Are you using social media to support sales efforts?
For social media to be an effective sales tool, it must be part of an overall marketing strategy that builds trust with our audience and moves them to action. We have to look beyond ‘likes and shares’ and consider how to strategically use social media to ensure our business is top-of-mind when our clients are ready to buy. To be successful, we also need to implement strategies that place the right content in front of clients in a non-intrusive way. Here’s a strategy for getting in front of your LinkedIn connections more often.
Step 1. Use LinkedIn and connect with members of your ideal target audience.
This is the tough one, but the most important. While you may have several target audiences, there’s that one that is the ideal client. They are your bread and butter and bring the most profit, perhaps from sales, repeat business or through referrals. Who is this group? Is it female executives? Stay-at-home moms? Mid-level managers? Entrepreneurs?
Before you launch your connection efforts, get your own business profile in shape (First Impressions: How to make a great one on LinkedIn). Then, with the group you identify as your ideal client and using LinkedIn advanced search, find this ideal audience and begin connecting.
Search by keywords. Narrow the list by location, especially if your target is local walk-in consumers. Add a title if there is a specific title for your target buyer, such as owner/president, graphic designer, or director.
Build your network by joining the groups that this audience belongs to and for best results, stick to groups with real and active discussions. A group of 100,000 members may look attractive, but it could include a lot of spam discussions and won’t produce the results you need.
Your 3rd level connections may not show their last name in search results, but if you join a group where they belong, you gain access to that information. Send a personal invitation to connect telling them why you would like to connect. In the long-term, consider creating your own LinkedIn group specifically for this audience and invite them to join.
If you’re not a LinkedIn Premium customer, which gives you access to in-mail and personalizing your connection requests, consider signing up for their free 30-day trial and use that trial period to make connections.
2. Create high-quality content resources.
What is the biggest pain point for your target audience?
Don’t think about all the features your product or service offers because this isn’t about you. Yet.
What’s the real pain in their neck? As an example, let’s look at a small lawn service business. Their clients’ pain points could be unrelenting crab grass that takes over yards, dry temperatures and droughts that kill all forms of flowers, or water restrictions imposed by city ordinance. To gather ideas, reach out to a small group within your target audience and have a discussion, or conduct a survey of existing clients.
Create at least two high-quality content resources: (We’ll use the lawn company as an example)
- Ebook – sharing a few key secrets to maintaining a beautiful lawn
- Video – featuring you or experts you interview about solutions to their crab grass problems
- Coupon book – offering money saving coupons or tips about plants that can survive droughts
- Calendar or Ap – reminding them when to take specific lawn care steps to avoid a common problem
- Webinar – offering a how-to lesson for creating a backyard vegetable garden (free, on-demand webinar)
As an example, here’s our free high-quality resource (ebook). This level of content will take some time to create.
3. Build trust.
With your new network of prospects on LinkedIn begin engaging by sharing valuable resources. Use a blend of resources you create with outside resources. If you need help finding content, use a tool like Feedly or Alltop. Ask your connections for their own tips and share their advice with the network.
4. Influence behavior using repetitive advertising on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+
The most important component of advertising is well-written ad copy. If you aren’t skilled at copy writing, seek help. It’s a good investment. Then, subtly use repetitive advertising to influence behavior using a strategy from blogger Kristi Hines.
Start by exporting your LinkedIn connections into a CVS file, which you can open in excel. Get rid of anyone who is not in the target audience. Fine tune the file to only include the contact name and email and save it as a new CVS file. Use this new CVS file to create custom audiences across social media channels.
Then create a Google+ Post using your Google Adwords account).
Use one of the high-quality content resources you created as an offer in your ads. Or promote an upcoming event or special. The key to mixing your channels is to first establish a relationship on LinkedIn. Doing so makes your audience recognize your brand when seen on other channels. Your ideal contacts will begin seeing your advertisements on their other social networks and improve your acquisition rates.