5 Tips for Social Selling

Social Selling

Conventional wisdom these days says that social media is a poor lead generator. Conventional wisdom is wrong. While social media doesn’t lend itself to the hard sell, it provides some excellent opportunities to find and qualify buyers who can become leads. Here are five ways to do that.

Research prospects

Nothing is more flattering to prospective customers than showing interest in them personally. The Web is the greatest prospect research tool ever invented. Look up the LinkedIn and Twitter profiles of prospects before you contact them. Google them to see if they have online bios or blogs. Look for connection points. Was your prospect a running back in college? Look up his alma mater’s football team and be ready to talk about its most recent win. Is she on the board of Girl Scouts of America? Talk about your own daughter’s scouting experience. Surprise and delight people with what you’ve learned about them before you enter the room.

Capture leads from LinkedIn discussions

Whenever you start a discussion in a LinkedIn group that sparks response, you’re generating leads. The people who engage in the topic you initiate are qualifying themselves as interested, even if they don’t explicitly say so. Seek out provocative conversation-starters that pique interest. Don’t sell – provoke. Then connect with the people who respond.

Use geographic filters on Twitter

You already know Twitter is a great listening post to find people who are talking about your product category or your business. Did you know you can filter topics by location? Enter a search term on Twitter and then choose the “More options” drop-down menu in the search results. Choose the “Near you” option to see only tweets from nearby users. This is a great device if your business is regional.

Collect leads on SlideShare

It isn’t free, but it’s one of the cheapest lead sources you’ll find. Take those great educational slide decks you create for conferences and e-seminars and post them on Slideshare. Choose the “Collect Leads” option from the menu and select the criteria you want. My recommendation: Only collect contact information from people who download your presentation because they’re interested. Also, keep your lead-gen form as short as possible. With introductory pricing of only eight dollars per lead, there’s little to be lost in at least testing this technique.

Revive archived marketing collateral

Chances are your website has content that was created a year or two ago that has gone dormant. As long as the information is still good, rejuvenate it in social media. Choose problem-solving practical tools like checklists, how-to guides and worksheets from your company website and seek out relevant questions on LinkedIn, Quora and targeted vertical communities. Post links to your content with your answer, being sure to use tracking codes so you can see which forums are performing best. If the content is valuable enough, use a registration gateway to capture leads.

How are you using social media to boost sales?

About Paul Gillin

Paul Gillin is a writer, speaker, online marketing consultant and social media coach with Profitecture. Since 2005, he has helped business-to-business marketers at companies of all sizes and in many industries use social media and quality content to reach and engage with customers. He is also a prolific writer who has published more than 200 articles on the subject of new media. His books include: "The New Influencers" (2007), "Secrets of Social Media Marketing" (2008), "The Joy of Geocaching" (2010) and "Social Marketing to the Business Customer" (2011) and "Attack of the Customers" (2013). He has written the monthly New Channels column for BtoB magazine since 2006. Paul is a veteran technology journalist with more than 25 years of editorial leadership experience. His website is gillin.com and he blogs at paulgillin.com and Newspaper Death Watch.