If you’re looking to interact with your sales leads on social media, you need to make sure that your presence makes a good impression.
When you reach out to people on LinkedIn, Twitter or any of the other networks that are well suited to B2B prospecting, the first thing they’re likely to do is click through to your profile, so they can see who you are and what they have to gain by corresponding with you. If they like what they see, they’ll be open to connecting with you, cultivating a relationship and possibly buying from you in the future. If they don’t like what they see, they’ll move on – possibly to one of your competitors.
When your profile is amazing and resonates with members of your target audience, you’ll have a much easier time closing deals.
That’s all well and good, but what exactly constitutes a great social media profile? What is the reaction you want people to have when they see it? “This person is the most ingenious and most respected professional to ever work in my industry”? Not so much. Not only is that too hard to accomplish, it would make you seem inaccessible.
Here’s what to aim for instead.
You’re a Real Person
Authenticity is arguably the most important piece of this puzzle. People want to know that you’ve got passions, quirks and even flaws. They know that social media is a space where people often portray themselves as “living the dream,” but if they’re going to trust you, they don’t want to see perfection. They want to see the real you.
How to achieve authenticity varies from social network to social network. After all, people aren’t on LinkedIn, for example, to look at videos of your cat or photos of your kids – although it’s possible that they’d respond well if they did see posts like that in their LinkedIn feeds. That’s what Instagram and Twitter are for.
Amplifying your authenticity is about letting people into your real life – to create trust and empathy. When you have these two elements, you have the foundation of a solid business relationship.
To be active and organic on multiple social media networks takes time, and because we’re all limited to 24 hours a day, maintaining lively presences means staying organized and spending your time efficiently. That’s where automation tools come into play, but they must be used carefully. You can’t expect to automate your entire social media experience, because doing so means compromising on authenticity. People know it’s not really you – that you’ve either outsourced posting to a bot or created a batch of status updates or tweets in one sitting and scheduled them out in advance.
It’s okay to schedule some stuff in advance, but what’s important is you still take time to actively respond to comments, tweets, and retweets. Engage with people instead of just throwing stuff at them.
That said, you’re organized because you keep a calendar of sorts. You know what you want to talk about and when. You know what promotional things to include and when. And you know to keep the majority of your activity non-promotional.
Social selling is all about staying top of mind. You want to be memorable to your audience, and one of the best ways to do this is to tap into emotions. According to a study covered in the Harvard Business Review, emotions play a major role in marketing impact. You want to create content assets – including social posts – that evoke the right emotions.
While negative emotions such as fear and anger do have the power to drive strong reactions, they don’t inspire trust, and they aren’t the emotions that people want to have associated with themselves. The data shows, however, that when negative emotion surprises or builds anticipation, the social sharing performance of the content spikes. The lion’s share of “viral” content evokes one or more of the following emotions:
One of the best ways to hit your emotional marks is to rely on visuals. These are particularly useful in social media because they give users a break from standard status updates, and they’re particularly easy to share.
But there’s more to it than that. Visual perception is extremely powerful for evoking emotion. When you see an image of cookies and milk, what do you think of? Do you think of eating cookies your grandmother made you as a kid? Do you think of leaving cookies and milk out for Santa? Happy memories, right. Emotions play a major role in memory – and the reason why images speak more than words is because the images are connected to the emotional side of the brain.
First and foremost, provide value. People aren’t coming to you to be sold to – and if you’re just posting promotional stuff all the time, you’ll be ignored faster than a telemarketer.
On the other hand, if you make it your goal to help people first and sell to them later, you’ll gain credibility and improve the levels of trust in the relationship. When someone sees you as hub of wisdom and useful advice, they’re far more likely to see whatever it is you’re selling as the helpful solution to their problem.
Join groups on LinkedIn and Facebook where your prospects are, and check out the top Twitter chats in your industry. Participate and provide value on these platforms, and it will be easier to connect with and sell to your prospects.
How to Put It All Together
Think before you post. Each post should work to your advantage, show your authenticity, build trust and credibility with your audience, engage them and help them.
Ask yourself the purpose of each post before you schedule it. Take time every day to be actively available to respond to likes and comments. Put your audience first, and your sales will increase smoothly.
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