It’s 2014 and social media has become a bona fide and legitimate communications medium in society.
Everything from sharing updates about family to organizing massive country-wide revolutions is happening on social media platforms. Some governments around the world have banned social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter (the latest news comes from Turkey where country leaders have banned Twitter outright).
But we’re not in a foreign country – we’re in the hotbed of open markets and free economies. Right?
Could have fooled me, because one of the trends we’ve observed is company leaders banning social media altogether in the workplace. This is outright paranoid and not practical.
It’s Facebook’s Fault
Let’s call it the way it is, it all started with Facebook being overused abused by all of us when it was brand spanking new. Remember the giddy excitement we all had as we logged in to see what was happening with our friends? It was such a new thing – being able to see every single minute detail of your friend’s life as he/she posted what they had for breakfast, lunch, dinner, their thoughts on Britney Spears, 50 Cent, etc.
LinkedIn and Twitter Suffer
In the world of B2B sales, LinkedIn and Twitter are being penalized, along with Facebook, inside these companies.
Here are some of the reasons we’ve heard from company leaders on why they’ve got a No Social Media at Work policy in the office.
- It keeps sales people away from “real work”. There is no benefit to being online. They have their tasks and they are trained on how to perform them (by tasks they mean “cold calling”).
- They don’t want a flurry of recruiters contacting their sales people offering them more enticing jobs.
- They fear people being on LinkedIn will connect with recruiters and look for opportunities.
I won’t bother to get into the sheer paranoia of these reasons as I believe they’re fairly obvious to most that read this.
The point that resonates with me the most is the fear of looking and/or being contacted with job opportunities. If you can’t keep your employees happy, they WILL find a way to look for jobs while they’re working for you.
Social Selling Needs MASSIVE Amounts of Awareness
These realities highlight some problems for us in the world of sales.
For those of us that are trying to illustrate the opportunities of social selling, our work has just started. It seems for every company that believes in social selling, there are 9 more that still don’t understand the benefits or see it as a hindrance rather than a necessity.
The biggest factor to be considered is the opportunity cost. As more buyers move online to get information, can you afford to avoid them in this critical phase of research?
The Bottom Line
Keeping employees locked away from social media while at work is bound to have a negative impact. The reasons today may seem easy to justify, but B2B buying behavior patterns are working against this.
I believe in the bell curve and that the companies that are laggards and slow to adopt will ultimately be made obsolete. Do you work for a company that has any kind of social media restriction at work? If so, I’d love to hear from you.
Social selling, although still young, is here to stay. If you need any insights or help on how to get started, don’t hesitate to reach out.