Your leads are out there, but where do you find them? How do you find them? What are the most effective ways of reaching out to them? How do you ensure maximum ROI from your efforts?
Finding Your Target Audience
The first question you should be asking yourself is: “Which platform are my prospects even on?” There are a lot of social media platforms out there today. It’s not just Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn – it’s StumbleUpon, Quora, SpiceWorks, SlideShare, etc.
As there are so many different social communities out there, it’s important to keep in mind that your prospects are active in different places. For instance, if you’re selling B2B, Pinterest may not be the right place for you to be at this point, whereas LinkedIn can be huge for you.
[Tweet “72% of all web users are active on social media today”]
Think: Where are you active? Where is your audience active? Once you’ve identified those platforms, take it a step further and identify which ways to engage are appropriate. Just because most people are active on Facebook, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they want to have a professional conversation on Facebook.
Discover Prospects the New Way
To leverage social media in sales, you need to determine your Social Media Buyer Persona. Answer questions like:
- Who are they following on social media?
- Who are the influencers (bloggers, analysts, etc.) that your audience would be following or retweeting online?
- What events are they going to?
- What hashtags are they using?
- What groups on LinkedIn are they a part of?
- How do they describe themselves on LinkedIn and Twitter?
All of these questions are going to be your initial set of keywords that you are then able to search on social media channels. For example, for this group of folks (reading this blog) there is a Sales Hacker Group on LinkedIn and a Sales Hacker handle on Twitter. So I would look at both of those social communities (that are talking about Startup Sales) to source leads because they are highly relevant to my social media buyer persona.
Think about what that looks like for you. Write it down. Go find them on social media!
A company looking for startups and early-stage tech companies used these criteria:
…and found over 5,500 leads on Twitter!
Mastering Effective Outreach
The next step is to create an engagement funnel. You’ve found a bunch of people on social platforms, but that doesn’t mean they’re interested in you yet. You don’t want to spend too much time reaching out to them, cold calling them, emailing them, etc. because they’re just cold prospects that fit your buyer persona.
At the top of your social media engagement funnel are light touches. You don’t have to put a lot of thought to it, they get a notification from you by following or favoriting them. Even looking at their page on LinkedIn gives people a notification. “Hey this guy looked at my profile, let’s see who he is or if he can help me.”
All of these little things create notifications that put your profile and/or brand top of mind. If you are interesting enough to them they’ll engage back. What we normally see when this is done right is a 15-20% engagement rate. People either following you back on twitter, viewing your LinkedIn page, engaging on one of your posts, etc.
It is very easy to lightly touch 100-300 people a day and see which 15-20% are engaging back.
From there you can move to medium touch. Maybe that is a direct message on Twitter. Or they tweeted something and you do a public reply to them and start a conversation. It could be a comment on LinkedIn or Facebook.
It starts a conversation.
There are two goals with a medium touch depending on which route you want to take. One is that you want to start a conversation. Asking a simple question with a yes or no answer. Not “Hey let me show you my demo.” The other direction is to send them a link. It could be some helpful content, a webinar, a landing page to capture information, etc.
[Tweet “33% of people prefer communication on social media over the phone”]
Once they’ve engaged further with a medium touch, you can move to a heavy touch. It’s okay to shoot them an email, LinkedIn message, or phone call. Now they know who you are because they’ve interacted and engaged with you before.
By the time you get here, there is a mutual interest in each other and you’re not wasting each other’s time.
Example Engagement Funnel
- When they found a lead…
- Favorite a tweet
- Follow the user
- When the lead followed back…
- Send a direct message
- Connect on LinkedIn
- When the lead responded…
- Send a follow-up email
- When the lead responded…
- When the lead followed back…
Automation makes outreach efficient and scalable. Use different tools to manage parts of your funnel:
Use technology to automate and scale this process. Instead of doing 100 cold calls a day, you’re doing 100 light touches (all automated) and dealing with the people actually interested.
[Tweet “46% of people look to social media when making purchases”]
Lead Management & Metric Tracking
Connect this with your CRM. The more you can connect this process to your CRM and marketing automation system the better. The more your data allows you to see the full picture and tell a story about your lead flow. For example, at the top of the funnel you can see keyword X tends to convert the most. It will give you a broader understanding of the customer from them not knowing you and tweeting about something, to a demo, all the way to a close.
The key here:
- Monitor your results.
- Track conversion rates: network growth, response rates, link clicks.
- Know the ROI of your efforts
Set up your process and continuously optimize your strategy to fill your funnel with social media leads.