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If you’ve been wary of using social media for sales, or using it without too much success, this article will explain how you can maximize your prospecting with social media through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Prospecting with Social Media: Facebook

If you want to maximise your prospecting with social media, start by looking at the world’s most popular social network. Facebook is a treasure trove of information on your prospects. It’s on Facebook that people share insights into their life outside of work - knowledge that can help you find points of mutual interest and connections. You’ll also be able to see if you have mutual “friends” - common connections who might be able to make an introduction for you.

Facebook groups are very important for prospecting with social media. Join groups that are related to your product/service or industry. Once you’re part of a group, use the opportunity to demonstrate your industry/product knowledge by sharing information, news and offering advice. If someone in a group has a question, try to answer it and provide solutions without linking to your website as links can feel spammy.

You want to avoid being overtly salesy but talk about your product when it’s appropriate and ask people to send you a private message if they want more information. That way, they are instigating the conversation. The point of this strategy is to build trust and by using Facebook groups you can become part of a community built on trust. You can also create your own groups related to your product and invite prospects to join. From there you can send targeted messages to those who are active within the group.

Prospecting with Social Media: Twitter

A similar strategy, where you use social media to position yourself as a trusted expert, can be conducted over Twitter. Twitter is great for prospecting since people who are active on usually share things publicly and it’s easy to find prospects and relevant topics (hashtags) using the search function.

Search for your prospects and use social listening to understand their views and business pain. Find out what they are tweeting about and join the conversation by using the same hashtags that they use. Tweet out helpful content yourself with relevant hashtags; become a go to resources for industry news and information.

Twitter works differently than Facebook where it isn’t appropriate to send a friend request to someone you don’t know. On Twitter, it’s perfectly acceptable to follow your prospects if they are tweeting about their business from their personal account and you can follow their company account at any time.  Engage with their tweets; liking them or retweeting when appropriate.

Prospecting with Social Media: LinkedIn

LinkedIn is by far the most popular social media platform for prospecting. Much has been written about creating a great LinkedIn strategy and you can certainly maximize the return on your time spent prospecting using the platform. Your prospects’ LinkedIn profiles include so much valuable information such as common connections, their work history, their education, the groups they are part of and other valuable information such as charitable causes they are passionate about.  All this information needs to go into your CRM so that when you finally converse with them you can use them as points of discussion to build rapport.

With all social media platforms, you need to stay active to gain followers and become known as a trusted industry expert. As with both Facebook and Twitter, you need to make sure you are posting relevant content that speaks to your prospects’ concerns and interests and adds value. Aim to share industry-related content two to three times per week.  Also make a point to comment on your prospects’ posts and engage several times per week.

Like Facebook groups, LinkedIn Groups are great for prospecting since not only can you share valuable information and build trust but they also allow you to connect with third-degree connections if they are members of the same group. Join those relevant to your industry, product or service.

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