This article is a bit longer, but lot’s of killer ideas here that will get you started to closing business in social media. WARNING: If you don’t do it right, you can waste all your time.
At the first of this year I wrote an article called 31 LinkedIn Tips – How to Use LinkedIn Best Practices for B2b Prospecting and it has really caught fire. People are starting to use social media to drive leads and sales. It’s finally starting to be really productive in the sales department.
I have been asked to speak about LinkedIn at three separate events already and two more soon, and lots of questions have come up on social media in general. We are investing heavily and and have a pretty cool announcement to make very soon. Because of the interest and questions I have decided to start at the beginning with a series of articles about how to use social media to sell.
Let’s start with the essentials.
1- Get set up by grabbing your name in all media: LinkedIn, Blog, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Klout. The days of using a “handle” or alternate name for your identities in social networking are going away.
Q: Why not use your name?
I use @KenKrogue or KDKrogue. Is there really some reason you don’t want people to know who you are in the world of sales or marketing?
Q: What if your name is taken?
Use your name with a catchy addon that helps with your personal brand. If KenKrogue was taken, and my target audience is the world of sales, how about KenKrogueSells. Use a keyword. I’m not much for adding a random number like JohnSmith972 or something. What good does that do? Is anyone searching on 972?
2- Start your personal brand within your target niche. Salespeople need to build confidence and credibility in their audience in them as a sales professional. Social media gives an outlet for that like nothing I’v seen in our lifetime. Our company is asking every single team member to build their own personal brand, become a thought leader in a niche, grow themselves while they grow the company and the industry.
Hubspot has really lead out in this area. Almost every key employee is a key thought leader. They are a content machine, and it shows. They have more traffic than all their competitors combined, and they have some pretty amazing competitors.
Take some time and decide three things. I take them from the landmark book by Jim Colllins, “Good to Great”:
- What do you love to do?
- What are you the best at doing?
- What can you make money at?
This is where I would go.
Life is too short not to spend your time on purpose, doing what you love to do. And don’t focus on your weaknesses, pick your strengths, your best strengths. If you don’t know, go take the test found in StrengthsFinder 2.0 and it will tell you your top 5 strengths.
MY TOP 5 STRENGTHS
Is your niche a place you can make money at? Is it trending upward?
Are you selling something you believe in? If so what is that niche? Can you find it in Google? If so, go to Google Insights and type in a few keywords that find your niche.
Go to Google Insights and learn how your keyword is trending
For me, I love inside sales. I actually love to prospect and sell remotely. Inside Sales as an industry is growing like crazy. In Google Insights Inside Sale is unmistakenly trending upward, while Field Sales is trending down.
Google Insights Shows Inside Sales (Blue) Trending Up - Field Sales (Red) is Down... Way Down
Isn’t is way more fun to ride a trend up? Look at the spread in this graph, it is definitely widening!
3- Find your audience keywords. If something is a trend people are searching on it. If they are searching on it you can go to Google Keyword Tool and find out how many are searching on your keywords per month both Globally and Locally.
All you do is type in a few keywords, like Inside Sales, Outside Sales, and Field Sales:
Google Keyword Tool shows 'Inside Sales' searched on 82.4% more than 'Field Sales'
Go where there is existing traffic you can tap into, not where you have to start traffic from scratch. That either requires a lot of time or money… or both.
4- Clarify your core strategy and stick to your tactical plan (10-20 minutes a day.) My core strategy is simple. I spend 10-20 minutes a day expanding my connections in LinkedIn with people I really want to get to know, and nurturing relationships with those I do know.
Now I spend slightly more time per day writing on this blog, which is also social media. You don’t necessarily need a blog, but it is my favorite for really great results. I just make sure I take the time to write my best content. I don’t always have time for that, sometimes I ramble (as you probably know.)
Right now, all the other media are secondary to LinkedIn and my WordPress blogs. They just help me get the word out better.
Above all, know what you are trying to do in social media.
I met a new friend at the AA-ISP in Dallas who generates leads through LinkedIn for $20 each, that close at a rate of 20%. And he does it without spamming or overtly pitching. I will be interviewing him for an article soon.
I went to lunch with another dear friend of mine the other day. He is well known in Utah for being quite an expert in social media, he has well over 30,000 followers on Twitter. He asked me how many I have and I replied 3,000. But then I went on and said that almost every single one of them comes from the Inside Sales, Lead Generation, or B2B marketing space. And I am sincerely trying to nurture my acquaintances into friends, my connections into customers. He admitted his were random and they don’t really respond much to targetted communications, just flashy or catchy ones. Don’t get me wrong, he does some amazing things, and I learned a ton from him in a short lunch.
