You have joined a social network and, most likely, you have joined more than one. Now comes the time for you to lean back and wait for the orders to magically float into your inbox. After all, shouldn’t your mere presence be enough to attract buyers to you and then spur them to give you money? While that may have been what you were promised, guess what? They lied.
It’s gonna’ take some work and it all starts with preparation. In order to keep your car running at peak efficiency, occasionally you need to give it a little TLC, a tuneup, and your social networks are no different. When optimized properly, they can deliver outstanding performance. Of course, if you are happy with being a Yugo, please read no further.
Refine your goals
We all need goals in life and setting these in order to achieve the desired results from your social selling network are no different. Your goals need to be specific and multiple goals can, and should, be set for specific activities and their desired results. These activities comprise the steps necessary to reach your goals. Finally, be sure to assign timelines for achievement and identify how will you know when you have arrived at these points.
Polish your profile
Before you do anything, on any social network, ensure that your profile(s) reflects you as being a professional! This isn’t a suggestion. It’s a requirement. You only get one chance to make a first impression and to potentially squander that on what might be the biggest deal of your life … that would be unforgivable.
The beauty of social selling is that your networks are working for you, as your inbound sales team, 24/7/365 and even on leap year. Your desired customers are using the Internet to find and to qualify potential vendors. Will you make the short list? Well, there is much that you can do to influence that outcome.
It starts with your public persona, what those who are not connected to you will see. Take LinkedIn as an example. You can control what areas of your profile will be visible to others and whether or not you will want to be discoverable by search engines. Being in sales, why you would not want to show everything, and be easily found, is beyond my comprehension.
You may also wish to provide your contact information as a part of your summary so that anybody who wants to reach you can do so. I know … what about spam bots? All I can tell you is that I am a privacy freak and my contact info is liberally sprinkled across the Internet and it really is not an issue for me. Sure, you will get some junk but, nothing that a Gmail filter won’t take care of.
Target your connections
Connect with those who meet your buyer persona and disconnect from those who do not. Targeting your connections is serious business. It’s not that easy to filter updates to display only those from important people on any of the networks and on LinkedIn it is damn near impossible. Updates from people who bring you no value are called noise and I would suggest that you don’t need to add to this. Noise will kill your focus as quickly as a bullet will dispatch …
Evaluate your connection’s connections and request warm introductions. While LinkedIn has removed the ability to search a connection’s connections, here is a hack from Byrnne Tillman over at Social Sales Link. Not elegant but, workable.
Monitor your networks
Your networks are more than an electronic card file so, don’t treat them like one. Your card file is a static inanimate object whereas your social networks are dynamic living organisms. That is, if you will allow them to be so. Look for commonalities as these will often be the first touch points that can lead to rapport.
If people are viewing your profile on LinkedIn, reach out and start a conversation and, if appropriate, initiate a connection. Relationships cannot be established overnight so be prepared to comment, like, retweet, reply, and share updates forward to your network but, only when you are being sincere in your actions. Engage progressively in order to lay the groundwork for mutual trust.
In addition to monitoring your connections’ discussion updates, pay even closer attention to their profile updates. These include professional milestones as well as changes to their profile. Maybe your best customer has just moved up in their organization or … maybe they moved out. It could be all hands on deck for some serious damage control.
Activity = Visibility
Your activity will define you as either being a player or a stalker. If you are not willing to share things that will be of value to your community … what purpose do you serve? Furthermore, your activity keeps you and your services top-of-mind. It’s like advertising. I might not need your particular product or service at just this moment but, when I do, I should be thinking of you instead of your competitor or a Google search.
However, today’s social selling model is based on customer education vs. perpetual product hawking. This means that, while you will certainly want to share content (articles, videos, slides, etc.) that will point directly to your services … also freely share content from others that may be related to your brand. For example, my brand’s focus is selling and the majority of my sharing is related to this topic.
Join appropriate groups
But, do not join more than you can be active in. The cream floats to the top and, in most groups, you won’t have to paddle very hard to get up there. There are three kinds of groups that I would suggest that you participate in …
- Groups related to your industry as they will be great for sharing ideas and best practices and may also yield collaboration opportunities.
- A good general business group that might be specific to your territory(s). Get to know your community.
- Someplace where your target prospects and customers will hang. If I am selling drafting equipment and supplies, I will want to rub elbows with architects.
This being said, do not join a group for the purpose of badgering the members into buying. Particularly when it comes to groups … the tortoise will outpace the hare.
Create an action plan
A good action plan will ensure that you make meaningful touches daily with you top targeted people. Remember that quality touches will always trump quantity. When you make your touches personalized and sincere, they won’t leave the bruises that can be associated with repetitive hammering. Then, track your results, replicate that which is successful and then either drop or modify that which is not.
You were also probably told that social networking and, by association, social selling would be a black hole, a vortex, that you would be sucked into. Once engaged, you will become the undead and will never see daylight again. They lied about that too. There is and then there is productive activity.
If you focus on productivity, very little time will actually be required in order to be successful with social selling. Speaking of time … time to get to work! My final gifts to you … follow this link to see a very nice flow-chart infographic on social selling from Sales for Life and …
Here’s an infographic made with Visme that will show you highlights on optimizing your social selling network activities…