It’s somewhat understood by now that social media has become a sales and marketing channel. The greatest success stories that we hear almost all revolve around reaching customers that otherwise had gone untouched because of social media interaction. But how do you turn a Twitter or Facebook (or any other social media account) into something that actually works? As it turns out, the process isn’t all that difficult, you just need to do a little homework.
First thing’s first – Don’t open a new account and start hard selling. It’s just not going to work. You need to build a network of trust on social just as you would in person. Start by following people and brands that you not only trust, but also that you’d want to hear from on regular occasion. It’s imperative that you’re active on your social accounts, so you can’t just follow a bunch of others and then ignore them.
Find Your Customers
Where are your potential customers hanging out? Someone selling access to an API might find that their customers are on Stack Overflow and Github more often than they tend to be on Facebook or Pinterest. The reverse is often true for audiences that are focused on physical products where pictures and stories help to show interest.
How do you know who to follow? When it comes to brands, almost all of them are already on social. But when it comes to people, that requires a bit more digging. As we wrote a few weeks ago, there are pretty easy ways to find groups of influencers on Twitter, and doing a bit of Google searching can usually dig up their Facebook and LinkedIn pages too.
As a society, those of us on social media tend to be over-sharers. But for selling, that’s a great thing. It gives you insight into what makes people tick, and what ticks them off. People are all but holding a flashing sign for you that spells out their hot-button topics and all you have to do is read.
However, what we share isn’t always what we’re known for. One of the tools that you can use is the FullContact macro for Microsoft Excel. If you have a list of Twitter usernames, Facebook IDs or email addresses, the FullContact API can show you topics that are related to these people via information from Klout. Once you have that information, it’s just a few more clicks to find a whole new list of people to follow based upon their influence and interests.
The next big tool that you’ll want to take advantage of is lists. Twitter and Facebook both have native support for them, so you can more easily group together people by interest, topic and more. Take note of who you’re following, then export those lists into your CRM if you’re using one that supports social. If not, try exporting to a CSV and importing to your CRM to at least get the picture of your potential client started.
This goes back to your earlier section when I talked about not ignoring people. You’re being given front-door access, so you’d best use it to your advantage. Strike up conversations. Find the people who are related to your product or vertical and see what they have to say. There’s a huge opportunity and all you have to do is take it.
No matter what you’re selling, your personal interests can go a long way toward closing a deal. Joining groups that relate to your interests, then becoming a trusted voice for them establishes a relationship with your potential customers. Once that relationship is formed, it’s that much easier to translate that trust over to a business matter.
We’re frequently amazed by the way that people are translating their online relationships to offline sales. The hustlers, the hardcore connectors and the sales managers of the world are our customers as well and we’re always learning from them. So pass on your tips in the comments and let’s put an end to pushy, overhyped sales for good.