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Social Media has taken the marketing world by storm, and it has completely changed the way we do business.  It is no longer an optional marketing tool. It is absolutely essential in order to remain competitive.

With that being said, how does social media help you sell? How does an individual sales rep use social media to help generate sales leads?

Let’s take a look at the statistics. There are over 1 billion Facebook users, 560 million active Twitter accounts, and 240 million active LinkedIn users. 97% of all consumers search for brands online. Whether you work for a small or large company, B2C or B2B, one statistic is clear: your customers are online. That means you need to be too.

61% of US marketers use social media to increase their lead generation, and 78% of salespeople that use social media outsell their peers.  Even IBM reported a 400% increase in sales the first quarter they piloted their social selling program.

Social selling is important because these days, relationships matter more than ever, and consumers are tuning out irrelevant promotional noise.  You have to find a way to stand out from the clutter online. By engaging with consumers, fans, and coworkers online, you are establishing your online presence and building relationships. Getting online, forming relationships, and building your personal brand can be done easily using three social platforms: LinkedIn, Twitter, and Blogging.

LinkedIn:

LinkedIn is the ultimate business-to-business social media resource. To build your online presence, you need to start by cleaning up your personal profile.

    • Professional profile picture
    • Complete summary and job history
    • List awards, certifications, and skills

Once your profile is complete, you can begin sharing relevant articles to your industry, interacting with potential clients on their LinkedIn Company pages, and joining industry-related groups. Potential customers are more likely to connect with you if you establish yourself as a credible source of information and build a relationship with them within a group first.

Twitter:             

Twitter is a micro-blogging platform with 560 million active users that provides a social media tool for instant communication with consumers. Twitter allows you to exchange content to provoke discussion, share interesting articles, and interact with potential clients online. Twitter is a great tool to establish yourself as an industry leader and expert while forming relationships with potential clients.

The rule of thumb for Twitter is to keep your tweets 60% industry related, 30% personal, and only 10% sales related. You do not want to solely post sales tweets, because users will not want to interact with you and will more than likely tune out the clutter. Instead, if you build a real profile with good content, you can connect to individuals and post calls to action.

Tweet about relevant topics in your industry. Find similar-minded people, and start a discussion. Tag a well-known author and compliment his or her latest blog. Once you start tweeting, it will be hard to stop!

Blogging:

Blogging is the #1 way to express your expertise, drive traffic to your website, and generate great content to post on your social sites. Submit blogs to your company website, apply to publish on LinkedIn, or start your own WordPress site.

While Twitter limits your expression to 140 characters, there is no set limit to the length of a blog post. With a blog, you can write a longer post about a hot topic in your industry, your professional expertise, or a challenge you have overcome. Post both professional and personal blogs, so your followers can learn more from and about you.

Blogging works. Just ask the experts. B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads than companies that don’t, and companies that blog generate 5 times more traffic. Customers enjoy reading blogs and are more likely to buy from a company and individual that posts regularly. 

What are you waiting for? Your customers are online. It’s time to get social!

Haley Schmidt
Digital Media Specialist

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