When prospects are inactive on social media, you have to get creative!
Disclaimer – if your target B2B prospects meet any of the criteria below, this article is not for you:
They are in the rarified category of having over 500 LinkedIn connections, have joined a host of company groups, and regularly comment on or favorite newsfeed items.
If they have a Twitter account, it has more than three followers, a picture not resembling an eggshell, and they have tweeted or retweeted something, anything in the last 100 days.
Not to shortchange other social media platforms, let’s stop here for now. In B2B, LinkedIn and Twitter activity tell a lot about how your target market views and utilizes social media for professional purposes. If your prospects are power users on these platforms, you’ve already got a fantastic highway for reaching them with social selling methods.
But what if your prospects are casual users or totally absent from them altogether as is often the case with senior executives?
Consider these five tips for reaching those hard to reach prospects on social media:
1. Fish where you can
This point is simple and perhaps kind of obvious. You need to pick your battles. Why put the time in to build out a monster Twitter strategy if your audience is not there or not willing to give you the time of day on the platform? Put your bet down on the platform(s) where you have the greatest potential to reach your audience now or over the long-term. In this example, it may mean that you establish a Twitter presence to supplement other tactics and minimize the amount of time you put into the platform until you begin to see pick up.
2. Think about social media broadly
There are other social media channels out there besides LinkedIn and Twitter, despite my earlier observations. While you want to focus on platforms with the greatest potential for return, the magic happens when you get them working together.
Take for example Slideshare. A recent article on CMO.com points out that:
SlideShare receives 500 percent more traffic from business owners than Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
You can’t argue with that result, yet Slideshare remains somewhat in the background. However, content posted on Slideshare can supercharge other social media platforms in addition to producing a lot of direct traffic from their user base. For example, a presentation on Slideshare can be added directly to an individual profile on LinkedIn and Slideshare presentations produce a dynamic visual when added to a tweet. As a bonus, they also rank well on search engines.
3. Focus on your content
First, if you don’t have your own business blog, then you need to establish one. For ideas to get you jump started, see my earlier post and get going.
Ok, now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about content. It needs to be laser focused on the targets you want to pursue, not self-serving, and very informative. If you put a program in motion that focuses on publishing great content, you’ll have a much better chance of attracting the prospects you want. If it’s a blog, then you might attract prospects through organic searches or by sharing your content with other bloggers or third-party publishers. This traffic could generate blog subscribers who eventually follow you on social media.
4. Go old school
Great salespeople have always brought value to their customers in the form of information. It would be ideal in this day and age if your salespeople could regularly generate a relationship with their key targets by sharing great content with them on social media. But, many senior executives are not active on social media at all while others use it for a very directed purpose and are not open to outreach from salespeople.However, your salespeople can share your content through more traditional means such as e-mail, direct mail, or in-person. If they are able to get the attention of a prospect through one of those approaches, there is the possibility that the rapport built by the salesperson through that interaction can turn into a relationship that blossoms on social media.
5. Pursue influencers instead of decision makers
Senior level decision makers are surrounded by people who support their organization. Many of them would crave the opportunity to bring value to that decision maker. Create content that would be appropriate for an influencer to digest and give them the ammunition to bring your solution forward to a decision maker. Share that information on social media and build relationships with influencers. Then, you can leverage that relationship to elicit their assistance in reaching the decision maker.
Don’t doubt for a minute that social selling can work. However, when your prospects are inactive on social media, recognizing your constraints and adjusting your strategy to make it work given those constraints is the best way to go.