating, purchasing, researching, etc. for society. Whether we like it or not it, is here to stay and will continue to evolve and integrate itself into all areas of our life. The question is; will we embrace this form of media or will we continue to play our old vinyl records?
As a business person, I am continually surprised by the fact that business people use cell phones, email, online purchases, etc., but have not made the business transition to Social Selling and Marketing. They play those vinyl records without seeing that the world has moved on. Cold calling, emailing and unannounced drop by visits are old school. Business today is being done more and more on Social and if you are not there, then you are missing out on a high percentage of opportunities to grow your business.
This doesn’t mean that you abandon your sales force or marketing department. It means that you give them new tools to drive your business. There is still a need to make sales calls. There is still an need to educate from a marketing perspective. The difference is that the opportunities are uncovered using Social, because that is where your customers are today, and if you are not there, you will miss out.
What do some of those tools look like?
- An online profile that speaks to who you are not what you sell.
- Articles and posts that establish you as the educators in your industry.
- An online presence in multiple social sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, etc.
- An understanding of how to create relationships online the same way you did in the past, face to face.
I have not abandoned my addiction to vinyl, but I also understand it is harder to find it (although it is making a bit of a comeback), and therefore I need to embrace music streaming, because the opportunity to listen to 100,000,000 songs is available to me as opposed to the limited opportunity I have with my vinyl collection. The same in business, we do not abandon the opportunity to meet with people and sell them our product, but the process of using social increases the number of opportunities to create new relationships and therefore the opportunity to drive our business.