It is common for businesses to jump into social media with enthusiasm. They know social media is a helpful channel to connect with the world. It’s an exciting, new world; unfortunately, like the beginning of any networking campaign it’s often lonely in the beginning. Busy business owners tend become impatient and start to make mistakes. To help prevent losing out on valuable opportunities you need to have a social media plan. How are you going to develop new relationships, qualify prospects and develop your quality leads?
First, ask yourself, how are you using social media to improve your business? There are many options. You may become an expert in your field, network with industry professionals, network with target market professionals, improve customer service, reputation management, listen to the competition or keep up to date on industry news. All of these options will lead to new opportunities. What are you going to do when you find them?
Who is a qualified lead? Everyone is never the right answer. What are the traits and needs of someone who needs your product or services. It’s important to make note so when you find someone with these traits you can flag or tag them for future networking and relationship development.
When you find a lead, how do you approach the relationship? Yes, I mean — relationship. Social media is not about heavy-handed selling. You will turn people away faster than you can say Twitter. The best first step is to learn more about them. Ask questions and show interest in what they do. Often, social networking is more about education. Your new connection is often not your end client. They are usually the people who can refer you, if you earn their trust.
So, be trustworthy. Have a plan and stick to it. Social media, like off-line networking takes time. Often social media works a lot like public relations. You may not see may new leads through your social media channels. Most leads will come from referral partners. The value of social media comes when prospects discover a need for your product or service on their own. Fortunately, due to your activity online, they have already been introduced to your name. Your reputation is established on-line. This leads to people talking about you and search engines ranking your website high in the results.
For all of your online marketing, it is important to have a process of following up. Too many business owners don’t think digital marketing works because they have now idea how to develop the online prospects they receive.
Test your process. A lead just came through your website. Now what?
(hint: just following up once with an email is not the answer)
Share how you handle social media online prospect and leads in the comments.