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INVESTIGATE your Social Selling ideas to INVEST well

By Natalie Turner, Author of Yes, You Can Innovate and Sarah Lewis, Managing Director, Marketing By Design (5-minute read)

If you haven't read article 1 or 2 on The Six 'I's®, Social Selling and PURPOSE, then go back and do that. It sets the context for system.

We have devised a series of articles to break down how The Six 'I's® can help with Social Selling:

  1. Create a Stand-Out Social Selling Strategy using the Six 'I's®
  2. IDENTIFY your audience and IGNITE ideas for Social Selling
  3. INVESTIGATE your Social Selling ideas to INVEST well (This article)
  4. IMPLEMENT your Social Selling systematically and IMPROVE as you go

In this article, we will look at how you make sure your ideas will actually work before investing in them and taking them to a wider audience.

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INVESTIGATE your ideas with testing and prototyping

Phase purpose: INVESTIGATE with the mindset of CRITICAL thinking, by developing propositions, prototyping and testing.

In this phase, you prototype your ideas and test them to see if they actually work. This is where you discover details like: what dimensions to use, how long the article should be, how to upload the video, costs, partnerships that would be useful to develop… and much more.

One example of prototyping and testing in social selling is video tips. We made a horizontal, a vertical, and a square video. We posted each to Linkedin, Facebook, and YouTube and viewed them on various smartphones and desktops. We discovered that square videos look the neatest and give us the most real estate in the contexts we operate in. Now we’re testing different types of content with the square video format – from testimonials, to documenting talks, to sharing tips. It is important to be systematic and critical here, and ask your audience what they think too.

This is where you can also start to identify where you may need resources. If your PURPOSE is to sell your company’s product to another company, you may not believe that you have the freedom to create videos your own way (or at all). But if you can prototype a video from a high-quality iPhone and build a professional grade one, then you have something tangible to show your comms and branding team. You may inspire them to create a standardised brand template for this context and let you pilot the idea at a bigger scale.

PURPOSE pause: When you are reviewing what has worked and what hasn’t, come back to PURPOSE again. If your PURPOSE is to develop leads, then you may want to think about the mix of ideas you choose. Metrics such as impressions and engagement indicate ideas that build your profile, and metrics such as click-through rates indicate ideas that will likely generate leads. You don’t want a list of ideas that create only profile, no matter how well, if your goal is to generate leads.

Your main output here should be a list of useful and concrete ideas that address a specific relevant insight for your audience in your context.

INVEST in what you need to move forward with your chosen idea

Phase purpose: INVEST with the mindset of COURAGE by creating business models and plans for investment.

Now you know which ideas you are moving forward, you may discover that there are some resources or partnerships you need to put in place. If you decide you want to move forward with video, then you may need to invest in a better camera, some paid apps, tripods and more. If you want to develop video at a large corporate, you may need to spend time developing a relationship with communications and branding professionals and develop brand guidelines to ensure consistency. If you want to develop content around a specific insight, you may need to approach a co-author who can add some additional depth.

Work out what resources you need to go ahead and how they need to be structured. Then make a Go/ No Go decision for each idea.

PURPOSE pause: Once you have your list of ideas that you can resource, and are prepared to take action, revisit your PURPOSE again. Sometimes we structure ideas based on the resources available and this changes their nature. Cull ideas that don’t support your PURPOSE and keep ones that do.

Your main output here should be a list of useful and concrete ideas that you can resource and address a specific relevant insight for your audience in your context.

Key Takeaways

  • In IGNITE, it is important to keep CRITICAL thinking at bay - this CRITICAL mindset is essential and frequently underrated. This model gives it equal weight with the CREATIVITY of IGNITE, but the place to use the CRITICAL mindset is not in IGNITE.
  • INVESTIGATING your ideas makes sure that you understand what and where to invest, and where you might need more research. People often spiral back to IGNITE if they are suddenly inspired, or realise they've missed something big and spiral back to do more work in IDENTIFY.
  • Many of your great ideas get derailed in the INVEST phase (Natalie calls this the "Graveyard of Ideas") and that is often because you have not included budget owners and decision-makers earlier in the process. Make sure you get their help to shape ideas and work out what support systems you might need. If you INVESTIGATE well and inclusively, you will have less trouble here when you ask for budget.
  • If you don't keep revisiting PURPOSE, insights, and personas here, you will likely find yourself going off on a tangent.

Next article...

IMPLEMENT your Social Selling systematically and IMPROVE as you go

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I am a certified practitioner in The Six 'I's® of Innovation. I can help your marketing team become more innovative by helping them understand their innovation profile and how they contribute to the innovation journey.