Happy Monday, readers! Welcome to part III of Make Money Using Social Media. Our last two posts explained why and how social media got so big, and why it’s important for you to develop a social media strategy. Here are a few ways to stay on the ball with your social media plan:
What Sales Reps Could Be Doing TODAY to Leverage Social Media
So how exactly does a salesperson get involved in an effective social media strategy? The first steps are knowing which messages to search for, who the most important people to look for are, and how to best respond to individual messages. Here’s how you (or that friend of yours in the 22%) could get started immediately with being a social seller.
Monitor Your Company and Industry Keywords
Regularly monitoring mentions of target keywords (often the same ones Marketing uses to optimize their content) and mentions of your company on social media platforms like Twitter can help to identify those leads who are looking for a service like yours. You might even find leads making direct comparisons between you and your competitors. This is the perfect opportunity to lend a helpful hand and reach out to those people who are asking sales-centric questions.
Monitor Your Leads
Even salespeople who are already on social media often find it difficult to uncover messages from those leads who matter the most. This problem can be solved by monitoring specific lists of social media messages only from your leads, in order to gain perspective on their challenges and needs from your business.
You can create manual lists of people to monitor in Twitter, allowing you to see only messages that are coming from specific people — like, say, a specific sales rep’s leads. Here at HubSpot, we use the brand new Social Inbox to do this. Social Inbox is integrated into the same contacts database a marketer uses to send emails, so we’re able to monitor specific lists, like a sales rep’s specific leads from a CRM like Salesforce. From there, sales reps can monitor everything their leads are tweeting, or filter it further to only deliver streams of messages containing mentions of your company, relevant keywords in your industry, or just about any other custom search term that you care about.
Gather Social Context
Social media can be a great place to gather valuable lead intelligence that fuels your more high-touch sales efforts, like phone calls or in-person meetings. For example, one IT consulting company, NSK Inc., uses social media to streamline their in-person networking events. They host various in-person events in the industry, and invite people to register for free to attend and learn about new technologies in cloud computing and other relevant topics. Before the event, sales reps are able to pull a list of their leads who are attending, and easily view a history of their interactions with the company, a picture of them sourced from Twitter, and a stream of only their tweets. When sales reps have this valuable information ahead of time, they can streamline their conversations to the aspects of their offerings that each person cares about, instead of showing off every feature or capability.
Engage in a Conversation
Though some behaviors have changed with the adoption of new technologies, one thing hasn’t changed: we all still like to be treated like humans. The philosophy of inbound aims to take Marketing and Sales back to square one, and put the person (in this case, a prospect or lead) back at the center of your strategy. That means engaging in helpful conversations, not in sales pitches. That means addressing the specific needs of each individual person, not blasting the same all-encompassing tweet or response. Here are a few tips for better, more personalized social engagement:
1) Answer the Prospect, Not the Competition
If a prospect sends a message out to the Twittersphere asking for experiences with your company versus your competitor, you should, obviously, do what you can to answer their question. You should not send them a message about how much your competition sucks (even if they do). Instead, you could send them a link to a case study or testimonial from an existing customer. If your email marketing client and web analytics are integrated into your social media monitoring tool, you could look into your contact’s past history with your company to better identify what their biggest challenges and interests are, and target your message toward them accordingly.
2) Develop a Personal Relationship
The real secret to social media is simple: be a person. People don’t want to do business with automated social media bots. Social media is an amazing opportunity to break down the faceless front of a company or brand and establish yourself as an actual person at the other end of the screen. This is the kind of rapport sales folks aim to achieve at the beginning of every phone call. Similarly, rapport can be established over social media, all the while having rich lead intelligence on hand to better understand and effectively address your potential customers’ pain points.
3) Don’t Be Afraid of What You Don’t Know
Maybe your leads are asking you questions you don’t have the answers to, whether they be technical or in the domain of another department. The best part about social media is that simply by answering your prospects’ calls, you’re already establishing great brand equity. If someone gives you a tough question, it’s better to tell a prospect that you’ll find them an answer and dig into it deeper with the people in your company that have the answers. Often, people can shy away from this level of uncertainty, but the openness of social media has invited a sense of transparency that, while uncomfortable at first, is preferred (and often demanded) by consumers.
Pretty low-hanging fruit, right? Feel like these are some changes you or someone you love in Sales could make today? (Hint: you totally can!) I believe in you, Sales. Become part of the 78%!
Thanks for sticking with us for this series! Hope ya’ll have a wonderful Monday. Contact us if you need a social media strategy, today!