Sales and marketing professional Jeff Sheehan (@jeffsheehan) is a self-proclaimed “twitterholic,” and we can understand why. His 185,000+ Twitter followers tune in to his tweets to follow his social marketing blog, to occasionally hear inspiring quotes, and to gain his expert advice in B2B marketing and LinkedIn. He has used his more than 35 years of experience assisting large companies with their marketing strategies around the world to create his own company, Sheehan Marketing Strategies, guided by the core values he’s learned along the way.
Sheehan began amping up his activity on Twitter two years ago when he was trying to develop a distribution channel for a book idea that he had. With his extensive background in marketing, he says that he’s “seen many things come and go… I’m not enabled so much with the tools, I’m enabled with the principles.”
However, technology has even changed these basic principles of marketing. One of Sheehan’s most recent blog posts is titled “The 9P’s of Marketing – A Framework for the Social Media Era,” discussing the move away from the traditional 4P’s of marketing. Sheehan is quick to correct those who say that these have disappeared forever – the 4P’s still follow critical aspects of the overall business, and it’s more important to focus on the foundation that these have built rather than the hype in social media.
There’s always a new tool, the greatest thing since sliced bread, and at the end of the day, what does it really do? Does it bring benefits to the people using it? Does it create engagement? Does it create future revenue for that particular company?
Sheehan uses himself as an example of how social media can allow people and businesses to brand themselves and increase their visibility. His own story is “certainly indicative of what we can achieve through social media. We can go from a realm of obscurity to someone who’s essentially a global brand.” According to him, most people have this possibility – whether or not they realize it.
One of his favorite examples of this is Sean Swarner, who he met two years ago after receiving his connection request on LinkedIn. At that time, Swarner was a 27-year-old cancer survivor who was involved in the Hawaiian Iron Man, had climbed the “7-summits” challenge of the highest mountaintops in the world, and had about 300 Twitter followers. Sheehan says that the two have become good friends since then, and following his guidance, Swarner now has 13,000+ followers. He explains the importance of these associations:
It’s amazing the connections that you can make with Twitter, a follow-through on LinkedIn, phone calls and face to face meetings… you can develop a solid relationship with these people, with something so monogamous as a tweet.
Not only do these social channels help an individual’s personal brand, but they have an incredible impact on the success of a company. Sheehan thinks that the most challenging client to work with are small businesses because many don’t recognize the value of social media. “They don’t have the time, they feel overwhelmed, they’re reluctant to part with a lot of money to invest in it… [but] the results do show for themselves.” The biggest mistake those make who are already using these social platforms? Abandoning it.
While he’s built much of his reputation on these channels, Sheehan heeds an important warning: social media doesn’t cure everything.
If you don’t have the products, the services, the pricing, a location that satisfies the customers you’re trying to reach from a promotional perspective, you’re not going to make it. No matter what you do from a social media perspective.
Sheehan says that it’s hard to be considered a ‘social media expert’ today because of innumerable platforms and ways to go about digital marketing, but he still travels often to speak at churches, non-profits, and to smaller audiences about the power of social media in job searching.
Follow him on Twitter or check out his schedule to see if he’s headed to a town near you next and find out how you can better brand yourself socially. And as always, remember to stay tuned for our next upcoming Spotlight Interview and Featured-User Chart.