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 earn new customers and 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 you start 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, or other high ranking leaders. 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, especially considering the fact that there are 4.95 billion users on social media.
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.
This means you must be social and engage with your prospects. The easiest way?
Let's take a look at how social prospecting and social selling are impactful, and then discuss tips that will help you on the big five social media sites.
What Is Social Selling?
Social selling is the process of engaging with targeted prospects to establish rapport and create meaningful relationships on social media sites with the purpose of providing them with a product or service.
Social selling is something that has been used in place of cold calling for many salespeople. It is a modern way to build relationships and trust with prospects and customers so your brand is the first one a prospect thinks of when they are ready to buy.
Sales teams succeed at social selling by using social media to find, research, and engage with prospective customers. Social prospecting depends on finding the right social platforms to use to find the prospects.
Essentially, you don't just want to dive into social selling headfirst without any idea of where you'll land or what it can bring you.
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 to begin engaging in social selling.
The Benefits of Social Media Prospecting
Social media prospecting may be one of the dreadful tasks you choose to put off in your marketing plan. It can be rather tedious, but the benefits are plentiful.
Take a look at these four benefits of social media prospecting:
It Drives Higher Quality Leads.
Social prospecting is useless unless you are interacting with the right prospects who can possibly turn into quality leads. After you find the right social media platforms, you can leverage your brand visibility by educating your followers on what you do by delivering great content.
Increasing your visibility generates more leads. These leads will already have an accurate idea of what you do, how you do it, and how much it costs, so they'll know if your product or service fits their needs by the time they are looking to make a purchase.
Along with increased visibility, social prospecting can improve your credibility as a brand. Being active on social media, especially with the right leaders in your industry, can show prospects that you are up-to-date on trends and staying on top of new insights and findings.
Plus, good credibility and authenticity within your industry builds trust among new prospects and leads.
It Boosts Web Traffic.
Social prospecting helps build curiosity in your target audience through the connections you create, the questions you answer, and the comments you post.
If you are engaging with those who are interested in the same things as your organization, they will automatically begin recognizing your brand each time you post and start to position you as an expert or thought leader. This typically makes them want to see what you're all about.
The best way for them to find out more information is for them to visit your website. In other words, expect more traffic as prospects explore and seek to learn more about your brand and your expertise.
It Helps You Define Your Ideal Customer.
You may think you have an accurate idea of what your ideal customer likes or wants, but your ideas may only be based on cursory information. Social prospecting allows you to see firsthand what your customers think about your industry, your products, your competitors, and other pain points you may have not considered.
You can also discover new segments and buyer personas that you have not previously considered. All of these things can help you to tweak your ideal customer profile so its more accurate. This way, you'll know who they truly are and where they look for answers.
It Allows You to Gather Data on Your Prospects Easily.
Analytics can only take you so far. Sometimes you have to get in where the action is happening.
This action is taking place on social media where people share a good amount of information about themselves. According to HubSpot blog data, 66 percent of sales reps use Facebook as an avenue to research prospects.
You can get to know your target audience's likes and dislikes, the trends they follow, and their frustrations.
You can even get an accurate idea of where they are from and how old they are. This is invaluable to your marketing and selling techniques.
Now that you understand the why behind social selling, you're ready to learn the how. Let's explore how to use popular social media sites to conduct your prospecting effectively.
19 Tips for the Top Five Social Media Sites
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 percent 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:
1. 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.
2. Join LinkedIn Groups to Contribute to the Conversation.
Being a "groupie" on LinkedIn is not a bad thing, since 53 percent 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.
3. Join Relevant Communities.
You can join up to three communities on LinkedIn that are relevant to your industry or business. For instance, if your business relates to education, you can join the #education. This community will show you everything related to this hashtag that people post.
People who are interested in the same things as you will likely follow these hashtags and contribute to and comment on the content in this community.
The more they engage with the content you post in your community the better. This way, they'll be more likely to click on your website or message you about what your company does and how you can help them.
4. Make the Most Out of Visuals.
Social media platforms like LinkedIn have an infinite scroll feature. When anyone is scrolling through their feed, they'll continue on and on until something catches their eye.
That's why images are important for social media prospecting. It's easy to scroll past blocks of text. But when the text is broken up by an eye-catching image or infographic, viewers are more likely to stop and take a look.
In fact, posts that have images tend to see twice as many comments as posts that don't have any sort of graphic.
With more than two 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.
5. 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
6. 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 testimonials – 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.
7. 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.
X (Formerly Twitter)
Nowadays most people in the marketing industry (or every company, for that matter) have an X account, formerly known as Twitter. If you don't – stop and get one right now.
Utilizing X for business prospecting can bring new ways to find, connect, and engage with potential good-fit prospects. Here are some helpful tips on using X for prospecting:
8. 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 X, or you can use sites like Tweetdeck (which has been updated to accommodate the X platform) 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 X, 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.
9. Follow Your Competitors and Their Followers.
To keep an eye on your competitors, you should follow them on X.
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 X, 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. Search the Right Hashtags.
Just like X, 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.
13. 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.
14. Give Your Audience Something to Interact With.
Along the lines of engagement, you don't just need to respond to comments. While Instagram is a visual-first platform, there are more ways to reach your audience than with a static image.
On Instagram stories, you can post polls or open-ended question boxes to allow your followers to easily reach you. Plus, with frequent polls and questions on your Instagram, you can help build your brand awareness among your follows are further boost engagement.
15. Don't Wait Too Long to Engage.
When someone leaves a comment on your post, you might feel a rush to jump right into the conversation, and that's great! But, you also don't want to be too eager to interact with someone.
On the other hand, waiting too long means a prospect has likely moved on and their interaction is long gone in their mind.
So, you need to find a healthy balance. When a prospect leaves a comment or responds to a poll, you should always leave a response, but don't wait more than a week to do so.
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 LinkedIn, 67 percent of businesses who blog acquire more leads, so one social site your company needs is a blog... so get to writing!
16. 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?
17. 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.
18. Make Sure Your Blogs Are Easy to Read.
Having long drawn out paragraphs in your blog with no pictures will likely turn people away, regardless of how informative your blog is. Most people don't have the time to carefully consider the text you write in your blogs. Instead, they want to scan the information to quickly absorb the things they are interested in learning.
The best way to do this is to break up your paragraphs into short digestible pieces and to add images that relate to the text.
19. Create Conversion Opportunities
Getting readers to your blog is one part of the battle, but you also need to give them something valuable. So, make sure you include CTAs that can help generate leads.
For example, if you have a downloadable guide, include a CTA that takes readers to a landing page where they can fill out a form to access that offer. This form will capture their information so you can nurture any incoming leads.
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!