We often talk about the topic of prospecting. Many businesses refer to it as a means of event networking, company's 'Contact' pages research or sending email blasts to purchased lists. Today, we will discuss an inbound approach to prospecting through the power of social media. We call it Social Prospecting.
Social media marketing has been around for long enough and has been evolving personal and business features to better connect with people. Very powerful, but often overseen, features of almost every social network are Search and Groups.
1. HOW TO USE SEARCH FOR SOCIAL PROSPECTING?
Especially for sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus, you should not neglect on running advanced search. Let's take an exemple of looking for current Forex traders in the UK who speak English (you can make it also much more narrow by using more filters).
If you do the above, LinkedIn results shows you a total of 940 people! Especially if you've got a Premium account installed, you can browse through their profiles and define high interest audience for your company to follow up via an inMail or target them during your niche advertising campaign.
Similarly, you can run advanced search on Twitter and target those accounts in your tweets to start a conversation.
Another powerful feature is to monitor relevant hashtags. This is especially relevant for Twitter and Instagram, where hashtags are the main drivers for campaigns, chats and lists.
- See who is engaging in your relevant (known) hashtags, i.e. #forextrader
- Monitor selected accounts and analyse what you target audience is talking about
- Use their hashtags in your tweets
- Mention prospects in your tweets
Here is an interactive infographic from Salesforce to show how your Sales and Marketing teams can use social media search to find prospects.
2. HOW TO USE GROUPS FOR SOCIAL PROSPECTING?
Groups have much more power for engaging with prospects than the brand pages. Groups and communities are perceived by its users as a communication channel (inbound) rather than pushed messages (outbound).
First, analyse niche groups and define your target areas. You might want to set certain criteria to have a more narrow selection for the groups where you want to interact with. Below are some questions to consider:
- How many members are in this group?
- How often are new posts added?
- Is it mostly a link sharing community or are there opne discussions with comments?
- Who are the top members of the community? Are they within our target market?
Last but not least, once you have established a clear target, it's time to engage in a conversation. Make sure that the topics are in-line with what the members of the community are talking about, so that your posts will also be of higher reach. Make your first post without a link, in 1-2 short introductory paragraphs, title and the last sentence of the description being a question to the members of the community. Once people start interacting with you, they will be more likely to see your next posts where you can direct them to some of your blog articles, video tutorials, etc.
So, let's sum this up!
- Build relationships
- Qualify prospects and leads
- Monitor what people are saying
- Be relevant
- Follow the rules of permission
- Spam people
- Focus on random people
- Nag people who are not interested
- Leave it at that
What are your experiences with social prospecting? Did we miss out some elements? Share your feedback with us in the comments below!