Has anyone had success getting their salespeople to embrace the concept of marketing themselves via sites like LinkedIn?

Joe Turner
I am the Marketing / Advertising Manager for a four location auto group. Each store has roughly 20 salespeople and I am getting ready to start a push to get the sales team to promote themselves online by asking for reviews and by using sites like LinkedIn. My thought is that if I can demonstrate whats in it for them they will sell more cars and retain more of their current customers. I would like to know if anyone has had any success in getting theri to embrace online professional networking sites?
Daniel Boismier
Joe, We found that there is more value in using a site like Dealer Rater where they have their own page/profile and it is indexed by Google. Also from here thier personal reviews can be RSS fed into any blog site (Ning for example) that they create. It also shows up on our website and most importantly Google. Not to say that using Linkedin wouldn't work, but we wonder if there is automotive traffic there.
Charles Gallaer
I agree with Daniel in that I'm not sure that LinkedIn has sales traffic there. *DISCLAIMER* I am not a fan of LinkedIn at all. If LinkedIn is anything, it is a professional networking site. It exists to provide a tool for professionals to keep in touch with professional contacts where sharing personal information/photos with on places like Facebook would be inappropraite. Getting your people active on LinkedIn could actually work against your interests. If you have a competitor in the market that is active on LinkedIn, that competitor may end up trying to poach your gunners. Ultimately, your problem is building value into these avenues with your staff. If your sales people aren't the kind that are strong networkers, I don't think you'll be successful in making them strong networkers via social media. If your gunners are good networkers, they're probably already using social media to network along with more traditional venues. Depending on the capabilities of your staff, personal YouTube channels may be the way to go. Search Engines love YouTube content, and its very easy to embed videos posted on YouTube into e-mails, social media sites, blogs, etc. All you need is a camera and a computer, the rest is free. I'd embrace a back to basics approach instead. Teach your folks how to make calls on local businesses, how to get involved in local organizations and utilize existing relationships to leverage sales (church attendance, membership in clubs, etc). I think your staff will be far more successful if they embrace more traditional networking than if they try to get on a social media site with nothing to say. If they are already doing a good job with the "traditional" networking avenues, they will have an easier time producing content for Facebook pages, YouTube Channels, Flickr sites, blogs, etc. Good luck, and keep us posted on how things go.

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