There’s an old saying in the sales business that I firmly believe in, “Go where your customers are.” Nowadays, your customers are frequenting one place in particular above anywhere else, and that place is social media. Never before has it been easier for customers to get in touch with a business—and actually get a reply back—but thanks to social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, a simple comment to a company can elicit a response in a matter of seconds. Which is great for customers, but for salespeople, who already have a million tasks on their plates on any given day, sometimes it can feel nearly impossible to carve time out of their busy schedules to communicate with customers via social media. If you’re not working for a large corporation with its own internal social media department, oftentimes either you or someone else on your team is stuck with the task of managing social media accounts. But before you complain, hear me out. Social media is a great resource for increasing your sales leads. And the best part is that there are dozens of social media listening tools out there that make it easy to stay on top of your accounts. However, before I get into how social media can increase sales leads, let me first mention a couple social media listening tools that I use daily that I think could be beneficial to you, too.
At one time, this was one of the only social media listening tool available, and even today, it’s by far one of the easiest to use. Basically, using Google, you set up a keyword search or alert for any topic that interests you, from specific companies to subjects you enjoy following. Every time something is published online relating to your selections, you’ll receive a message in your Gmail inbox with a link. One alert that I highly recommend is your own name. Sure, it may sound a little bit vain and Kardashian-esque, but in all honesty, it’s far from it. Google Alerts is a great way for me to be notified every time one of my articles or blog posts go live, as well as a good resource for when I’m mentioned in other people’s articles.
It feels like every day there’s a new social media platform launching, it can be time consuming to have to post to each one of them separately, let alone keep track of postings. This is especially the case if you’re managing social media for a company. That’s where Hootsuite comes in. Hootsuite works across 35 social networks and lets you schedule postings for different times of the day, monitor feedback from your posts, and receive in-depth analytics across all of your platforms. If you need to be everywhere at once, this is the listening tool for you.
So now that you know a little bit more about social media listening tools, how can they help increase sales leads? There are a few ways:
• They can help you find new leads. Like I mentioned earlier, never before has it been easier for customers and companies to connect, than now. Sure, back in the day a customer could stroll into your store to make a purchase and you could have a face-to-face conversation, but thanks to technology, this kind of sale seems downright archaic. Rather, customers are relying on the Internet to make purchases via e-commerce sites like Amazon.com, and I’m willing to bet that this mega corporation wooed many a customer away from its competitors by using social media as opposed to traditional advertising methods like newspaper or radio ads.
• They can help fine-tune your pitch. Say you sent out a tweet that had a particularly successful response rate. The reason you know this is because you’ve been tracking your analytics on Hootsuite or a similar tool. Once you have a better understanding of why this tweet garnered so many replies, you can apply a similar strategy to future tweets. For example, in my own experience, I’ve found that tweets structured as questions have proven successful, because they encourage people to reply back with an answer.
• They can help you solve customer’s complaints. Perhaps one of your customers is unsatisfied with your company, or product, and they posted a scathing review on a site like Yelp. Unless you’re scanning Yelp on a daily basis, most likely you may never see this person’s review. But with a social media listening tool like Google Alerts, their complaint will find its way into your inbox and you’ll be quicker to reply to help solve the issue, and hopefully salvage your relationship in the process. As a customer, there’s nothing worse than not having your concerns heard, but by sending a (polite and professional) reply, you’re one step ahead of the game.
• They can help you check out your competitors. While you’re setting up a Google Alert for your company, take a second to make one for your closest competitor, too. This way you can stay on top of any social media campaigns they roll out, and maybe even learn a thing or too that you can apply to your own accounts.
Now, tell me, what are some ways that you’ve used social media listening tools to your advantage as a salesperson?
Jeffrey Hayzlett is a primetime television and radio host of C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett and Executive Perspectives on C-Suite TV and All Business with Jeffrey Hayzlett on CBS on-demand radio network Play.It. Hayzlett is a global business celebrity, speaker, best-selling author, and Chairman of C-Suite Network, home of the world’s most powerful network of C-Suite leaders. Connect with Hayzlett on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ or www.hayzlett.com.