As a small business owner who spent many years as a sales professional, I’m well aware of the challenges of meeting sales goals in a tough economy. Incorporating a social media marketing process into your bag of tricks is a good way to stand out from the crowd and establish yourself as thought leader to your prospects.
Social media marketing plays a different role for a sales professional than it does for a company. From a revenue-generation standpoint, businesses use social media to promote their brand and content, with the ultimate goal of having prospects read their blogs and complete forms on their landing pages to become leads in their marketing databases. As a sales professional, your goals are twofold:
- To establish yourself as an individual thought leader in your industry
- To get appointments with qualified prospects or potential coaches that can help you sell to your prospect
Here are some tips on how you can leverage a social media marketing process to help you be successful.
Blog to Establish Yourself as a Thought Leader
A corporate blog not only positions the organization as a thought leader, it also provides marketing benefits in terms of increased website traffic. As a sales professional, you have one goal in blogging – to provide useful advice that answers your prospect’s questions thereby establishing you as a person that they want to do business with. Consider devoting the time to write a 400-600 word blog once a week that touches on topics in your industry that are interesting to your prospects. There are free blogging platforms that let you publish your blogs professionally on the web. I recommend Word Press and Google’s Blogger.
Spread the Word and Establish Your Individual Brand
Now that you’ve started blogging, it’s time to get your message out to your prospects. The first thing that you need to do is to establish your business accounts on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Keep them separate from your personal accounts and present a professional image at all times. Don’t be afraid to let your personality show, but don’t include any pictures or other information that you wouldn’t want a prospect to see. I recommend broadcasting two types of posts:
- “Trusted Advisor” posts – these are links to other’s content that provide useful information to your prospects. An example would be a link to an article in a trade journal to which you’d add a brief comment.
- Links to your blog. Provide a link with a brief comment that answers the question, “What’s in it for me?”
- As a rule of thumb, send out 3 “Trusted Advisor” posts for each blog post. Don’t forget to post older blog posts that are still relevant.
For B2B sales, LinkedIn is 3 times more likely to produce a lead than Twitter or Facebook. However, both Facebook and Twitter provide opportunities to connect with your prospects and monitor what’s important to them. I recommend using social media automation tools like HootSuite that let you schedule posts to all 3 networks simultaneously. There is a free version of HootSuite and a Professional version that cost $9.99 a month. Check them out and see which one is best for you.
Devote 30 Minutes a Day to Social Media
In upcoming blog posts, I will explore how to use each of the three networks in detail. For now, let me give you a few brief tips:
- Fully complete the profiles for each of your social media accounts. Upload a professional picture and use the profiles to explain how you help your customers solve problems.
- For LinkedIn, join Groups in which your prospects participate. Answer questions, provide useful information and promote your individual brand. Follow your prospects’ LinkedIn company pages.
- For Twitter, “follow” your prospects. Many will “follow” you back, providing an opportunity to connect and develop relationships.
- For Facebook, “like” your prospects’ company pages. See what they have to say and find out what’s important to them.
- Promote your company’s content and events (seminars, networking events, etc.) on your social media accounts. It’s a great way to get your prospects to attend and provide you the opportunity to create a dialogue with them.
Again, these are just a few of the ways you can use social media to help you meet your sales goals. Stay tuned to our blog to get more detailed tips on how to use each of the three networks mentioned above. For you sales professionals that are using social media, please share your thoughts by leaving a comment. Happy selling!