I recently read an article about Slacktivism. A growing trend where people will click away on social media, getting behind a cause or a product, but only a small few will actually act on their sentiment. Its one thing to “like” the Facebook page for an upcoming cause based rally, it’s another to actually show up.
A recent study from the University of British Columbia found that “Research shows that if people are able to declare support for a charity publicly in social media, it can actually make them less likely to donate to the cause later on,” UBC PhD student and study co-author Kirk Kristofferson said. They went on to say that the more public the initial show of endorsement was, the less like participants were to provide meaningful support later on. ‘Liking on Facebook may mean less giving. Giving public endorsement satisfies the desire to look good to others, reducing the urgency to give later.’
Hmm, what’s the implication to sellers, do you suppose that may describe the social buyer? Does social media activity translate to buyers buying, or does it fall into the pattern above.
People don’t change their habits at different times of the day, if they interact “socially”, and then fail to follow through with action in their non-business life, it is a safe bet that they will interact and act the same way vis-à-vis social media in their business pursuits.
This is not to say that social selling is not real or important to B2B sales success, more of a reality check, and a reminder not to throw all your eggs in one basket. Social selling is one component of many important component of an effective sales pursuit program. Just as it would not be wise to rely strictly on cold calling or referral selling, it is important to resist urge to be post-modern and rely strictly on social selling as some (with financial interests) would encourage you to do.
One has to be conscious of the difference between clicking and doing. In a recent LinkedIn group discussion about the “value” of social selling, there were a lot of good opinions, anecdotes, and rehashed opinions, but there was only one or two measurable. The best advice was those advocating an integrated approach.
Looking to the broader social experience, as a guide, “Only a tiny subset of a subset of a subset uses Twitter or Facebook or any other social media platform to engage in social change. Mining these data for insight — so-called social media analytics — does not “engage the unengaged”; quite the opposite.” Those unengaged in sales are the Status Quo, those busy doing business and not involved in social “buying”, and the biggest segment of any market.“To glean insight into the opinions of the real crowds, we need online and offline tools to engage the unengaged and move them to social action. “Clicking” on Facebook to save the life of a child in the poorest regions of the world, language that seeps in to pricey corporate social responsibility campaigns online, encourages clicktivism and slacktivism. For any important issue, such as electoral reform, clicking on a petition or ‘liking’ a YouTube clip doesn’t cut it.”
And so it is in sales, I leverage social selling, but I “Like” results even more.