A professional social media presence is crucial for today's workforce -- especially salespeople. Use social media to build relationships with prospects, peers, and even your competition. This creates a personal brand and portfolio anyone can see, including the 70% of employers who view candidate social profiles during hiring.
Sales is evolving. The buyer has more control than ever and it’s important for salespeople to respond to that shifting dynamic. You’ve got to engage with the prospect throughout their consideration stage -- and to do that, you have to be where your prospects are: Social media.
Still think social media is for passively scanning Facebook or reading outrageous tweets? Think again.
A 2016 Mediakix survey found the average person spends 35 minutes a day on Facebook, 25 minutes on Snapchat, 15 minutes on Instagram, and a whopping 40 minutes on YouTube. That’s nearly two hours every day.
Why Should I Have Social Media for Business?
Still not convinced it’s time to use your social media powers for good? Here are a few more arguments.
1) It raises awareness of what you do
When you tweet educational articles, share a company award announcement on LinkedIn, or answer a common client question on Instagram Stories, you’re building a personal and professional brand.
A recent study found 40% of salespeople have closed between two and five deals directly related to or because of social media.
If a prospect Googles you while in the awareness or consideration stages of the buyer’s journey and finds you’ve shared a blog post directly speaking to their pain points -- you’ve already begun to educate them.
Don’t miss out on early engagement by not having a professional social media presence.
2) It’s great for networking
This is a no-brainer. If you haven’t updated your LinkedIn profile in a few years, take a few minutes to include a recent photo, awards or certifications, and any promotions or new jobs you’ve received.
Then, follow prospects, industry heavyweights, and peers, and share or leave comments on their posts and tweets. Not only is this a great way to stand out in your industry -- it’s also the perfect way to conduct warm outreach.
By commenting on or liking prospect posts, you’re engaging in their daily work without being pushy or aggressive.
But remember to respond in kind. If a prospect “likes” a tweet, don’t immediately send a DM asking for a demo. Instead, reply by mentioning them and saying thanks for the interaction.
3) It builds your personal brand
A CareerBuilder survey found 70% of employers snoop on candidates’ social media accounts during hiring.
If you regularly share blogs you’ve written, comment on industry news, and interact with peers and prospects, you’re letting potential employers know you’re actively engaged in advancing your career, your company, and your skills.
Having a strong personal brand will also attract prospects. If you brand yourself as an expert in sourcing and selling quality widgets, prospects looking for quality widgets will likely find your social media accounts or content.
Once there, which salesperson do you think they’ll choose? The one who displays obvious knowledge about widgets or the one who has a few tweets about season three of Game of Thrones?
Social Media Tips for Building a Professional Online Presence
How to Use Social Media for Business
Optimize your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram accounts
Create and share content
Automate your posts
Post your intent
Hold office hours
Building a professional social media presence can be intimidating. Do you scrub old photos of you having a little too much fun at the bar? Do you start spamming everyone you know with content about widget creation?
And how much time is this really going to take? Here are a few tips from the Dan Tyre School of Social Media:
1) Open and optimize your accounts
Start with the basics: Make sure you have a LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram account -- and throw in Snapchat if you’ve got the time.
Once you’ve opened these accounts, follow each channel’s directions for optimizing your profile. Blank or inactive accounts are almost as bad as not having one at all. Add photos, fill out the bio and interests sections, and join or follow groups when applicable.
If you already have these accounts set up, make sure they’re updated with your most current information and a professional photo, and remove any information that might be too polarizing.
You don’t want to look like a robot, but think twice about overly political posts, unprofessional photos, or disparaging comments. Wondering how to tell when to remove something from your accounts? Ask two questions:
Would this post/photo/article make someone uncomfortable?
Would it be inappropriate for me to share this post/photo/article at work?
If you need a channel to express yourself in an unfiltered way, set those accounts to private and keep that content between yourself and close friends or family.
2) Create content
This scares folks, but it’s one of the easiest things to do. Just start talking! Record yourself answering a common client question and turn that recording into a blog post. Ask your marketing department if you can write a guest post for their blog (I guarantee they won’t say no).
And always write about what you know. To find topics, consider what you’re good at or what coworkers ask for your help on. Once you’ve identified those areas -- start writing.
The life of a salesperson is busy. Thankfully, sites like Hootsuite and Buffer make it easy to schedule tweets, Facebook posts, and more ahead of time.
Block off 15 minutes every Friday afternoon and schedule content for the following week. That way, your posts are published automatically.
4) Stay human
Don’t mistake professionalism for roboticism. Keep post language conversational and jargon-free. When responding to someone who’s shared or commented on your content, match their tone and level of formality.
After all, this is your personal brand, so it should sound like you.
Don’t passively share articles. Personalize the text accompanying each post, and let your audience know you welcome questions and feedback.
The more open you are about helping, teaching, and learning from your followers, the better your online relationships will be.
6) Hold office hours
Take that intent one step further by hosting office hours. Pick a topic and let your followers know when you’ll be available to answer their questions. A sample post might look like:
“I get a lot of questions about the proper cadence of phone calls and emails for prospects. Since it seems like something a lot of people struggle with, I’ll be answering questions and sharing my favorite tips on Twitter tomorrow night from 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm EST. Use #CadenceChat to chime in.”
Facebook and Instagram Live are also great ways to communicate with your followers. Share a post like the one above, and customize it with the time you’ll be going live.
Once you’re broadcasting, encourage people to comment their questions, so you can answer in real time.
LinkedIn is an increasingly popular way to communicate with peers and potential clients. Instead of linking to a post, share a status with a question or common pain point and ask for feedback in the comments section.
Followers can share their thoughts on a subject like, “What’s your cadence for calling and emailing your prospects?” And make sure to respond to comments your followers leave stoking a lively debate everyone can learn from.
Social media is more than cat memes and food pics. Use it to advance your career, make valuable connections, and … OK, share the occasional cat meme. Find me on social media to let me know what you think about these steps.
Originally published Dec 14, 2017 7:30:00 AM, updated December 12 2017