Michael Goodman today had the world-wide debut of the Solomon Sales System at the Arizona Sales Pros monthly meeting, a networking group he founded in North Scottsdale years ago.  The audience was a collection of sales, marketing and executives from various organizations from across the Valley.

Blue-t-2 The reason I am live blogging on this topic is that the subjects he is covering in the Solomon Sales System have me thinking about the underlying elements in a successful social media marketing effort.  I am not sure how deeply the entire Solomon Sales System model fits social media marketing, but one of the first elements he covers first is the need to ‘Engage’ your customer.  So it got me thinking about how the social media marketer needs to embrace the same concept of engagement.

Social media branding and marketing requires the participant to definitely engage and pretty much with the characteristics Michael cites in the Solomon Sales System model – Trust, Credibility and Interest.

Michael is still tuning his presentation on the Solomon Sales System, but he is spot-on with characteristics he’s identified in the ‘Engage’ segment of his system, I think they apply to not just to the sales situation, but to social media in general and here is how and why I say that –

Trust – Social media requires trust, but how do you develop trust in the online social setting?  My perspective is that the development of trust is based on participation in the same sphere / community as your audience.  They will become used to seeing you in the same community they’re in and they will come to trust you as something more than an interloper.  Trust is not immediately acquired however, it takes time and requires patience.  I think that a referral from a mutual friend would also be a good way to establish some level of immediate trust.  It’s why I am very happy that I’ve had 11 of my peers, managers and clients give me testimonials on my LinkedIn account, published for the world to see.

Credibility – Credibility can be more quickly established than Trust I think.  Why?  Because the reputation that follows you can be quickly and easily checked into today with a simple web query.  The “Steven Groves” that appears ahead of me is a lobbyist and shows up frequently in the news because of his appearance in front of congress – news papers write about him.  The next three listings on a Google search all point to me in my work and the next two refer to a frigate (the USS Stephen Groves) and a years old article posted on a blog about a guys uncle names ‘Steven Groves’.

Likewise I think a lack of credibility can follow you around.  I participated in a seminar / workshop put on by a friend on how to use Twitter for business.  While I agree there is a need for such a workshop, I am not sure they can carry the day in terms of credibility on the topic.  I looked them up on TwitterGrader and they rank in the 66 percentile with 110 followers / 105 followed and 81 updates.  I rank regularly around a 98 (97.7 today) with 669 followers / 370 followed and over 3,000 updates (just passed passed 3,000 today!).  Who would the audience take to be more credible in presenting how to use Twitter to a business audience?

Interest – Here is where I find my most used comment to prospects and clients.  How do you establish interest in what the audience is looking for?  A single word – Listen.  Listen to the conversation going on in the community you are approaching.  The Twitter-sphere is alive with a global conversation and it is growing.  Twitter is becoming a mainstream tool that social marketers can use to monitor and manage the message.  A blog is an excellent way to connect to an audience, but how do you keep it interesting?  My friend David Barnhart / Business Blogging Pros has an excellent presentation on blogging and I’ll encourage you to visit his site and view the presentation on video over there.

I think that the tactic and process Michael Goodman is developing and presenting as the Solomon Sales System is excellent; I also think that the same underlying elements belong in social media marketing toolkit as it matures.