I wonder which type of followers is worth more to your purpose?
Don’t engage in social media for the sake of gathering followers or connections. That is like my son wasting time on a video game, and worse yet (during work hours.)
Share the Luv by giving a 'Like', 'Share', 'Buffer, '+1', or 'Pin it', which is the currency of exchange in social media
5- Practice the Golden Rule and the Platinum Rule by sharing the Luv! I wrote an entire article about the Golden Rule and the Platinum Rule because they are so important! In short:
Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have done unto you.
Platinum Rule: Do unto others as they would have done unto them.
How do you apply that in social media? I just go do things for others that I wish they would do for me in a perfect world. And even more so, I try to follow them and figure out what I can do for them that they would appreciate in a perfect world.
I mention people in my blog. I retweet them. I ‘like’ them. I ‘share’ them. I take time to write recommendations in LinkedIn without them asking me. I made a rule a long time ago, that if someone has to ask me to write them a recommendation before I do, then I have failed.
Do you want to meet someone through a LinkedIn Group? Go hang out where they do, learn about them, watch and read what they write about. Comment thoughtfully on their writing. Pretty soon they will notice and often reach out to you. Be sincere. If all you do is try to sell to them, they read right through you. Do the same thing with a good blog author you admire.
6- Use the Core Content model to scale your influence and increase leads. I alluded to Core Content model earlier. Take the time to carefully write a single article with a Core Concept. I like to start with my blog. Then publish that Core Concept in many other media like: LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, iTunes, Youtube, Slideshare, and Brainshark. The same article can add incredible content in nine or more media, and cross pollinate the opportunity for many more of your followers to experience what you are trying to say.
Larger articles can be broken up and provide value to readers for days or weeks, while you finished it in one sitting. Today people like great content served up in small bite-sized chunks.
Really great content should be combined or expanded into white papers, eBooks, or books and offered as valuable incentives to readers in exchange for a connection to them. Think how exciting this is. How many authors of traditional books wish they could connect to and reach out to their audience at any time in a few minutes on a computer?
7- Leverage your reach with technology. Get set up with BufferApp or Hootsuite. There are lots of folks who use
Buffer App lets you Capture Content and Pre-Schedule to Send it On LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook
TweetDeck to pre-schedule tweets on Twitter. Here’s the problem, and I’ve been learning this. Don’t tweet mindless junk or spam. Is that what you would want to read? Only send out stuff you find VERY VALUABLE yourself.
There is a new app I really like called BufferApp that let’s me capture the really valuable content I want to share in LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. My audience in Facebook is far different than LinkedIn or Twitter; personal stuff in Facebook, professional in LinkedIn and Twitter.
There is also a plug-in for most browsers (my favorite is Chrome because it’s faster) that let’s you capture content for future publishing with a two clicks.
8- Respond so the ball is always in the other persons’ court. I always respond thoughtfully to people who comment or connect to me through my LinkedIn and my blog.
I don’t always find time for the other media yet, in fact, rarely.
I’m still trying to find significant value to Twitter or Facebook for business. Maybe (probably) it is because I don’t put the same time into them that I do with LinkedIn and blogging. Hmmmm.
9- Keep track of results and continually evaluate your strategy and plan.
Test, test, test.
We have some really cool technology coming out soon called PowerSocial that will give me the tools to start testing response rates, appointment setting, and even close rates from different kinds of media and social media.
Until then, I keep track in notes on my trust Franklin Day Planner, and in one of hundreds of Excel spreadsheets on my Windows partition on my 17″ Macbook Pro (yes I’m trying to make the shift now fully to the Mac that I hear the Mac version of Excel is finally a real spreadsheet.)
10- Take 10-20 minutes a week to learn and try something new in social media. I mentioned earlier that I took the Strengths Finder 2.0 profile test, my top trait is a ‘Learner,’ so I guess I’m a bit biased to continually learning. But it is moving too fast to stand still. And what you know today is obsolete tomorrow.
Google is an amazing tool. My favorite search is the Top 10 things to do in _________ LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and so on.
So keep learning, and share the cool stuff with me, eh? (As my son Jonny is learning to say in Canada right now.)
Author: Ken Krogue | Google+
Summary of Ken Krogue’s Forbes articles