In my blog post last week I wrote about questions. I’d like to continue that theme, but from a slightly different angle.

In the last year or so, I have seen a similar question come up again and again in the Question and Answer forum on LinkedIn: Do social media venues such as LinkedIn / Twitter/ Facebook, etc. work as vehicles for generating business.

The majority of the answers provided in the forum, like those in most debates, fell onto one side or the other – yes it does, or no it doesn’t. With respect to this specific question, I had a revelation while watching a Disney movie with my kids over the holidays. The revelation was that the factor that makes social media work or not for a business is the same thing that makes the Disney machine work: Great content.

The idea came to me since we had just come back from a Disney on Ice show that introduced the kids to Ariel of The Little Mermaid (and to Disney Popcorn – profit center number 2 for Disney). We went home and later rented the movie (number 3). In the middle of the movie the kids asked when we could go back to Disneyland (number 4).

Disney is a great example of an effective integrated marketing company. Exposure to one kind of product leads naturally to interest in another.

Social media is best thought of the same way. It is infrastructure. Asking if Social Media works is like asking if plumbing works to deliver fresh water. This is really two questions. The first question is “does the plumbing work”. The second question is “will the water that comes through the plumbing be fresh”. Very simply put, the water will be fresh if it is fresh, the pipes are clean, and the pipes do their job and deliver it.

If you have content that resonates with your audience, and you can connect to that audience through the infrastructure of social media, then social media may help you reach your business goals. If you content is not interesting to the audience, then no infrastructure – social media or otherwise – will help.

As sales and marketing professionals, it behooves us to stop evaluating the potential effectiveness of tools and communication vehicles with binary questions based on someone else’s opinions. If we know our business, and know our audience, then we can use the tools that present themselves to us to reach them. From there, we need to connect via great content. If we fail to do so, then social media will work to help your prospects leave your content just as fast as they came.

So does Social Media work? Sure it does. Will it work for you? Depends what you put into the pipes, who you ask to turn them on and how you do it.

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Authors note (AKA shameless plugs)

So, this 7-step sales process and associated topics…. Yup, I write about that a lot. I’ve been working with it since I developed it about 25 years ago – in my own diverse work experiences, with my teams when I had them, and with clients ever since.

If you would like to develop you own personalized and customized, highly effective and efficient B2B selling system, here are some further steps you can take:

The Salesman’s Guide to Dating is a free or very cheap (depending on Amazon) Kindle book that walks you through the sales process using the familiar analogy of dating. It’s a good, fun and quick way to get your mind around the whole process and how the pieces fit together.

Building Your Sales Process (BYSP) is a free and very thorough exploration of the same 7-step process that will walk you through the development of your own customized, personal B2B selling system. When you are done, you will know exactly what to do to get new business.

The Momentum Selling System® is an inexpensive but very robust online sales training course that is similar to BYSP, but goes deeper into the concepts behind each of the steps, and also helps you develop a plan not only for the 7-step process but also addresses mindset, repeat business and client base management.

If none of that sounds right, I do personal coaching and offer a free 30-minute intake session so that we can both learn if it makes sense to work together 1-on-1. If this sounds interesting, click over to the coaching page on this site and sign up for the free session.

Here’s to your success!

-David