Just Say No to Social Media

For the past five years I’ve been advocating an end to the use of the term “social media.” Why would I do that, given that my passion for the past eight years has been helping people understand and apply social media tools to their business?

It’s because social media is just a set of tools, and tools are only as useful as the skills of the people who wield them. Too many companies still equate social media success to achieving basic competency with tools. They’ve got a Facebook page, a LinkedIn profile and a YouTube channel, so they cross social media off the to-do list.

These companies may think they ‘re finished, but they’ve barely begun. Like any craft, social media success comes from persistence, hard work and commitment to improve.

We founded Profitecture to teach the concept of “social authority.” This is a measure of trust and credibility that accrues from mastery of subject matter and a willingness to share that expertise. Social authority can’t be bought at any price. It has to be earned.

You also don’t need social media to earn it. You can build social authority through writing, speaking, teaching and recognition from others. It just so happens that social media tools are perfect for building social authority on your own without relying upon the benevolence of others.

The New Empowered Buyer

We live in the age of the buyer. Thanks to the Internet, people are empowered with far more information today than they were just a few years ago. Customers research purchases without ever contacting the vendors they consider. Countless studies have proven that they place far more trust in the recommendations of their peers than in marketing messages or sales reps.

Traditional sales and marketing doesn’t make a dent in the new sales cycle. The only way to connect with buyers as peers is to become a peer. That means building credibility, and credibility is what social authority is all about.

Social authority is a new form of capital based on trust. Anyone can build social authority for nothing more than the cost of their time. It grows in value with use and it pays off in many different ways. The more social authority you build, the faster your reputation grows because people share your expertise with their own social networks without demanding payment or asking permission.

Profitecture teaches business professionals how to build social authority. That means knowing what to say, not just how to talk. Social media isn’t just an extension of traditional marketing channels, it’s a complement to them.

Building social authority means applying the principles of active listening, constructive conversation and pay-it-forward generosity. Ask anyone who has built a large community how they did it and they’ll tell you that they started by giving more than they got.

In short, building social authority requires a new way of thinking about your company and your customers. Profitecture teaches the tools because they are a means to an end, but our real objective is to show you how to build trust.

Social 2.0

Many forward-thinking businesses are now taking social engagement to the next level by leveraging the networks of their extended families to grow their social authority further. They’re enlisting employees, business partners and customers to spread the good word about what they do, and they’re equipping them with information to share. Profitecture has trained thousands of employees and channel partners in how to lend their own social authority in support of their company.

This is the next phase of social media. It’s one in which the principles of engagement, sharing and community infuse everything a company and its employees do. Doing it well requires structure and discipline so that everyone is singing from the same page. And it’s incredibly exciting when a social organization clicks.

Profitecture’s structured training programs are built on personal attention, one-on-one coaching and attention to content. We’ll help you realize your potential for social authority – your own and your entire organization’s.

About Paul Gillin

Paul Gillin is a writer, speaker, online marketing consultant and social media coach with Profitecture. Since 2005, he has helped business-to-business marketers at companies of all sizes and in many industries use social media and quality content to reach and engage with customers. He is also a prolific writer who has published more than 200 articles on the subject of new media. His books include: "The New Influencers" (2007), "Secrets of Social Media Marketing" (2008), "The Joy of Geocaching" (2010) and "Social Marketing to the Business Customer" (2011) and "Attack of the Customers" (2013). He has written the monthly New Channels column for BtoB magazine since 2006. Paul is a veteran technology journalist with more than 25 years of editorial leadership experience. His website is gillin.com and he blogs at paulgillin.com and Newspaper Death Watch.