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Leads Are People Too: Authenticity & Social Media Prospecting

Aug 17, 2015
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Social media lead generation central floridaEver received an unsolicited connection or friend request and wonder, who is this person, but you accept anyway? Then you immediately start getting bombarded with sales messages or excessively tagged in product images? Yeah, me too, and it’s downright annoying and completely goes against the purpose of social media. What many of these spammers have forgotten is that leads are people first. If you're going to use social media for lead prospecting this is a truth you must embrace fully.

Social media prospecting is all about engaging with people who need the services and products your company provides.  Keyword here is “Engaging”.  Far too often many online marketers see something that has worked and then try to mass duplicate it in an easy and automated way with no thought regarding the impact it has on the prospect. They only think about the numbers. “The more I send, the higher chance I’ll get something.” While this approach often does work, the connections made are not very strong and you also drive a number of great prospects away.   

Want to start using social media prospecting to find new leads for your business? Download our free workbook here.

Now, I am all for marketing automation and making our lives easier, but when it comes to engaging a prospect for the first time, I believe, it is essential that we take a more organic and personal approach.  So let’s talk about a few ways we can be more “human” in our social prospecting.

Adding Value

Want to make a better connection with a prospect? Instead of just throwing unwanted spam in their direction do your research and solve their problems. Offering helpful tips and solutions will show your prospects you care about what they care about. With everything you post or reply to, think “does this add value?”

Build Trust, then Sell

Just think about it, why do people hate going to a used car lot? They know that they are going to get overwhelmed by a used car salesman who only cares about one thing, closing the sale. Now, sales are important and in order to grow our businesses we must sell. But we never open a conversation with selling. Build trust and position yourself as an industry expert. This goes hand-in-hand with my first point about adding value. In the end your prospect will see you care about them and their needs and in return could lead to a better deal for both side. 

Win Win

So what happens if you spend time building trust and the prospect doesn’t move forward in the buyers journey? It can be so frustrating working hard on finding new leads only to have the door closed repeatedly. One great thing about being personal in your social media prospecting is even when prospects don’t move forward, you’ve left them with a great experience and they trust your input. I’ve had a number of prospect circle back to me later on because of the help I gave them and I’ve also been referred by a number of prospects because they felt like I could be trusted.

The Golden Rule

When it comes to our work we often put blinders on and fail to remember that we are engaging with other people just like us. They have needs, they feel emotions and many of them are annoyed by the same things we are annoyed by. Our greatest asset is ourselves. “Market to others, as you would have them market to you.” (Tweet This) is a great rule to use when social prospecting or with any other marketing action you take. By putting yourself in your prospect's shoes you have the advantage of delivering a more targeted and personal connection.

Social media is simply one of the most amazing platforms we have today. You can build relationships, follow news and events and even build your business online using this tool. Social prospecting is a great way to find qualified leads fast and on a medium they are comfortable with. Remember, add value, don’t be a used car salesman, don’t get discouraged, and put yourself in your prospect's shoes. By being more authentic you’ll make better connections that could result in your biggest deal yet!

Social Media Prospecting Workbook

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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