There was a time when business people needed to be persuaded to get active online. Most of you are already active on social media. The big question now is how to use social media to build your business.
B2B salespeople have begun to use the term “Social Selling” when they are developing new business by connecting with qualified prospects online.
How can you tell if your time on social media is helping you reach your business goals?
To connect and ultimately meet with more qualified prospects, you need to FIND, SELECT, and APPROACH them. These are the first three steps in our How Selling sales process and in most B2B sales processes. This is where social selling has the greatest impact.
Let’s look at how the time you spend on social media can improve these efforts.
- Listen: Just as you would at an in-person networking event, the first thing to do is listen. What is being posted online in the areas your clients and prospects are most interested in?
- Search: What do you listen to? You search. Search for thought leaders by key terms. Search for companies on Twitter and LinkedIn. Search for groups and hashtags that your prospects might be participating in.
- Automate: You can automate this process with several social listening tools. Hootsuite is one of the most recognizable, but even setting up a few Google Alerts will get you started.
- Follow: Once you FIND prospects, follow them. Follow their blogs. Follow their company Facebook and LinkedIn pages. Follow their Twitter feed.
- Listen More: Once you’ve identified a lead, it’s common for salespeople to want to jump in with guns blazing. Wait, spend some time lurking. Why? Because one of the benefits of online lurking is to learn about the social norms and jargon of the community.
- Evaluate: Now that you’ve found your marketing and sales qualified leads, evaluate them with a tool, such as our Ideal Customer Profile. Are they worth your time?
- Comment: With a better clue as to what your leads are looking for, join in the conversation. Comment on their blogs, comment on their social media posts. A “like” is nice, but explaining why is where the value is.
- Connect: If you’ve become a familiar guest in their online circles, now is the time to craft a simple, but genuine VBR, or valid business reason, and ask to connect.
- Meet: This is the ultimate goal of all this work online. Never lose sight of the goal. The most important B2B sales begins with a needs analysis meeting. And by now, you should have a good start to understanding their needs.
So how do you know if you're wasting your time on social media?
Ask yourself if your time online turning prospects into leads, leads into connections, and connection into a meeting?
That’s how you’ll know!