Your social presence map: How to define what to share and what not to share on the social web

The web is so social. It’s a great place to connect both personally and professionally.

But not everything needs to be shared with everyone. I prefer to shape my interactions so they are relevant to the context of my relationships. Do you?

For example I have a number of friends who don’t really know (or care) what I do professionally and I’m not interested in pitching my services to them. I have a number of professional contacts who don’t really know (or care) what I do in my personal life and I’m not interested in describing for them what I ate for lunch or what I do in my spare time. It doesn’t matter to me if they find out, but I’m not the kind of person who just lets it all hang out online for everyone to see.

If you’d like to separate your personal and professional life, this idea might be useful for you. Create a chart that maps the geography of your social presence, and identifies the borders between what you’re willing to share with everyone and what you’d prefer to share with a select few.

YOUR SOCIAL PRESENCE MAP

Here’s how to create a social presence map. We start with a simple chart (pictured below) that measures two axes: On one axis, the spectrum of your personal and professional life, and on the other axis, the spectrum of shallow and deep interaction.

This is the “geography” that represents who you are and how you connect with people.


The personal and professional spectrum is pretty obvious – it’s who you are at work and at play.

The shallow and deep spectrum is the depth of your interaction within a specific network. If you’re firing off two or three word statuses (“I’m hungry”, “I’m reading a book”) and not really connecting and engaging people then your use of that network is shallow. But if you’re providing rich content, valuable insight, and enjoying ongoing conversations then your use of that network is deep.

You will be plotting the locations of each network within this geography, as if they were countries on a rectangular continent.

STEP 1: ADD SOCIAL MEDIA TO YOUR MAP

First, you need to figure out how you use your various social networks. List every social network you use, regardless of what you use it for and whether or not you are a power user or a sporadic user. Then add them to the map according to the most accurate location on the two axes.

I’ll use my own life as an example. I have a small handful of social networks I use: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and this blog, AaronHoos.com. So, I will add those to the map, spreading them out according to the two spectrums in the map.

You can see that I’ve placed my social networks at the approximate locations of where they are in the geography of my social interaction.

This exercise can be helpful for you to think about what content you want to post in each network and how you want to interact with the people in each network.

I also find this a helpful way to help me think about how I want to use my social media channels for my sales funnel. For example I note that my usage of Twitter is pretty shallow and somewhere between personal and professional. But if my sales funnel included Twitter as a vital component, I might want to think about deepening my relationships on Twitter and maybe moving my use of that social network slightly more toward the professional side of the chart.

So this social presence map acts as a sort-of analysis of your current position as well as a way to strategize your business’ evolution.

The first step is figuring out where these social networks are in our geography of interaction. We can go a step further…

STEP 2: ADD BORDERS TO YOUR MAP

Next, it’s time to think about how much of your life you want to share with everyone. Some people (myself included) prefer to keep their public life and private life separate. It’s not that I’m unwilling to be myself around my clients, but I also want to cultivate and maintain a professional presence when I’m working and I can relax a bit when I’m not working. If I go out with friends for sushi, I don’t mind sharing that information with my other friends on Facebook, but my clients don’t need to know (and likely don’t care).

So we next add boundaries on the map to show how accessible each network is. Solid lines mean that it’s a private network that requires permission to enter. Dotted lines mean that anyone can enter, view, and participate in that social network.

And you’ll also note the size of the boundaries and the overlap, which help to define the scope of how you use a particular network.

I’ve added boundaries to my social presence map, below:

So, here’s how to read my map: I use Facebook and Foursquare exclusively for my personal network. (In fact, I only use Foursquare because it pushes info to Facebook). They are kept private.

I used LinkedIn for professional relationships and it is open so that anyone can see it. Admittedly (and this is something I’d like to improve), it’s a very shallow network for me right now.

AaronHoos.com is part of my professional social presence, and it’s my deepest network (in terms of audience and subject matter). It’s open for everyone to see.

In the middle is Twitter, which is pretty shallow (although less so than LinkedIn because I do interact with my Twitter network). You’ll also notice that it straddles my personal and professional presences and what I share in Twitter overlaps slightly with what I share in my blog, on LinkedIn, and even a little on Facebook.

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN

Now it’s your turn to create your social presence map. Follow the steps in this blog post to determine what the geography is of your social interactions.

But don’t stop there! Use your social presence map as a strategic tool to help you understand what you want to share with each network and where you want to improve. And if you’re ever unsure about where to post something, look to your social presence map as a guide.

Be sure to revisit your social presence map from time to time to see if it’s changed and if there are strategic purposes to evolving how you use some of your networks.

And while we’re on the subject of social networks, I would love connect with you on Twitter and LinkedIn (invites accepted).

The 5 elements you’ll find in every successful sales funnel

Every sales funnel looks different: One company might sell services through a lengthy relationship-building effort; another company might sell a product as an impulse item at the cash register of a grocery store. However, all sales funnels share a few things in common.

Below, I’ve listed five of the most important elements you’ll see in every successful sales funnel. And if your sales funnel is struggling, check to make sure that you’ve mastered these elements first.

  1. Value: Your potential buyers have problems they want solved or needs they want fulfilled and the sales funnel relationship is your way of telling them that you have the solution or fulfillment they’re looking for. But Prospects are only motivated to buy from you when they perceive value. That is, your ability to solve their problem or fulfill their need must actually make it worth their time, effort, energy, and money to listen to your sales pitch and hand over their hard-earned money. I call this the pickaxe factor.
  2. Target market: No business can be all things to all people so every business must have a well-defined target market. It can be a big target market, and it can even include several different markets, but the target market(s) need to be well-defined. When you know who is most likely to buy from you, you can shape your marketing and sales content to speak to that group in a way that will compel a buying response. (Find out why ‘everyone’ is not your target market).
  3. Clear next steps: A poor sales funnel haphazardly dumps marketing content in a variety of channels (Facebook, Twitter, a blog, an article directory, etc.) and the business hopes that the sales funnel contact will click around to gather enough information to move forward in the sale funnel. But that’s not how it works. A sales funnel contact has a mindset and that mindset slowly evolves over time. The business’ job in marketing and selling is to speak directly to the contact’s mindset and slowly nudge that mindset to evolve toward full acceptance of what is being offered. (Read a previous blog posts about how mindsets work in a sales funnel and how you use steps to move contacts forward in your sales funnel).
  4. Opportunity to buy: I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Marketing is sexy and fun and difficult to measure. Selling, on the other hand, is challenging and sometimes a grind, and there can be a lot of rejection. Therefore, businesses tend to do too much marketing and too little selling… and then business owners scratch their head and wonder why no one is buying. A good sales funnel includes moments (in the Prospect stage) where the seller asks the Prospect if they would like to buy. (Read a previous blog post about this very topic — how a lack of selling is causing sales funnel failure).
  5. Profitable sales: Successful sales funnels have a track record of profitable sales. Okay, some of you are reading this and thinking “duh! Isn’t that obvious?” but it may surprise you to learn that it’s not. Businesses use a variety of measurements to define success. Things like: “Do we have a great logo?” or “Is our blog being visited by more than 100 people per day?” etc. Even businesses that do strive for profitable sales don’t always measure profitable sales as much as they measure other things. (I confess, I’ve been guilty of that in the past, and here’s an example of a client whose sales funnel was not focused on profitable sales). But the only thing that should determine whether or not a business is successful is: Does the business have profitable sales? If your business does not have as many profitable sales as you’d like, take a closer look at your sales funnel to determine how you can make more profit from your sales.

Does your sales funnel have all 5 of these elements? If your business is struggling, you might want to think about destroying your sales funnel and starting over again from the ground up to make sure that these 5 elements are there. (Here’s a 3-step process to help you or read about how to retrofit the sales funnel in an existing business).

There are other reasons that a sales funnel might be very successful or not successful at all, but these 5 elements are going to be the 5 biggest factors that you can influence to create watershed change in your sales funnel… and ultimately in your business.

Why your prospects aren’t buying from you

By their very nature, people don’t like change.

Sure, life is a constant state of change — children turn into adults, they go away to college, they buy a house, they get a job, they meet someone, they have children, etc. Those are all big changes. But in general, people don’t like a lot of change in their lives. They drive the same kinds of cars, they hang out with the same kinds of people, they don’t take a lot of risks, they aspire to a life of status quo.

People are skeptical (and even fearful) of change because change is risk… and people are risk-averse.

So, when you have a Prospect in your sales funnel and you are presenting them with an opportunity to buy, they may cognitively understand that the product or service will help them, but their risk-averse instinct tells them that an agreement to buy is risky… and risk is bad.

In my experience, people are fearful of the following four risks (in the context of a sales funnel), and these four risks will keep people from buying:

  • Losing money (i.e. paying for a product that turns out to be worthless)
  • Losing time (i.e. spending time purchasing the product and then not finding it helpful, or needing to work longer in order to “earn back” the money lost on a useless product)
  • Losing effort (i.e. spending time and energy to use a product that is not valuable, or needing to work longer to “earn back” the money lost on a useless product)
  • Losing face (i.e. being embarrassed in front of family or friends because of a purchase)

I think there are many other risks that keep people from buying — the risks of losing freedom, privacy, and assets, for example. But the four risks I’ve listed above are the four I’ve seen to be the most common and the biggest fears that keep people from buying.

When people feel these risks, they will give the seller all kinds of objections (some will be related to the real risk they are feeling but many will be totally unrelated, as a sort-of unconscious smoke-screen).

If you want to get people to buy from you, you need to overcome these risks by doing the following in your sales funnel:

  1. Address objections head-on before they can even be asked by the customer. Read a previous blog post about 8 ways to destroy objections before they are asked, and read a Weekly Sales Funnel Challenge blog post where I gave an objection-handling example.
  2. Overwhelm them with value. Read a previous blog post where I talk about the reason why people are afraid to buy, and blog post about something called the 9X problem, where people are afraid to move off of the status quo.
  3. Use guarantees and measurable assurances (including testimonials).

Testimonial

“Aaron provided an ebook very quickly. The book was very professionally written, designed, and structured. I will use Aaron again in the future! Highly recommended!”

-That Network