This is a guest post by Erica Bell.
According to the 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report sponsored by Social Media Examiner, 58% of marketers who have been using social media for more than three years report it has helped them improve sales. Small business owners have seen their sales and lead generation efforts improve when using social media. However, sales teams also need to be involved in the social media strategy to begin connecting with more prospects and current clients. Now more than ever proves that businesses and organizations, as well as there employees, need to be present on social networks. Learn how to nurture leads with social media for increased sales conversion.
Social media provides your sales team with the opportunity to connect with clients and prospects on yet another communication channel. Customers in both B2C and B2B industries are using social media to connect with friends, family and businesses. Members of your sales force can use social media to share content for those who aren’t quite ready to make a purchase without a sales pitch. Just because a lead isn’t ready now doesn’t mean they won’t be in the future.
Tip: Tweet prospects about news and events in their areas and offer advice and articles for reading as they move through the conversion process and closer toward a sale. Provide content for each stage of the buying cycle regularly—not all leads are in the same place.
Connecting with clients and prospects on social media can help sales employees establish a deeper, more personal relationship. Of those who have been using social media for at least one year according to the 2012 report from Social Media Examiner, 65% found it useful for building a loyal fan base. Turn your clients into fans. Although sharing content is important, the key aspect of social networking that sales teams need to embrace is the personalization. Don’t be afraid to reveal a little more personality while trying to get to know that of your leads. You’ll create the engagement, connection and loyalty.
Tip: Connect with leads on more than one social network. Socially surround them without suffocating them. Get your timing down so you’re connecting with leads at the right time and on the right social network.
Unless you are a marketer or working from your company’s official social media accounts, stop selling. Nurturing is not selling and you shouldn’t get the two intertwined. Use social media to engage with leads by getting them the information they need and by being a resource for customer service questions as well as building their trust and your credibility.
Tip: Nurturing leads is about adding value to their lives until they are ready to make a purchase. Stop selling and focus on getting your leads what they’re really after, whether it’s a whitepaper for research, a case study or a price quote on a product.
Finally although Facebook may not be the network for everyone to combine personal and business, individual Twitter accounts, Google+ pages and LinkedIn profiles provide you the opportunity to share content and connect with customers to create a deeper engagement. Build customer loyalty by being a resource when needed and by being a sales member when needed. Find the balance and you can nurture your leads through the conversion funnel until the sale!