The main part of our business here at Tribal is training people to be social. It’s so important to me, though, that people don’t confuse having a digital presence with being on their mobiles looking at social channels all the time.
There is a time when you need to put the mobile down and return to just having human conversation. This is something that, Lee Welch, who I first met just over a year ago when we were doing some training sessions together, feels pretty strongly about, too.
Lee’s got over 22 years’ experience in the IT software and services industry with a big focus on building intelligent enterprises in a more collaborative way. Lee knows as a team leader in the tech industry, how important it is to not only digitally connect with customers, but also to digitally disconnect and he's pretty passionate about encouraging mindfulness at work, which is why I invited him to join my podcast.
A Focus On Passion
Lee is an admirer of Simon Sinek, in particular his idea that everything starts with a why, which then becomes the how and finally the what. For Lee, his focus is on knowing your why and delivering it with passion.
When Lee talks of his why, it’s all about the stats. That half of the world's population now has internet, making that 4 billion people, with 3.3 billion of them on social media. For Lee, this is where the market is. Not in a CRM system, on an email marketing list or a cold calling list that someone's bought. It’s online.
Meaning if you're not present on social media for business, then you're pretty much invisible to the market and you're restricting your own potential. An additional ‘why’ for Lee is that customer buying processes keep changing, making social become the most efficient way for sales teams of the future to be successfully connecting with their customers. A powerful why.
Driven By Purpose
When focusing on the path to a more social world, you’re always going to have those that aren’t ready for it. The solution, Lee explains, is to focus on those who want to go on the journey with you. Start with the basics to be able to show them the way; but more importantly help them understand what they want their digital presence to say.
They also need to think about how they want to contribute to their networks and communities that they’re going to be interacting with. It should always lead back to the purpose. Anything that is purpose-driven these days makes people far more engaged.
For example, when leading sales teams, you've got to do it for your customers. They are looking for solutions to complex business problems, so if you’re not sharing and putting that information into their digital world in a purpose driven way, then they aren't going to be taking it into consideration.
Ears Wide Open
The reverse to this, Lee says, is when you’re not listening to customers or contributing to their online conversation. It means you probably don’t understand them as you should, thus are unable to solve their unique business problems.
Social business is about the customer. If you've got a passion for connecting with your customers; you should be showing up and thus influencing in that digital world. If all you're doing is taking from your community in terms of talking about yourself, then your community and audience are going to switch off.
Good social is about both engaging and sharing, doing them in equal measure. It’s about adding value and being purpose driven with your passion. If you don't know your why, you won't know your purpose, and you’re going to struggle with the rest of it.
A digital presence is a very powerful extension of oneself, Lee passionately declares. You want to make sure that your beliefs, your value and your point of view is reflected in your digital presence effectively, because that's how people are going to judge you. Whether you're a trusted advisor, credible advisor, whether there's someone you can trust, your digital footprint if you like, is going to contribute to them building that picture up about you.
Embedding Modern Habits
People will often ask how to get started in social, but the truth is, Lee shares, you can't go from zero to social selling hero instantly. Mostly because it's a journey, but for a lot of people it can be quite a daunting one. It starts with good listening habits.
To achieve this, Lee encourages people to follow their customers, partners and other influences online. Utilising all social channels. Anywhere people might be sharing their thoughts.
The next habit to build is to interact. Now you're connected to your audience; it’s key to spend time interacting, but be gentle, he warns. Becoming part of their community, rather than barging in.
Social is a two-way street, and you can't really expect others to interact with you, if you don't interact with them. Then when it’s time to post, avoid becoming a generic posting machine. Make sure to personalise, because people want to hear a point of view. They want to hear what you think about it, which will ultimately spark conversations.
For all this talk about digital connection, another as important topic appears, the art of the digital disconnection. Lee talks as passionately about the disconnect, as he does the connect.
There is a time when you need to put the mobile down and return to human conversation. Striking this balance is something we should all strive towards.
If you have a look at everything people do on smartphones now; emails, calendars, photos, social media networking, WhatsApp, and all the social apps, the entertainment apps the lifestyle apps; the learning apps; the banking and the travel apps.
It’s endless. In fact, you don't even need a wallet these days. As such, it’s become a constant tool in our modern way of life, thus if we're not careful, we can always be on it. A solution for this is the digital detox. Periods of time when phones are set aside, and the focus is on human connection.
When we put conscious effort into learning how to use social media and optimising it, we also need to put as much effort into knowing when not to use it and when it's not appropriate. Balance is needed. For example, with time spent online, we need the counterbalance of outdoor, nature time.
Whatever we’re going to call it: a digital detox, digital mindfulness, wellbeing. It all boils down to people, and companies, taking responsibility of our wellbeing.
- Lee on Linkedin
- Lee on Twitter
- Simon Sinek’s TED Talk on having a Why
- Internet Usage Stats
- Microsoft Azure website