For companies looking to grow their business, content marketing has become an important strategy. This helps drive traffic to their websites and generate new sales leads by providing engaging and educational content that is useful to their prospective customers. By posting and sharing helpful content through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and YouTube, companies can target important search keywords and topics that their prospective customers are searching for and exploring online. And, by demonstrating their expertise and thought leadership through these channels, this positions companies as an ideal resource for customers that need solutions for their unique challenges.
Salespeople can play an important role in this by using social media to position themselves as subject matter experts, consultants, and educators, all while delivering valuable content that generates sales leads by eliciting responses and inquiries from readers. Here are five ways that sales reps can use social media to drive leads and grow revenue for their business.
Choose a Social Media Hub
Whether you use a blog, a Linkedin profile, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, or even a YouTube channel, create a place that will be the hub for your professional social media identity and activity. This is where your social content can be published, shared, and organized for others to find, read, and explore. It also where you can post calls to action, offers, and invitations that will drive new leads and opportunities to you and your company. And, finally, your social media hub will serve as the destination for other content producers and publishers to link to your content your online presence as a sales rep.
Of course, since your hub is intended for professional business use, it should be separate from any social media accounts or pages that you use for personal activity. Also, if you plan to use social media for business purposes, your personal accounts should also be made private so that they do not appear along with search results for anyone who may be searching for your business accounts.
It is important to maintain a highly professional image and to abide by company policies for social media, so never post any content through your hub that could be considered offensive or inappropriate by your potential customers.
Monitor Your Channels for Leads and Communication
Of course, if you use social media channels and accounts to build relationships with your target customers, you need to monitor them regularly for comments, private or direct messages, and leads from potential customers. Most services can provide instant notifications via email, text, or mobile apps when someone comments on one of your posts, sends you a message, follows your account, or requests contact. Always be sure to configure these notifications and to check manually for any additional activity.
Of course, if you have current customers or other connections who may be relevant to your social media efforts and fit your target demographics, make sure to invite them to connect with you or to follow your pages and feeds, and return the favor for them. Add people to Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, or Google+, connect with influencers and target customers on Linkedin, and follow relevant people and potential prospects on Twitter. This can help you build up an audience rapidly and create a more robust social media presence as you look to attract and build new connections with prospects.
Create, Curate and Repurpose
Once you know the right keywords to target and the best topics to cover for reaching your intended audience, creating and sharing content becomes the core task of using social media to drive new leads. However, regularly creating new content with a high level of quality and relevance can be a huge challenge, especially for busy salespeople.
This is why curating and repurposing content is also important. With curation, in addition to creating good, engaging content of your own, you can subscribe to industry news websites, email newsletters, social media feeds, and keyword-driven Google alerts to stay up to speed with the latest developments and useful content that is published. You can then share links to these resources through your social media feeds, publish posts with a roundup of recent news or articles on particular topics, or use some of this content as inspiration for your own posts.
Once you have created your own content and shared content from other sources, you can then repurpose it by reusing and reconfiguring it for other formats or channels. For example, if you have created a post on your blog, share it with links and a brief comment or update via Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. If you have gathered a number of articles from other sources on a given topic, consider using them for ideas and inspiration for creating a whitepaper or a brief ebook about that subject. Or rewrite and convert some of your past posts into a monthly newsletter that you can start sharing with your social media followers.
Whatever you choose to do, always look for ways to keep publishing useful content and repurposing the resources you have to provide a steady flow of insights and expertise for your current and potential customers.
When you receive comments on your social media posts, make sure to respond to any questions, provide further details, and join in the conversation. Always respond promptly to any messages that you receive via social media, and always make sure to review and approve any requests for a connection or permission to follow your account.
Beyond this, you can be proactive and engage in conversations with your followers or with others that you follow via social media by asking thought-provoking questions, commenting on posts, and sharing useful links and resources. It is important to be an active, regular participant in these discussions to share your insights, your expertise, and demonstrate your willingness to help prospective customers solve problems and achieve their goals.
Schedule a daily reminder to spend 15 minutes per day asking and answering questions and engaging your audience via social media. With this easily manageable approach, you can ensure that you are regularly participating in social media conversations.
To make all of this easier and more effective, make sure to collaborate with your company sales and marketing leaders and personnel to share content, best practices, and guidelines. If your company has a social media policy, make sure that all of your activity is compliant with these rules. Work with others at your company to understand and implement the right guidelines, continuously improve your efforts, and stay on top of the latest developments in social media.
Working with your fellow team members, you can potentially develop and use templates and style guidelines for social media pages and posts, and you can share tips, suggestions, and techniques that have proven to be successful in your individual and combined efforts.
Ongoing sharing, training, and feedback are critical to ensuring that everyone is getting the most out of your social media efforts. So make sure to build on the successes you have achieved by collaborating with others and conveying a strong brand image that reinforces the thought leadership that your company and its sales reps can offer.