Do you remember the days when most companies blocked social media sites, refusing access to anyone within office walls?
Today, at LevelEleven, not seeing LinkedIn on our sales development team’s second monitors would be like seeing them without headsets. Not likely. Or ever, really.
So social selling has become simply selling. And here’s how sales teams can make the most of it: By building an online audience that pays attention to what they say.
1. Tag each mention, each time.
Don’t ever mention a person without tagging them. If they’re not on Twitter, tag their company. In fact, recognize moments that supply good mention opportunities and create tweets just from those. Each mention expands your reach.
2. Flatter often.
When you flatter that person mentioned they’re likely to retweet — or at least engage. Then the audience that cares about them may take notice and start to care about you.
Our sales person with the most followers here does this religiously with customers. He sets up alerts to track their news and gives shout-outs as often as that news come out. Not only does this support our customers, but it gets our name in front of prospects at similar companies.
3. Use a hashtag, then interact with others in that stream.
When brainstorming social strategy for a nonprofit event the other day (shout-out to @detcristorey’s #GemsofDetroit!), one event planner mentioned that she gets more followers on Instagram by posting with a hashtag, immediately clicking on the hashtag to go to that stream and then interacting with folks who recently posted on the same topic. I tried it on Twitter and immediately got more followers.
4. Select the “near you” option on a hashtag search.
Take tip #3, only instead of searching for anyone who used the same hashtag, use advanced search options to select those published “Near You.” Make sure you’re around the city where you live. Then when you interact with those people you’ve got two bonds: You both recently tweeted about the same thing and live in the same area.
I tested this out recently with a few Detroiters and not only got more followers, but one even took the time to send a direct message about loving to connect with people in our city, and that turned into some good back and forth engagement. Nothing like a little hometown pride. (Especially in Detroit. #justsayin)
5. Launch new connections with a shout-out.
Remember that person I mentioned who sent a direct message about loving to connect with people in our city? (If not, something’s wrong here — I’m literally asking you to go five sentences back.) I connected with him on my personal profile. Within minutes of that, he checked out our company page and gave us this awesome shout-out:
One quick tweet established some loyalty at the beginning of our connection. You can bet we’ll be retweeting some of his content in the near future.
6. Stay close after tweets, and get ready to follow.
When you publish a tweet, don’t consider your social deed done and move on to prospecting emails. Stick around for a few minutes. That tweet will likely get the most favorites, responses and retweets at the beginning of its lifetime, and you want to catch everyone who interacts right after they do, so you can follow them during those three-or-so seconds you’re on their mind. A lot of the time they’ll follow you back.
7. Choose one main topic, and go for a 90/10 rule.
Don’t tweet on everything you find interesting. Choose a topic that fits the interest of your customers and prospects, and stick with it. If someone follows you because of a tweet on football, but your next several cover SaaS, you might lose that football fan. This is okay, unless it’s happening with most of your followers. You want them to know that your updates will be about [your topic of choice], at least 90% of the time. Then sprinkle in tweets that cover other subjects sparingly — around 10 percent of the time or less.
Speaking of that 10 percent, make sure your promotional tweets land there, too. You won’t keep followers if you look at your feed as an advertising channel. Come off as industry thought leader first, sales person second.
8. Think of tweets as bookmarks.
You can get a ton of followers, but without quality tweets few of them will stick around. Using tweets like bookmarks can help. Try not to publish links unless you find what they lead to so interesting that you’d like to reference that content (even just part of it) later. This offers a good quality litmus test. Plus, it really does give you the option to go back to that content later.
9. Teach one point per 140 characters.
Another way to promote quality in tweets includes making sure each one teaches a point within that 140-character limit. In other words, your followers should read something interesting without even having to click on a link. Don’t publish teasers leading to helpful content — make each tweet its own piece of helpful content. Stats are great for this.
Alright, that gives you nine starting points to get after. As you do, we’ll keep testing and collecting what works, so we can bring it all back to you in future posts.