Part 2: Everyone is Reachable: An Interview With Al Campa, CEO
Last week, I posted the first part of my conversation with Al Campa, CEO of Reachable, a social business solution that leverages your personal contacts with a database of over 65 million business people. He talked about how quality connections in reachable networks can help build your marketing and sales volume. If you missed it, you can catch it here.
In this second part, he explains the impact of social media on both individual and corporate brands. Take a look.
There’s been a lot in the news about how social media is being used to screen potential job candidates, which has been unsettling for some people. Social seems to have blurred the lines between people’s personal lives and professional lives.
People are getting smarter all the time about how to get information. I remember hearing Eric Schmidt (executive chairman of Google) talk once, and someone asked him how to protect information. He said if you really want to protect it, don’t put it on a computer. He wasn’t specifically talking about “online” even—he meant don’t put it on a computer at all.
So that’s the world we live in. If you put something on Facebook, Google or even just on your computer, it’s “public.” And it does have ramifications for people who are trying to get jobs and seek employment.
I saw someone on Facebook say once, “I’m going to get super drugged up today.” And someone else responded asking, “Why do you want to be a cop then?” You have to keep your private stuff private—either don’t do it, or keep it off your computer. Once it’s there, it’s there for good. I mean, you can delete tweets, but Google has indexed them all. It’s a little like when we thought our phone calls were private, but then along came caller ID. If you want privacy, don’t put your stuff out there.
So people have the ability to put their whole persona online—but you’re saying, maybe that’s not such a good idea?
Well, there comes a time when you have to say, enough is enough. I was considering hiring someone once, and when I looked at his activity on social media, it seemed like he was on Facebook all day long. He was a pretty high-powered guy, but his Facebook activity lowered my view of him. Same thing about Twitter—you have to be careful how much you tweet. Too much of a good thing is bad. It’s like getting a resume that’s ten pages long. Resumes should be one to two pages, three at the most. When you see too much, it’s a red flag. On social media, too much is definitely a problem. Plus, there is the privacy issue—once something is out there, it’s out there. There is no taking it back.
Walk me through the process of leveraging your social network into something that is useful for sales growth.
There are two things you can do. One, you should have a comprehensive online record of your direct network—everyone that you feel comfortable reaching out to. People you can connect with tomorrow. Most people have connections in their email contacts, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, but they’re all over the place. We want to grab all these connections and put them in one place.
Given our database of over 15 million people, we can connect with historical data so that all of your connections and relationships make sense. We make sure that you have everyone in your network accessible and easy to manage across all the different channels.
And two, you want to leverage your company’s network. This network is just as important as your personal network, if not more so. You are a part of an ecosystem that can share these relationships. You can even scan email systems and entire networks to form the best network that makes everything that much closer to the right person and approach.
How have social media and online relationships changed corporate brands and personal brands (reputations)?
For individuals, the internet and social media have proven to be a tremendous vehicle for improving their brand. We can connect with so many more people online than we are able to offline. I follow a lot of different people on social media, and I am always astonished at how much interest people have in listening to what the other guy has to say. Twitter is a great example of this. There is a lot of noise on that network, but there is a lot of value there as well. To the extent that you want to establish your personal brand, you have a terrific opportunity with social media.
How do you gauge which is the right social media target market for the best online exposure?
The offline world mimics the online world. We need to nurture the relationships we have and find the offline relationships we don’t have. For example, I was at a conference and saw someone I knew. He mentioned he moved to a new company and said that he is now running a CRM system. Here’s the case of a guy I’ve known for 10 years, and now he is in a position of power. Now if I want to look up his company, his name should pop up to the top. We should have an easier time leveraging our existing quality relationships. That’s the power of where social CRM systems are heading, giving us the right information when we need it.
Can you give me some real world examples of how creating warm relationships through social media has shortened a company’s sales cycle?
Social networks continue their penetration across all demographics. Facebook really broke down the wall. I’m wondering how online relationships will continue to change in the next couple years for those who aren’t currently connected.
Social media will grow with the advent of specialized social networks. If you are into a particular topic, sports, music, etc., you probably already have a network of other people with the same interests.
But I don’t see a world where everyone is 100% online, and I don’t think that online relationships are as strong as offline relationships. If you can talk to people on the phone or meet them in person, the in-person interaction is going to be the strongest. And online interaction is weaker than either of those. You simply don’t get to communicate online with expressions, body language, tone of voice, and things like that. How many of your online connections are really going to be friends? I think most of your online relationships are going to be fairly weak. Online interaction will never replace personal connection.
Key Takeaway: Protect your personal brand by being smart about what you publish, post and tweet. Once something is out there, you can’t take it back. Social media can be used for good, creating important connections and “warming” up real-life relationships. But if you misuse it, it can come back to bite you.