tips for prospecting and nurturing leads on social mediaSocial media is where your prospective customers are, and it’s where they go to learn about products and services. LinkedIn data shows that over three-quarters of interested buyers look to social to find out more about the products and services they’re considering.

So how do you find these people, and how should you interact with them so as to maximize the chances that you’ll eventually close sales?

Use Social Monitoring Tools to Find Relevant Conversation

If you were to manually scour social media platforms for mentions of your company, products, or services, you’d never get anything else done. Thanks to tools like Social Mention, Mention, and Hootsuite, you can easily monitor your own brand, help people solve any problems they may have with your products or services, keep an eye on your competition and their customers, and find and work with influencers to build brand awareness and drive sales.

If you think you can rely on notifications to catch all the mentions of your brand and reply from there, you’re wrong. Some 30% of people mentioning a company don’t use the @ symbol, so there’s a good chance you’re missing out on a lot of conversation.

Social monitoring tools help you catch all mentions of your company so you can get in on the relevant conversations – showing people you’re paying attention, listening, and are there for them when they need you.

Use LinkedIn Sales Navigator to Find Qualified Leads

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a tool that allows you to find leads that have traits you’ve identified as likely to eventually become great clients. When you get started here, spend a bit of time on the setup, because the more detail you give the platform now, the more you’ll get from it in the future. The predictive search features work best when you use all of the available modules and settings.

LinkedIn will walk you through the setup process – but it’s fairly simple. All you have to do is import your leads and target accounts, sync with Salesforce if you use that product, and then choose the territories and job functions of your ideal customer. With that information, LinkedIn will then suggest accounts for you to review and save.

You can use the Lead Builder to filter your prospect searches, with the option to choose from over a dozen search filters to allow you to get super targeted. Once you see the results you want, you can save the search so it can be recreated at any time – with the option of having LinkedIn email you new leads either daily or weekly.

It’s also possible to research accounts by keyword, where you can also refine results by company size, geography, industry, and a few other filters. You can click on the company name to learn more about it, and when you find one you like, save it in just a few clicks.

Perhaps one of the best features of Sales Navigator is the Social Selling Index (SSI), which lets you know how you’re doing on the platform. When you click on the % sign near your SSI score, you’ll see where you’re doing well, and where you need improvement. You’ll also get a comparison to other people on your team, in your network, and in your industry.

Create Content that Plays Up Positive Emotions

create content with emotionsEmotions play a big part in marketing impact, so it’s important to create content assets – even down to your social media posts – that evoke the right reactions.

It’s true that negative emotions like fear and anger do have the ability to drive strong reactions, but they are emotions that people don’t want associated with them, so if you’re trying to drive peer-to-peer social shares, you might want to avoid “alarmist” flavors. What’s more, these emotions don’t help to build trust, which is critical for establishing credibility and building relationships with prospects.

Rely on visuals, and focus on content that evokes at least one of the following emotions:

  • Admiration
  • Amazement
  • Astonishment
  • Curiosity
  • Interest
  • Uncertainty

Truly Pay Attention to Your Prospects’ Needs

Actually listen to what people are saying to you when they engage with you. If you’re really paying attention, you’ll learn where they are in your sales cycle, what’s important to them, the features they’re looking for and can’t live without, the alternatives they’re considering, and so on.

All of these things give you clues as to the best ways to nurture the relationship and better close the sale.

Disregarding what they say and focusing on why your product is the best option will turn them off and build a barrier between you – damaging and possibly even severing the relationship.

Don’t Pretend to be Someone You’re Not

dont pretend to be someone elseOne of the most important things to consider when it comes to generating more sales leads is the importance of showing prospects authenticity. People want to know who you are – and this includes your flaws. If all you post about is the glamorous lie you live, people won’t trust you. They don’t want to see perfection, because they know no one is perfect. They want to see you.

How you do this depends heavily on the social network you’re using – so your strategy will need to include authenticity approaches for each one you’re on. For example, people aren’t on LinkedIn to see photos of your children or your pets, but they wouldn’t mind seeing them on Instagram or Twitter.

Let people into your real life and you’ll create trust and empathy – two elements necessary for the foundation of a solid business relationship.

Don’t Sell – Teach

No matter what industry or niche you’re in, the reality is, people aren’t coming to you to be sold to – and most people can tell extremely quickly when the conversation starts moving towards the close. Posting promotional stuff about you or your business all the time is going to drive people away, so instead, you want to post material that will educate your audience, and ultimately provide value to them.

By helping people first and selling to them later, you will not only gain credibility, but you’ll establish trust in the relationship as people see you as a source of information and advice.

Join groups on Facebook and LinkedIn where you know your prospects are. Find Twitter chats they participate in. Participate alongside them. Provide value and answer questions. Do so consistently, and it will become easier to meaningfully connect with leads on these platforms.

Make Sales the Fringe Benefit in Your Mind

Of course, you need sales – especially if you want to keep your job in sales, or see your business flourish. But if you want to improve those sales numbers, one of the best ways you can do this is focus less on the sale, and more on the prospect.

When you treat the sale as a benefit of the relationship instead of the primary reason for it, you’re much more likely to be successful. Combining this with the other tactics here will ensure you’re selling like a boss.

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