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By: Alice Heiman
Categories: LinkedIn, Prospecting, sales relationships, Social media

Where Are Your Customers?

We need to meet our 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 which shows some key facts and stats about the major social media networks to help you decide.

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 personal. 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 their buying influences 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 congratulation card in the mail, send a quick email or even pick up the phone if appropriate. This gives me touch points that build the relationship where we are not 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 Social Media Examiner, 94% percent of Inc 500 businesses use LinkedIn and 79% of them use Twitter. 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 to build their personal brand as well as your company brand on these two social channels. First, we’ll cover how to get proficient on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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 guide.

Getting Set Up on LinkedIn

With more than 600 million users in more than 200 countries, 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.

2) Read: 5 Secrets to Boost Your LinkedIn Presence. Don’t skip watching the video!

3) Check out: The 2 Ways to Fail at Using LinkedIn, and then don’t do them! There is an eBook at the end of that post that includes a ten-step guide to completing your profile.

4) Avoid stranger danger: Read 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 are not 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.

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 pushback here. Most people do not understand Twitter and don’t 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.

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. They should be able to find content from the company blog or social media platforms and then share them. They need to do this consistently.

They should also stay current 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.

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 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.

If you need help meeting your customers where they are, we can help! Click here to set a time to talk.

Alice Heiman
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Alice Heiman

Founder and CSO at Alice Heiman, LLC
Alice Heiman has been helping companies increase sales for more than 20 years. Her innovative sales leadership programs, coupled with her top-down approach to creating long-term change, set up sales leaders and sales-managing business owners to get consistent and sustainable growth.
Alice Heiman
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