Make It Happen
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Hootsuite

With all of the focus on social media strategy, wouldn’t it be nice to actually use social media to grow sales? Not improve awareness, develop the brand, help with marketing, or “continue the conversation”. But actually sell.

Here are four ways that social media can be use to sell services. (Stay tuned next week for Social product Sales Strategies.)

  1. Prepare your profile:  While many people think of their own profiles as “personal”, they are not: prospective clients may look at your profile to decide whether you have the experience to address their problem.  In other words, your profile may determine if they will meet you.
  2. Scan for opportunities: Instead of “conversations”, use your social media time to look for organizations that have a problem you can solve. The clues come from three key places: status updates from your connections, questions asked in LinkedIn groups, and queries on Twitter. Set yourself up to monitor these sources using a tool like Hootsuite.
  3. Pick up the phone: Before any critical meeting, check the prospect’s footprint on the major social networks. Beyond getting clues about the prospect’s background – and what is important to them – their profile will expose your mutual connections. Pick up the phone to these people to learn even more about your prospect’s motivations and modus operandi. Then start your sales meeting with a question: “I notice that we both know [insert connection’s name] – how did you meet them?”
  4. Build a referral network: Referrals are the lifeblood of a successful sales effort.  Testimonials that appear as LinkedIn Recommendations, Endorsements, and LinkedIn company page followership are examples of this.

These ideas mirror a traditional sales process:  Awareness, Prospecting, Meeting, and then post-sales referral.  The goal is alignment.

This week’s action plan:  Whether your role is in sales or not, it’s time to change how you use your social network: move from a passive mode to a more active one.  A great way to start?  Pick up the phone – a computer is not your client: a real person is.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to www.RandallCraig.com to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
www.RandallCraig.com:  Professional credentials site
www.108ideaspace.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
www.ProfessionallySpeakingTV.com
Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders

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Even from the most committed employees, one question comes up over and over again: how to use Social Media to find your next job.  It might be couched in different language (How do I develop professional profile/How do I take advantage of Social tools for support, etc), but the question remains.  How can you use Social Media to find your next role?

Given the competition and the tough economy, all of the stars need to align to best give you a chance.  Test yourself: how many of these steps have you really done well?

1) Complete your LinkedIn profile:  This doesn’t just mean adding your experience, but soliciting meaningful recommendations, adding “real” connections, and using descriptive keywords so that you can be found when searched.  It also means adding a summary, education, certifications, etc.

2) Cleanse your social thumbprint:  Too often we don’t consider who might read our personal profiles, and whether what is posted – by us or by others – might possibly disqualify us from consideration.  Cleansing your profiles of out-of-brand pictures and inappropriate content is a great first step.  Managing your personal brand proactively and strategically is far better.  And if you understand the privacy controls, use them.

3) Move from passive to active:  Before meeting with any networking contact or interview, search for the person in LinkedIn to identify the common relationships.   Instead of clicking “connect”, pick up the telephone and ask your connection about the person you are going to meet.  This will yield a significant benefit for when you meet, and will also strengthen your relationship with your connection.

4) Stay up to speed:  Keep up-to-date with the latest issues and trends in your industry, through LinkedIn groups, by following thought-leaders on Twitter (I’m at @randallcraig…), by monitoring Twitter hashtags, to participating in web discussion groups.  Nothing shouts relevance than a person who understands the issues, and their impact.

5) Strategic Status updates:  Most Social Media sites, including Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn allow a status update.  Instead of being verbose (and perhaps irrelevant), use your Tweets and Updates to showcase your value and connection.

6) Start a blog:  Social Media and your resume have one thing in common – they speak to what you have done.  A blog speaks to how you think, and allows your network to understand the depth of your expertise.  While there are downsides to a blog (time commitment, writing quality, etc), it can improve your profile significantly.  A simple blog where you write 3-4 paragraphs weekly is all that is necessary to gain these benefits.   Here’s my quick (free) course on blogging.

7) Monitor and respond:   Listen to what is happening on the web using monitoring tools including Google Alerts (for new pages on Google), and Hootsuite (for the latest status updates).  Beyond monitoring your own name, monitor for positions requiring your expertise, target companies, and key industry terminology.  Finding out what is happening in real time means that you can be the first to share that news with your network… or the interviewer.

Interestingly, the same things that will make you more valuable to another organization, will make you more valuable to your current one.  And the more valuable each person is to their current employer, the more valuable the entire organization becomes.

This week’s action plan:  Which of these seven steps have you not yet addressed?  This week, choose a few, and put them on your to-do list.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to www.RandallCraig.com to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
www.RandallCraig.com
:  Professional credentials site
www.108ideaspace
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
www.ProfessionallySpeakingTV.com
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders