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Eight Social Media Mistakes The Sales Pros Make |  March 18, 2015 (2 comments)


Austin, TX—For years, I had personal branding all figured out. I would accept speaking opportunities at trade shows and state conventions. I made certain my reputation—and monetary worth—held up. I knew my work would reflect positively on my personal brand, even on my days off.

But social media turned my personal and professional branding into a 24/7/365 challenge. While branding The Jewelry Coach, I made lots of blunders. I tried not to fret about minor gaffes: I corrected them, made amends, and moved on. But there is a huge challenge as we move through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and so many more places popping up.

As professional sales associates you can’t ignore social media. You need to be out there and active on it because it’s where your customers are. But remember that social media is essentially brand management, so think twice before you hit the “post” button. Here are eight social media mistakes too serious to ignore:

8.  Pride. Too much pride is among the Seven Deadly Sins, but having too little will put your personal brand and selling on life support. Specifically, I’m talking about your social media photos.  Not too long ago, you could get way with using a silly icon or a photo of your dog as your profile picture. No more. Social media demands greater authenticity and, now that your photo will be made public every time you post a tweet or comment, make sure your photo creates the image you desire.

My best-known photo shows me speaking with my arms up in the air (top left) . People actually come up to me and recreate my photo. They laugh, and I laugh, but they also have connected to my brand The Jewelry Coach and me as a motivational speaker and sales coach. That’s what you want.

Hate posing for photos?  Ask a friend to take candid shots of you when you’re relaxed — reading a book, talking on the phone or petting your dog. (Pet photos are ok as long as the focus is on you.) Choose one that makes you look professional and approachable. I like photos that say you are professional and real.

7.  Venting. In a word, don’t! Disconnect yourself from social media when you’re irritated with anything going on in your world. Take a walk, pummel a punching bag, or do anything else until you’re too exhausted to hit the keyboard. Do not demonstrate hostility online. No matter how justified your outrage may be, don’t make it public—and permanent—in social media.

Personally it is the quickest way to get me to never look at your Facebook posts again. There’s just too much bad stuff out there, we are all aware of it and I just don’t want it in my world anymore than it already is. Plus you might just upset a customer. I know a sales associate who, despite being truly great at sales, didn’t get an interview for a fantastic job because they often ranted on social media and it turned off a retail jeweler.

6. Tagging. Do I look like a piece of jewelry? I love to wear it but do I look like I am a ring or a bracelet? I hope not! The fastest way for me to un-friend you is to tag me as a piece of jewelry. There are people out there trying to sell something and they decide because I have a few thousand followers I would be a great person to tag as a piece of jewelry. Stop now! Enough said.

5.  Rudeness. If your mom didn’t teach you manners, enroll in an etiquette class. Written communication often sounds harsher than you intended.  It’s hard to be too polite in social media, but easy to come off as abrasive when you meant to be clever. Every keystroke affects your reputation, so choose—and type—your words carefully.

Please be a good social media citizen and, if you already are, thank you!!

4.  Ego. Share your successes on social media.  Your followers want to celebrate with you. But show some restraint and gratitude when you do. A post that says, “I’m so honored to be named as one of the industry’s most promising young jewelry retail sales professionals” sounds better than one that reads, “Guess who made the top 10 list — again!” That just sounds arrogant and works against you. People want to celebrate you and there is no problem singing your praises as long as you do it humbly. You worked hard and deserve it all!

3.  Missing. Social media is a conversation. It’s hard to remember at times to connect and stay active on my sites. I simply try my best to connect at least once a week. If you go missing for over two weeks people will look at you as not active. That doesn’t mean you can get away with using automated posts in lieu of personal interaction, either. They are convenient, but there’s nothing social about them. Honor your followers by being present on social media, not by sending automated messages while you sleep.

2. Greed. Anyone in business wants to make money, but social media is not the place to announce that this is your sole objective. Let your store’s site talk about special sales, not your personal site. Ambition is attractive; greed is not. It’s ugly and a guaranteed way to seriously damage your personal brand. Give your customers advice, lead them help them and they will want to hang with you. If every post is about selling something they will lose interest and stop following you.

Finally, there’s only one deadlier sin you can commit in social media:

1.  Negativity. This is the self-brand killer. This is the number-one mistake you cannot afford to make. There are “Debbie Downers” out there and it’s just no fun to follow them. There are others that are always happy and up and post fun interesting things and I can’t wait to read what they are saying. An occasional humorous post about how your dog swiped the whole roast you were planning to cook for dinner is something customers can relate to, but don’t cross over into whining. Just remember customers want to buy from happy people. Be a happy person on your social media places.

Make it the best sales day ever!

Pat Henneberry, founder of The Jewelry Coach, was recently named vice president of global learning for Hearts On Fire. With more than 30 years’ experience, Henneberry is one of the diamond world’s top trainers, having helped build multiple brands for the jewelry industry. She spent 10 years with DeBeers’ Diamond Promotion Service, where she helped launched new brands, worked on national ad campaigns like "A Diamond is Forever,” and helped retail jewelers build their diamond business. While there, she was the proud recipient of the Diamond Symphony Award by Diamond Promotion Service and DeBeers. Later, she was part of the Hearts On Fire international training team, where she traveled the world teaching retail jewelers how to sell diamonds and grow their business. Her firm The Jewelry Coach is about building positive principals for self-improvement and personal jewelry sales development, and offers an online 24/7 sales training community. 

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Comments (2):

One caveat to point 8…
If you are the key holder, keep your photo of your dog or an icon. Coach the rest of the staff about leveraging social media to its fullest.
Safety First.

By JoeB on Mar 20th, 2015 at 3:01pm

Great article, Pat!

By Teresa Recar on Mar 20th, 2015 at 6:41pm

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