Anyone with just a little experience knows social media gives sales people tools that would make even Willy Loman more effective. It can help you meet new people and stay connected with past colleagues. But many of us don’t take advantage of what the various social media platforms have to offer.
What prevents people from using social media for sales?
Some feel overwhelmed by the options. Some feel unsure about how to use the platforms in a business setting. And others simply use social media as a crutch to feel or look busy without taking real action.
But why should a busy person, with a to-do list stuffed with activities, carve out some time for social media? Whether you have doubts or not, you should first understand some of social media’s key benefits:
1) Learn – Know Your Customer
This old axiom is easier to live by than ever before. The first, and easiest, thing to do is to simply find out what people and businesses say about themselves and their industry. Check them out on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+. Read personal and company blogs too.
2) Educate – An Educated Buyer is Your Best Customer
Sy Syms used this idea to make his Syms stores a discount staple for decades, and it highlights a key value of social media – if your clients know and understand their options, they’ll choose to work with you. The more knowledgeable they are, the shorter your sales cycle becomes.
3) Build relationships – You Have a Friend in Me
The real magic in social media is your ability to get to know other people – and their ability to get to know you. Because they can find out about you, because they can access your knowledge – they get more comfortable with you without you having to do a thing.
So how do you make these benefits real?
1) Create Your Presence
Figure out which platforms make the most sense for you and your industry. Everyone who develops business should be on LinkedIn. Maybe you also want to create a separate Facebook page for work. Or you could use Twitter to share quick hitting observations about your field. You could make a Pinterest page. You can blog on WordPress or Blogger. You can even create videos for YouTube.
Whichever option you choose, complete your profile with targeted language your audience uses. And speak with your own voice to maintain a consistent online brand.
- The key to success – start simple.
2) Plan Your Approach
Today anyone can create content – immediately. You can blog. You can tweet. You can create a how-to video. You can even run teleseminars and webinars. And much of this you can do for little or no cost. But that smorgasbord of opportunities may paralyze some. First choose a platform you like, then set a realistic schedule for yourself. For example, if you will struggle to update a blog on a weekly basis, commit to a less daunting schedule instead.
After you create comfortable habits on one platform, consider adding another site to your strategy.
- The key to success – create a plan that makes it easy to stay consistent.
3) Interact With Others
The beauty of social media is that you have an audience waiting to hear from you. Find a relevant forum and ask and answer questions. Offer your expertise and engage these potential buyers. Participate in LinkedIn discussions in the same kinds of groups. Find blogs that provide quality content for the people you want to reach – then comment on some posts.
Show you are an expert in the field, and the leads will seek you out.
- The key to success – participate in the conversation.
Develop Your Voice As You Go
Social media is very much a hybrid medium. You need to write effectively, however most of the platforms lack the structure of other written communication. So they feel much more conversational.
Take the time to develop your social media voice and you’ll find these tools even more effective as you build your own business.
All the best,
Sean Romanoff – Exec|Comm Consultant
What’s your message to the world?