In today's world, social media is both the main source for the latest news and the medium most people use to stay connected. Social networking sites can also help you become a thought leader and obtain new clients.
Social media is changing every day, so it's vital for your sales and marketing team to be "in-the-know" of the latest trends.
When beginning social media prospecting, one of the most important things to do is to follow the C-suite of the company you're trying to engage with – that is, any C-level employee of a company, whether it be the CEO, CFO, CTO, etc. By following them, you can interact with the content they promote.
This also helps you see what type of company they are, as well as what type of customers they have. Social media is not a good "closing-the-deal" tool per se, but it's definitely a fantastic opening tool.
To offer some additional context, Eric Baum, Bluleadz CEO and founder, stated the following when asked about the benefits of social prospecting:
Connecting with prospects via social media gives you added insight into who they are and what they are interested in. Conversely, it also allows them to get to know us better. It brings the human factor into today's digital sales process.
Social prospecting means finding the right networks your potential customers are actively using.
By getting on the right channels and connecting with them on an inbound level, you’ll be better prepared to find right-fit customers for your business.
If you don’t know where to start with social prospecting, here are the top five social networking sites to try out.
This statistic from LinkedIn pretty much sums up how effective the platform really is:
50% of LinkedIn members are more likely to purchase from a company they engage with on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is professional networking site that can be used to discover new business connections as well as find potential new hires.
From a social prospecting aspect, LinkedIn can make your sales prospecting smoother, quicker, and ultimately, profitable.
To effectively use LinkedIn for sales prospecting, follow these tips:
Connect With Contacts Who Come Across Your Business.
Once a new contact finds its way into your contact database, find them on LinkedIn and connect with them while your business is still fresh in their mind.
Remember: connections can create more connections. By finding those contacts who already are aware of your business and connecting with them, you are showing interest in them. That is the inbound way.
Join LinkedIn Groups to Join the Conversation.
Being a "groupie" on LinkedIn is not a bad thing, since 53% of users are in 10 or more groups. When you are a part of a group you can connect with like-minded professionals and potential clients in need of your services.
Posting on a group's discussion board can increase your post's views and shares as well as bring more visitors to your company's LinkedIn page, or even better, send them right to your website.
Also, using LinkedIn's Pulse article feature is a fantastic place to share valuable content. By sharing content and monitoring the interactions in the groups, you can use those insights to develop an ebook your prospects are seeking.
With more than 2 billion active monthly users and over 70 million businesses currently marketing on Facebook , B2B marketers have to use this social networking site in their sales strategy.
Keep Your Business Page Up to Date.
Make sure your Facebook Business Page is optimized to provide potential prospects with the most up-to-date information on your business, including relevant contact information, as well as the products and services you offer.
Place a relevant CTA button directly on your Page – this is located on the top right of your profile just under your cover photo. Depending on what action you want interested users to take, you should optimize this button. Some of the best button options to have on your Page are:
- Message Us
- Book Now
- Contact Us
- Call Now
Deliver High Value Content Consistently.
On your Facebook Business Page, share valuable content with prospects – including your blog posts, tips and tricks for your industry, and customer testimonies – to provide value for them. Posting high-value content should be a priority in your Facebook marketing strategy as content creation will drive more traffic and grow your reach.
Your employees should also share your content on their own pages. This, in turn, can expand your networking reach even more. The more people with eyes on your content, the more possibilities of finding the right prospects.
Engage In a Direct, Helpful Way.
Because social prospecting is a two-way communication method, your sales team should actively engage with your prospects on Facebook.
Unlike LinkedIn, you don’t have to be “friends” with someone to message them on Facebook. Use Facebook Messenger to your advantage and connect with your prospects to strike a conversation.
On Facebook Messenger, it is best to keep things professional, but you still want to have a human and helpful attitude.
Don't treat Messenger like another cold call; contrary to traditional outbound marketing methods, your inbound approach shouldn't scare away potential prospects with pushy selling. Spark a conversation, offer to help them out, and see where the conversation takes you.
Nowadays most people in the marketing industry (or every company, for that matter) have a Twitter account. If you don't – stop and get one right now.
Utilizing Twitter for business prospecting can bring new ways to find, connect, and engage with potential good-fit prospects. Here are some helpful tips on using Twitter for prospecting:
Search for – and Use – Relevant Hashtags.
