This blog post isn’t boring. It’ll hop around a bit, but it won’t be boring.
Most blogs about selling things through social media (a.k.a. “Social Selling”) talk about a few things:
- Social advertising
- The importance of the content you distribute
- Using LinkedIn for business-to-business sales
But who needs that anyway?
Well, normally I’d say we need social advertising, but that’s more for business-to-consumer goals. Social advertising can be used for business-to-business sales (especially on LinkedIn) but that’s another blog for another day.
Here we’ll be talking about business-to-business sales.
Examples of business-to-business sales:
- A digital marketing agency tries to get clients amongst businesses that sell products to consumers
- A consultancy that tries to get clients from organizations that need its expert knowledge of certain business processes
And there are more.
Any time you sell a service to an organization, rather than a single customer/consumer, you are selling B2B rather than B2C.
This distinction is important: social selling tactics vary entirely based on the goals of the seller.
In order to sell services via social media, you need 3 things:
- A social network that permits you to contact cold leads
- A social network that commonly invites people to signify their professional ID (e.g. “Managing Director of Your Future Client”)
- A social network with a culture that encourages connections between strangers
The first one – the ability to contact cold leads – rules out Facebook. Despite leading the pack in user base, it’s not easy to get in touch with someone you identify as a possible client.
The second one – a professional signification in the person’s “about” section or “bio” – rules out Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and a ton of others. Why? Because people don’t say where they work on Instagram. I don’t have a study to back that up – but they don’t. There’s something about those networks that makes them highly social.
This brings it down to LinkedIn and Twitter.
The third one – a social network with a culture that encourages connections between strangers – is helpful in choosing between the two for B2B social selling.
LinkedIn has the ability to contact strangers with “InMail” – a premium service that relegates your private message to a certain specification, and returns it to you if you don’t receive a response within 7 days.
The problem is: no one likes InMail. They’re always salesy and overused by Sales teams across the Western world. LinkedIn’s InMail has already reached the status of Email: a “no-spam” zone.
Twitter, on the other hand… It grants you access to strangers’ information, let’s you contact them, and so far it’s not too weird to contact strangers. In fact, it’s the reason many people love Twitter. Perfect mix.
Twitter Is Simply The Best Business-To-Business Social Sales Tool
I’m not suggesting you send spam through Twitter. But I am suggesting you do the following:
- Compose 1-3 compelling Tweets about your product or service. Be sure to include a link to more info. Place the link 25% of the way through your Tweet (either trust me or read this).
- Search Twitter for people who fit your target demographic. I recommend using Followerwonk or ManageFlitter to search user bio information.
- Create a Twitter list of the qualified results.
- Send your Tweets to each person on the list (one Tweet per person).
It works. You’ll get between 30% and 60% clicks on that link. I call it the Twitter Direct Engagement Strategy.
Ways to improve on the Twitter Direct Engagement Strategy:
- Use a Bitly link to track results.
- Create the list but don’t contact the people with the pitch-Tweets yet. Instead, favorite and retweet some of their Tweets, and kick off a casual conversation. Guide that conversation into a sales pitch.
- Use ManageFlitter’s Bulk Engage feature to auto-distribute a single Tweet to each user from the search results.
- Import the list into Nimble CRM to keep track of who responds and track the lead process fully.
What you Tweet and how you present your brand and services are, of course, up to you – and they can certainly determine the effectiveness of this strategy for you.
I have used this exact strategy for over a dozen clients, including several crowdfunding campaigns. The nice thing is, it’s free (except for tool costs – which you can use for other benefits as well), so even if it doesn’t work… What have you got to lose?
Hit me up on Twitter at @evanpdunn.