Social Media for Sales

August 17, 2016 - 28 Comments

Cisco Customer Experience Center Collaboration


Let me start by clarifying that this has nothing to do with buying or selling on social media. I am not a fan of the phrase “social selling”. This is a summary of what I have learned in my decade as a Marketer within Sales Enablement.

“Please stop tweeting!”

Believe it or not, it was once my job to ask sales people not to tweet. Why? Because they were disclosing confidential information. When Twitter was new, many people didn’t realize that their tweets were indeed public. Instead, I asked my teammates within Worldwide Sales to use internal forums for sharing best practices and asking for help. That was in 2009.

In 2012, I became Cisco’s first Social Ambassador, and partnered with the Corporate Marketing team to help build training for the adventurous early adopters who wanted to use social media as part of their jobs. I was part of a Sales Executive’s communication team, then. Learning about social media was my “special project”. In 2016, it is my job to train teams within Worldwide Sales on digital storytelling and distribution via social media channels. All of our jobs have been transformed.


We will miss you Blab“Where did Blab go?”

I shared my Twitter story in rich detail during a Blab earlier this year. I hesitate to share the link to that recording because Blab no longer exists as a platform. The people who built it have decided to stop working on it because live-streaming simply didn’t pay off as a product. It didn’t work for Blab. It didn’t work for Meerkat.

Platforms come and go.  I will miss Blab because it was a great way to have live conversations with friends inside and outside the company.  Its public nature, gave newcomers the chance to join in any time, and that’s exactly how I met a lot of cool tech disruptors, such as Aseel and Shaan.


“Tag me”

If you know me, you know that Twitter is my favorite social media app. It works well for the work I do because it’s real-time, concise, and highly personal… when used properly. I hope Twitter endures, because it’s an app I use every day. I’m also happy to see that many of my teammates within Worldwide Sales are embracing Twitter, and more importantly the training that our team offers. Share your work! But be smart about how you do that.  When you’re ready to celebrate a milestone, make sure to tag or mention your team members. Tagging (or mentioning) works within LinkedIn, Twitter, Vine, Periscope, Instagram and Facebook.


“Facebook is for friends and family”

Love it or hate it, Facebook is where your aunt wants to plan your next family reunion, your neighbors want to share pictures of BBQs, and your high-school mates try to check your relationship status. When you do log in to Facebook, if you log in to Facebook at all, you don’t want anyone trying to sell you anything. As a Marketer, knowing this drives me crazy. As a Facebook user, I couldn’t agree more.

So how do we use Facebook for work? Mainly as a family album of team building days, milestones and events. When you love where you work, your colleagues become part of your family.


“Add me on LinkedIn”

There is one place where even people who will never use Facebook have to be: LinkedIn. Why? Because if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, you don’t have a résumé. It’s that simple. Many recruiters source exclusively on LinkedIn, or at least expect you to prove your professional existence there.


Having accepted and created this business version of ourselves, we are also more receptive to reading industry news on LinkedIn, than on other platforms. And because LinkedIn isn’t Facebook, we shake our heads when people share daily personal updates there. Each of these social media apps have differentiated themselves successfully.


“I need a better camera”

The words we choose vary based on the app we fire up. Notice I have referred to apps rather than websites, because the mobile user experience is now the default.

Selfie With JohnSelfie With JohnSelfie With John

Mobility is synonymous with phones. But I bet the next time you think about upgrading your mobile device, it will be because you want a better camera, to capture sound, video and images. We are moving beyond words. Let’s learn more about that together. Just follow the hashtags.



What is your favorite social media app and how do you use it for work?

Follow Silvia Spiva @silviakspiva

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  1. for work I am using Linkedin as preferred app, have official groups & followers, best platform professional sharing but to tag my personal achievements Facebook is sure to use.

    • I do the same. Recently, I have noticed that more people have become comfortable sharing personal updates on LinkedIn. The platform even pushes out birthday reminders for connections.

  2. Really great article.

  3. Being a so called millennial I like ALL apps and use them interchangeably throughout the course of my work. Twitter is probably the most popular for work because it is not bandwidth/data heavy and this is a key consideration in Africa where I am based. Great perspective Silvia – especially because its from someone who has been at the company for a while – its great for us fairly newer Cisco-nians to get perspective.

    • Tools come and go, but conversations continue across apps, and sometimes even in person. Thanks for listening!

  4. Wonderful article, Sylvia! Great guidance for us “newbies”. Your passion for social media and sharing your experiences really comes through.

    • Thank you, Don! No one can tell your story better than you. I always appreciate your questions.

