Where Are Your Prospects?
We need to meet our prospects and customers where they are. That might be at a trade show or event, at their office, on the phone, via email or on social media. Do you know if your salespeople are in the right places? It is possible that your customers and prospects may be using social media platforms that your sales reps are not currently using for business. So, what do we do? We want our sales reps to be in the path of our prospects, so they can see us when they need us. That means we need to use all the tools available to do that. But it’s hard to know where on social media it’s worth having salespeople spend their time.
Each social media channel has a different purpose, audience and best way to use it. It’s important to think through which channels your customers are most likely using and which are best for you. The Accion U.S. Network put together this useful graphic (from 2017) which shows key facts and stats about the major social media networks to help you decide.
As you can see in just two short years the stats have changed. Here are recent stats from 2019 (source Dustin Stout):
- Facebook has 2.2 billion monthly active users.
- YouTube has 1.5 billion monthly active users.
- Twitter has 330 million monthly active users.
- LinkedIn has 200 million monthly active users.
Clearly, Facebook is the 500-lb. gorilla, with more users than any other network. But many people tend not to use Facebook for business. They feel it is more for personal use. I agree that it is more personal, and that is exactly why I recommend using it for business. I don’t ask prospects to connect on Facebook, but I do use it to research buyers and their companies.
Once I have established a relationship with someone and I see how they use Facebook and what they post, I may send a friend request. I rarely have a business connection refuse to connect. Once I am connected, I am privy to information that helps me build a stronger relationship. It also gives me opportunities to connect on topics not related to selling them something. For example, if I see they have become a grandparent for the first time, I can interact with their post, send a congratulations card in the mail, send a quick email or even pick up the phone if appropriate. This gives me touchpoints that build a relationship where we are not only talking about business.
Two Social Networks You Can’t Ignore
Regardless of your feelings about Facebook, there are two social networks you can’t ignore —Twitter and LinkedIn. According to Statista, 91% percent of U.S. businesses are using social media for marketing purposes. So, if you’re looking to meet your customers where they are, then these two networks are a great place to start.
This is a quick and direct guide you can use to help your salespeople build their personal brand as well as your company brand on these two social channels.
First Things First
Social media can contribute to success in every step of the sales process — not just prospecting. If you follow a process with a strong strategy that includes social media, you will have the best possibility of getting great results. To read more about how to interact with your customers throughout the sales process using social media, check out this post.
Getting Set Up on LinkedIn
With more than 500 million users, LinkedIn is the largest professional social media network, and it is built for growing your business. Did you know that 80% of B2B leads generated from social media come from LinkedIn? So, it’s crucial that your salespeople present themselves well on it. Done right, they can build their personal brand and promote your company. Here are some basics you don’t want to miss.
1) Look Good: Make sure each member of your team has a banner that reflects your company or industry and a current headshot that is inviting and friendly.
3) Check out: The 2 Ways to Win at LinkedIn: There is an eBook at the end of this post that includes a ten-step guide for completing your profile.
4) Avoid stranger danger: Finish this post before reaching out to connect. Good news, there are new features appearing on the mobile app to improve making personal connection requests.
5) Share: The rest doesn’t matter if you aren’t sharing great content. There are many ways to share your company’s original content and other great content from experts in your industry. Choose great content, share consistently and amplify your messages by having others in your company clicking like, commenting and sharing your posts. When you post, tag appropriate people and use hashtags. This will help amplify your post.
Often overlooked, it is critical for everyone on your team to connect to each other, your customers, vendors, referral sources and prospects. The more connections they have to people who know, like and trust them, the easier it will be to get introductions and amplify your messages.
Building a Profile on Twitter
You may get a lot of push back here. Most people do not understand Twitter, nor do they want to use it. Twitter is a great tool for doing research on your customers and prospects, learning about what’s important to them and of course, sharing great content. True, that the use of Twitter has dropped dramatically, but those who use it are loyal and it’s great for following the activity at events and trade shows. If your salespeople attend trade shows and events, you should consider a strategy for Twitter so they can follow and interact with event hashtags.
Your sales reps may currently have Twitter accounts for personal use. If they want to continue to use that account for personal use, they should set up another one for business. Again, the idea is for each salesperson to build their personal brand, so people get to know them and see them as knowledgeable in the industry. Each salesperson should include your company’s Twitter account in their bio and add the link to the company’s website. Just like LinkedIn, use a current headshot and ask marketing for a banner, or create one using a tool like Canva.
One of the best ways to break through the noise on Twitter is to create lists. Here’s a blog post your sales team can read in five minutes or less that will teach them how to use Twitter lists.
Your sales reps need to know how to stand out on Twitter to build their brand. Here are six tips on how to do just that.
What Should They Post?
Once everyone is up and running on these social media platforms, they will need content to post. Your salespeople should be able to find content from the company blog or social media platforms and share it. They need to do this consistently.
Salespeople should also stay up-to-date on your industry, your customers and your prospects by reading relative industry or business blogs. Some good general resources include Forbes and Inc. They can also set Google Alerts for information on specific companies and industries. Look for other sources of great content on the topics that will engage your customers and prospects.
Once your sales team starts interacting online more, they will also find interesting content posted by their colleges, clients, and prospects. They can share that content and interact with the source when they do. Bonus – this information gives them great conversation points when they have a meeting with the prospect or client.
What About Instagram and YouTube?
Instagram, now, has 1 billion users. If your prospects are there, you can’t ignore it. It requires a different type of post, and you’ll need a strategy to successfully interact and drive traffic that is specific to Instagram.
Video is hot. Savvy salespeople are using video to gain the attention of their prospects. YouTube is easy to use and is widely searched. You’ll need a strategy, guidelines and training, if you want your salespeople to use this popular platform to attract prospects.
Finding More Ways to Connect
Once your team members build their LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, have them make a spreadsheet of their customers and prospects. The spreadsheet should include the company name, the buyer from that company and a column for each social platform. Then research to find out where those buyers and brands spend most of their time. That will direct your salespeople to meet their customers and prospects where they are.
If your team finds their customers and prospects are on social platforms you are not currently using, start developing a presence on them!
Using social media as a means to build relationships with your customers and prospects is powerful. It provides insights that you might not be able to find on their websites or during meetings. To be successful and get results, your sales team needs to understand each platform, then meet your customers where they are. Our friends at Vengreso are here to help.
Understanding where your customers are is the first step. Get started by watching Engaging Your Prospects Across Platforms, a FREE webinar that’s part of the Sales Experts Channel on BrightTALK. If your team needs training on how to use social media, check out our friends at Vengreso
Alice is nationally known for her expertise in elevating sales to increase valuation for companies with a B2B complex sale that have exceptional growth potential. She’s originally, from the widely known Miller Heiman Group. Spending her time strategizing with CEOs and their leadership teams to build the strategies that find new business and grow existing accounts is her passion. Her clients love her spirit and the way she energizes their sales organization.