Identify important keywords and hashtags your prospects might be using that relate to your industry or the products/services you sell. Search these hashtags on a regular basis to find the right conversations and who might be sparking them.
You can search hashtags directly in Twitter, or you can use sites like Tweetdeck to monitor and track current conversations revolving around specific keywords.
Besides searching for relevant hashtags, your business should be using them on a consistent basis; just like you are searching for potential buyers on Twitter, potential buyers might be searching for you – make it easier for them by sharing valuable content and using important keywords and hashtags to get found easier.
Follow Your Competitors and Their Followers.
To keep an eye on your competitors, you should follow them on Twitter.
And, chances are, people that follow them could be potential buyers for your business, so you should always take a look at their followers and find relevant people and businesses to follow.
Social prospecting starts with building a following; by finding relevant users for your business and following them on Twitter, you can potentially attract them to follow you back, providing you with a new contact to share information with and engage with. If they find your information valuable, they are more likely to share it – in turn, spreading your reach even further.
Look for Buying Signals – and Jump on the Opportunity.
Search for terms like ‘anyone recommend’ or ‘any advice on’ to find the people looking for immediate help. Keywords like these can be buying signals that might let your business know when to jump in and engage with them from the get-go.
Look for these buying signals to better discover and target those individuals and businesses that could benefit from your business's immediate assistance. By doing this, you are jumping on the opportunity to help a prospect and gain a new customer.
While at one time this platform was optional, it has quickly become important and relevant for finding new audiences for your business.
Instagram is a visual-centric platform that can build your business's brand awareness and foster new engagement with your audience. One key to using Instagram successfully is connecting with the right people and using the search feature on Instagram.
Use Instagram Ads to Target the Right People.
With Instagram ads, your business has an opportunity to reach a wide, targeted audience to promote your products and services.
To better target the right people who would most likely be the best fit for your business, you should refine your audience – those who will see your ad on their Instagram feed. Your audience can and should be refined by age, demographics, interests, and anything else that can more narrowly defines who you want to see your message.
Search the Right Hashtags.
Just like Twitter, keeping an eye on the people posting images and videos with certain hashtags can be a great way to find potential customers.
For example, by searching #Tampa, a whole list of posts appear that have that hashtag. As a result, you have potential customers right at your fingertips.
Engage With Users in Any Way You Can.
Prospecting thrives off engagement. Once you've found the right users on Instagram, you must engage with them to demonstrate you are actively interested.
Like. Comment. If appropriate, DM them relevant information you think they can find informative or helpful to a situation they might be in.
Whatever methods you decide to implement, keep it consistent and keep it professional. You don't want to seem intrusive, but be sure to present yourself as a viable business opportunity.
There is something different about how you can authentically engage and interact on Instagram; when you do, you will have a higher chance in closing the client.
5. Your Business Blog
Just because blogging is #5 on this list does not mean it's the least effective.
While it technically may not be a networking site, your blog is one of the top reasons people are coming to your page.
First off, Google loves blogs because of consistency, comments, and indexing. When optimized correctly, a blog can convert visitors into leads – especially if you have placed CTAs throughout the blog and website.
According to HubSpot, 60% of businesses who blog acquire more customers, so one social site your company needs is a blog... so get to writing!
Write About Relevant Topics.
Your prospects are looking for articles that can provide value to them – whether it be solving a problem they're having, commenting on industry news and providing relevant insights, or helping them develop strategies that can achieve their goals.
So, write about them.
Keep your buyer personas in the back of your mind when creating new blog topics. What will they want to learn more about? What challenges might they have that your business can help them solve with your content?
Consider All the Stages of the Buyer's Journey.
In prospecting, you should be aware that not everyone is at the same level.
Some may know what they need and are actively searching for a solution. Some may not even be aware of a problem they have.
At any stage, you should be sharing content that can help any prospect at any stage of the buyer's journey. With valuable content, your business can bring in more prospects to your blog, which in turn can direct them to your site to learn more about your business.
The possibilities are endless to get prospects from social media and your blog. Use the techniques we've shared to help guide your social prospecting efforts to the next level and gain new, valued customers!
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in November 2015. It was updated in October 2018 for accuracy and comprehensiveness.