Are you turning a deaf ear on social media? Don’t. Eighty-seven percent of B2Bs are active on LinkedIn, making it the top social media site, followed by Twitter (80%), Facebook (80%) and YouTube (61%). Social media is important to not only keeping a close eye on your brand’s reputation, but also to identifying new sales opportunities and cultivating leads. Consider that:
- Social media has a 100% higher close-to-lead ratio than outbound marketing.
- 65 percent of small business owners report increased sales leads following social media campaigns.
- 62 percent of small business owners report a reduction in overall marketing expenses (e.g., television, print advertising) thanks to social media.
- 56% of B2Bs planned to expand the social media budget in 2013.
The failure to be active on social media not only sets your business up for real-time vulnerabilities, but also causes your company to miss out on new clients. Here are 5 tips on how to use social media to generate sales leads and expand your business’s reach.
1. Use LinkedIn to generate social selling selling leads
Think that LinkedIn is just for job searchers? Think again. More than 33.4 million professionals visit LinkedIn each month to build and maintain professional contacts, bounce ideas off industry experts, and generate sales leads according to ComScore. In the game of “it's all who you know,” LinkedIn is the ultimate place to connect with people within your industry. Use marketing automation software to keep tabs on your business contacts’ LinkedIn profiles and to know when contacts are searching for industry information. With the right intelligence, you will be able to identify sales leads that are in the midst of a buying process.2. Turn data outputs into actions
Are you tweeting into cyberspace – or are actual sales leads responding to your message? Social media data is a significant source for leads and insights into consumer engagement within your target marketplace. But if this data is languishing in an Excel spreadsheet, it’s not doing your business any good. Take a close look at your interaction and performance metrics. How big is your business’s social media reach? Who is re-tweeting or liking your posts? Understanding the reach of your data provides key insights into your target marketplace. How can you leverage these insights to better serve your customers?
3. Identify upselling opportunities
Social media is a prime platform for identifying potential upselling opportunities. Use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to track business expansion, growth and new hires. These changes all represent potential upselling opportunities for your business. By connecting with leads and clients on social media, your business will be better positioned to take advantage of these opportunities.
4. Improve your social reputation
With corporate responsibility an increasingly critical social imperative, social media is key to linking your business with socially responsible causes. Whether it’s limiting your corporate carbon footprint or supporting a local nonprofit, social media marketing is all about building relationships – and cause marketing is key. Remember, consumers vote with their wallets and are more likely to identify with brands, rather than causes. Use social media to generate excitement around a cause that matters to your target clients and customers.
5. Provide instant customer service
Social care is the new customer care. Today’s customers expect speedy, immediate and effective customer service. Social media has conditioned customers to expect instant feedback. Failure to provide an instant resolution may not only lead to customer dissatisfaction, but also cause even more damage than the initial customer service mistake.
Keep current customers happy and encourage potential customers to choose your business by offering a Twitter or Facebook account that's dedicated to customer service. Encourage customers to reach out to your business using this dedicated account. And while a favorable response is always best, remember that a prompt response is just as important – especially if there is little that your business can immediately do to resolve the problem.
Satisfied customers, particularly those that have worked through problems with you, are your best advocates and a prime source for referral leads.
Social selling has replaced outbound selling as the go-to sales tactic in the modern buying process. If you use a systematic social media marketing process to educate your target audience and identify sales opportunities, you will be rewarded with business growth.