  5. Great informative article, Silvia, and thanks so much for your contributions and for being a part of the Experience Services Engineering team. Looking forward to an #AwesomeFY17 with you!

  6. Of course I love the Twitters, but my new favorite is Instagram. I like seeing the “one moment” captured on camera. But then, there’s the ‘wearecisco’ Snapchat channel that is kind of awesome, too!

  7. Great article !! I can definitely relate to this. I’ve been told that I’m going to be our Social Media Ambassador for my company, I may have to ping you for some pointers


  8. Thanks for an awesome story, Silvia. Your posts are among the coolest on the Internet. Thanks also for sharing the first hand insight on what you’ve been through. As a person who only knows marketing and social ops from an external point of view, it is very interesting to read about how your perception and usage of solutions has changed over the years. I was not surprised about Meerkat and Blab but it was most interesting to hear the actual facts of users.

    Looking forward to your future posts. 🙂
    – Chris

    • I remember you telling me about Meerkat and Blab, but thanks for tuning in to my live broadcasts anyway. You’re a great friend, Chris! And you know more about Marketing than most “Marketers” I know.

  9. Just a few short months ago, I was a non-believer. I’d never tweeted in my life and had no intention to. Now, thanks to Silvia, I’ve embraced Twitter as not just a platform to brag on my architectures’ awesome dCloud demos but also as a place to get news, learn about tech, have a laugh, and share my own stories. In fact, when I have my art show in October, I’m going to shamelessly self-promote. I expect you all to buy a Laura Elo Marsh original. Talk about social media for sales!

    • I’m glad you embraced Twitter, Laura, because you’ve done it in a natural way, which lets your sweet personality shine through. Thank you for being my Social Media assistant at Cisco Live US and baptizing #dCloudCouch!

  10. What a great read with some amazing tips on how to use some of the different Social Media apps to get relevant business information out to the public. I agree that twitter is my favorite social app as well and I use it more than any other social outlet. I first started using twitter just as I started my CCIE journey. At first I only followed current CCIE to find helpful study information they might post. Then I got involved with tweeting and it kind of just snowballed from there.

    I also agree that Facebook is primarily for Family and Friends and I like to keep from blasting my family and friends with “social selling” material and instead use Facebook as a way to express my passion and joy in working for what I believe is my dream job at Cisco.

    Thanks Silvia for sharing a great prespective on Social Media in the workplace!

    #dCloudRocks #IWINwithIWAN #dreamjob #NeverBetter

    • I’ve been following your #IWINwithIWAN adventures for months, Steven! I am so happy that your authenticity and excitement expressed on Social Media helped you land your dream job. And it’s been great to meet you in person! Always a treat when that happens with a Twitter friend.

  11. I find this post extremely helpful. However, as an active social media user I am sometimes left puzzled with how to grapple with the intersections of personal use and professionalism as a marketer. For instance, although Twitter can be used to share both personal and professional information, it becomes difficult to navigate thoughts that pertain to my boyfriend (a prime example would be our disagreements on politics or current events) with thoughts on how to project an image for my company that doesn’t compromise client outreach as most of them will probably look me up on more than just LinkedIn. I guess my question is where do we draw the line between expressing detailed personal opinions and professional networking? Maybe this question is broad, but I think it’s an important one to address given the context of this post.

    • You have touched on the heart on why we use Social Media in the first place, Steven. For my part, I share with honesty, but caution. You will find that I am comfortable tweeting about my work, but it is very rare that I mention my family. This is how I protect them, by not mentioning them much. Yet, the same tool where I protect my family, is the tool where I celebrate my coworkers. I’m still trying to figure that out myself.

  12. I know I say this a lot, but I mean it every time… Thank you for choosing is Silvia, your contributions that this team transcend views, clicks and impressions!

    • Bad editing, get me a tech writer, stat!!!! Thank you for choosing us!

    • I was just logging in to WordPress to edit this for you, Jason. But in true #BestBossEver style, you found a way to keep it real. Thank YOU for this amazing opportunity. #dCloudRocks

  13. My favorite social media app is Twitter, because I think it’s the best app for expressing all sides of my personality. Fun Anne and Business Anne and Political Anne and Pinterest Anne and Nerd Anne all happily coexist depending on my mood and what’s top of mind. And the 140 characters is a motivation to say it cleverly. It’s hard to bore anyone in 140 characters!

    • Whoa! I think you pointed out exactly why Twitter is so successful: It’s hard to bore anyone in 140 characters!”. Leave them wanting more. Right, Anne?

    • Who is this Pinterest Anne and why don’t I know of her?