There’s no denying that the internet and social media play a big role in influencing buying behaviors. ODM Group, a digital marketing agency, has found that 74% of consumers are influenced by social media when making a purchase. Access to information is readily available for just about everyone, so prospects don’t really have a need to meet with you or a salesperson in-person to learn more about your product or service. So then how do you connect with prospects who are only active online? Well, the obvious answer is to meet them where they are.
The real question is how do you do online prospecting?
One answer: through social media.
Just knowing that isn’t enough though. You must know how to use each social media platform effectively because each one is used differently by prospects. First, you must understand how prospects use the platform. Then, you have to understand how you can leverage the platform's search feature to find your ideal prospect. Here’s a quick guide to help you do that with 3 major social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Facebook is a great way to find new prospects among your own network using Graph Search, which is just a fancy name for their search feature. Lots of people get on Facebook to ask friends and family for recommendations on where to buy or who to buy from. So many people look for recommendations on the platform that Facebook now has a “Looking for Recommendations” tag! When people do ask for recommendations you can easily find them if you search up the right words. Once you find a prospect give them a friendly comment on their post suggesting that they check out your service or product! You can be creative with your engagement as well. Try different things, like giving them a specific product suggestion or offering them a discount promotion.
Here are some keywords you can start with when searching for prospects:
- Where can I find ...
- Suggestions for …
- Good ...
- Recommendations for/on ...
Remember to think of words or phrases that people tend to associate with your product or services as well. For example, words like “fast shipping”, “easy to use”, “cute (dress)” and etc. Make full use of the search bar by filtering your search too. You can narrow the search to a specific location and date of the post as well.
With Twitter, you’ll have to be more open to finding prospects who are sharing their interests rather than looking for a solution. You can still find people who may be looking for recommendations but Facebook has more of those rather than Twitter. Many people use Twitter to quickly find out what’s going in their friends' and families' lives, as well as to stay updated on their interests and passions. Once prospects find the content they’re interested in they’ll retweet, comment, and like the post, and this is what you want to pay attention to. They may even post something themselves that reveals a strong interest of theirs. Connect with users who show an interest in things related to your service or product. Share promotions with them, have them check out your business website, and just engage with them to let them know that you’re open to doing business with them.
To find prospects who show an interest in your service or product, use Twitter’s search bar. Twitter can fill in keywords related to your service or product. You can also do industry-specific searches by using the right keywords related to your industry of interest. Search for services or products that may be closely related to your business too, like food catering oftentimes goes hand-in-hand with venue rentals. In addition, use hashtags to help narrow your search to find people who are specifically mentioning your keywords.
Twitter will automatically populate the top results that include your keywords, but you can narrow down the results to latest activities, people who use your keyword in their profile description, and many more. Twitter also has an Advanced Search feature that allows you to narrow the search by location, dates, and phrases.
- 10 Tips and Tricks for Powerful Twitter Search
- How to Search Twitter - The Best Twitter Search Tricks
LinkedIn is more of a professional social media platform so it’s best for B2B prospecting. It’s not ideal for B2C’s because the platform focuses on business-related topics. Use LinkedIn's search feature to find prospects by typing in your keywords. You can find specific types of clients by looking up job titles or industries when you narrow the search results by people. You can also search for content and posts that other users published that contain your keywords. Other interesting filters you can use to narrow your search results include Companies and Groups. Searching with hashtags is also a great way to search for prospects.
Once you find prospects, engage with them by connecting and sharing some valuable piece of information that may be of use to them. Don’t just outright offer your service. People don’t welcome such things often because it seems pushy, so connect with them and have them open up to you by showing them that you’re interested in what they’re involved in.
When you understand and use Social Media correctly there's no end to how much your business can grow!
When you search for prospects using keywords don't be afraid to try different ones each time, this will allow you to find what works best for your business. Be creative with how you engage with your prospects too. Try giving away promotions, offering demos and trials, or being personable and not just all business. Make sure you monitor and analyze your efforts too. Don't just respond to someone's post seeking a recommendation and then leave it at that. Make sure to follow up with them, especially if they respond! If someone didn't respond then try to figure out why they didn't. Is it because you didn't offer them something they needed, or was it because your message wasn't clear? Make sure you find out!
Also, social media platforms don't stay the same forever, nor do people. Trends will change and thanks to technology this occurs often. Just look at Twitter for example. Last year Twitter created their Explore feature which combined their Trends, Moments, and Search feature all into one. This allowed users to find and engage with content more easily, which means that businesses who leverage this effectively can make themselves more accessible to consumers through their marketing, making their sales process flow smoother.
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