Social Media is a powerful tool and a great way to gain exposure, build credibility and drive hits to your website. Social media can even create enough buzz that prospects will begin to call you and place orders!
Use Twitter to follow and connect with potential prospects and customers to learn what is important to them and to engage directly with them often sliding past the gatekeepers. Using tags ( #marketing) in your Twitter Posts will allow others who have an interest in marketing to find and follow you based on your subject. Most people simply use Twitter to post dull, boring updates about themselves but Twitter is so much more than this! It is an opportunity to actually connect and create a dialogue. Most heavy Twitter users will make use of programs such as “hootsuite” to schedule their Tweets. This allows a user to sit down once a month and schedule six or so Tweets per day that promote the brand and the online goals and aims of the business. In addition, however, Tweeters using automated programs will add live updates throughout the day using smart phones or desktop computers. Connecting with someone via Twitter is often the most direct way to connect. If you pay attention to the content and style of ‘live’ Tweets you can learn a lot about the personality of the person you are following and adjust your approach, so – powerful stuff!
Facebook is a great opportunity to engage your customers and prospects and ask for feedback about your products and services. As your Facebook updates will show on your followers Facebook page this is a subtle and constant reminder of your products and services. This downside to Facebook is that it requires that someone first ‘like’ your page, which is difficult in a business-to-business situation, especially with a prospect that has not yet decided to use your services.
LinkedIn is a very powerful sales tool where you can connect with clients; prospect and most importantly have access to their contacts. LinkedIn provides the very real opportunity to creatively network. Many business people start very serious volumes of business through LinkedIn so do not under-estimate the opportunity here – it is very powerful.
All of these programs take time to get the feel and to fully understand the opportunity. Becoming an expert does take time but it is worth the investment.
Hint! If you are new to these programs and feel that having a handful connections on LinkedIn, two followers on Twitter, and three ‘likes’ on Facebook (one of which is your mother) make you look like a complete ‘newbie’ then there are solutions to quickly grow your numbers and ‘look’ like an established net worker. LinkedIn has specific groups whose only purpose is to link with others.
Social networking is real and it is powerful! Great news!
But is social networking selling? No, it is marketing and if your salespeople are spending all day doing social networking then they are not selling! Sales people need to spend as much of their time as possible in client facing situations closing business!
The problem is that social networking provides a huge opportunity for salespeople to avoid the sales call process and to become order takers. Order takers are fine but they are really customer service staff and generally don’t get the higher salaries and commissions that salespeople get!
Let your inside sales / marketing team handle the social media and pass on the leads to the field salespeople. All salespeople need to spend their time selling not marketing. If a salesperson wants to do some of their own social media or marketing this is not a problem if done in non-selling time. Exceptional salespeople will always work a bit each evening and on weekends and this is the time for social media activity. All social media can be scheduled using programs like ‘hootsuite’ and so it does not take selling time.
If your salesperson is sitting in the office because they are busy with social media just know that they are really hiding from the sales process! They might need some discipline, motivation or mentoring to get back on the selling track but make sure that they get there fast!
Any salesperson that gets away from selling for long will get into the avoidance habit and end up becoming a high paid order taker!