Tag Archives: facebook

How to Segment Your Target Market on Social Networks

shutterstock_104979245Segmentation isn’t necessarily a new concept, but it is a crucial discipline to master in today’s sales climate. Actually, segmentation can be traced way back to the 1950s when companies both small and large began targeting specific groups of people with attractive marketing and advertising campaigns.

At its core, segmentation is about relevance. Let’s face it, we’re not going to be continuously relevant to everyone within our massive pool of current, past and potential customers. No matter how much we attempt to generalize or universalize our marketing messages, we’re just not going to reach everyone. So, not only is segmentation helpful for moving customers through our various sales funnels, but its also necessary for survival.

The Inherent Value of Segmentation

Modern segmentation is heavily steeped in the ever-changing world of social media. Today’s customers are equal parts mobile and social-media savvy.

Using social-powered tools found in platforms such as Google+, Facebook and LinkedIn allows you to meet your customers and prospects where they spend their time online. Social media also allows you to understand where and how varying segments congregate online, and exactly what they talk about.

Leveraging Social Media for Segmenting Your Target Market

The power of social media segmentation is all about the platform your customer uses. Best marketing practice says you should execute a marketing campaign on all platforms. Your customers may not all be on the same platform, but they’re not necessarily on every platform either. You could spend an inordinate amount of time building a Twitter campaign that delivers absolutely nothing because your customers aren’t on Twitter. Every market is different, and every customer is different. Marketers love social media because it allows them to create customized experiences for their customers. If some of your customers are on Twitter and some of them don’t even have LinkedIn profiles, you can customize campaigns so each customer feels like one of a kind. You can build a Twitter campaign and an email campaign to reach a broader group of prospects.

Testing is the best way to determine where your prospects are. You’ll never know until you run a campaign on every platform, so take the time to execute a campaign on all platforms and focus future efforts on platforms that generate the most leads.

Uniformity is a thing of the past. Welcome to the age of elastic market segmentation.

The Segmentation Ball is in Your Court

You can segment by geographic location, age, sex, online search/engagement behaviors, and just about any other user-defining characteristic you can dream up, and you can segment even further through platform. You may find that your Bay Area prospects prefer Twitter and your Midwest prospects prefer phone calls. The more pinpointed your segments, the better your results.

How to Maintain Ethical Boundaries in Sales

shutterstock_118623196There’s no point pretending all salespeople exemplify perfect morals. Some salespeople engage in unethical sales practices. For example, they may omit important details from pitches, lie to customers or pressure them to make a decision immediately. Sometimes salespeople cross a blurry line from aggressive to unethical by pressuring clients too much to close a sale, or putting too much emphasis on deadlines.  If you’re not sure whether your behavior is ethical, or if a team member is acting within moral reason, it’s best to err on the side of caution so you don’t offend customers. Blatant lies should be avoided at all costs and other questionable behaviors should be monitored closely so you don’t cross any lines. Some salespeople have acted in the following unethical ways:

  • Lied about a product’s availability, benefits or features to get customers to buy.
  • Pressured customers to buy immediately rather than giving them space to make a decision
  • Sold products they knew didn’t meet customers’ needs while assuring them the product is what they needed.
You probably won’t get into legal trouble for using these unethical sales tactics. However, these tactics are ineffective even if they aren’t illegal. In the short run, they may produce results, but the consequences can be more than a business can bear; they often cost customers and negatively impact your organization’s reputation.
You don’t want these tactics to be associated with your business. If a customer feels cheated, he or she is likely to tell others about it. Potential customers then avoid you because, unsurprisingly, they don’t want to be cheated too. The power of word-of-mouth to destroy your reputation is enhanced by the availability of social media; if customers complain about you on Facebook or elsewhere, the complaint can literally travel around the world in just a few minutes. This can drastically affect your reputation.
And why does your reputation matter so much to your sales? As the new adage goes, what happens on the Internet stays on the Internet forever. The more buyers can learn about you online, the more important your reputation becomes. A top notch PR team can’t save you from the reputation damage a public scandal will create. Company’s no longer have control over their brands – their employees and their customers do. Whoever initiates or welcomes an online conversation about your products or services takes part in building your brand, and if people don’t like doing business with you, your potential customers will hear about it. You can’t fake customer satisfaction, and unethical behavior is the first way to destroy it.
Even if you manage to escape with your reputation unscathed, you won’t get repeat business.  You want customers to come back over and over in order to maximize your profits from each sale. You also won’t be able to up-sell or cross-sell products when you only see each customer once, and you’ll make far less money than you would off of repeat sales.
Unethical sales practices not only destroy lucrative sales opportunities but also waste your money. In order to get new customers, you need to spend money on marketing and advertising. You can spend less on marketing when you have lots of repeat customers; unethical sales practices reduce the impact of your advertising dollars in addition to requiring you to spend more on marketing.
Being ethical and being a salesperson are not mutually exclusive. In fact, you need to build trust with customers to be effective in sales, so you’ll need to avoid unethical sales practices. These types of practices can never get you the results you need in the long run.

Five Ineffective Methods to Social Selling on Facebook

Most B2B companies these days maintain an active presence on Facebook, but not all of us get it right. The marketing opportunities available to us on Facebook continue to evolve, and as marketers, we have to constantly update our Facebook strategy. Take, for example, Facebook’s newly-launched Social Graph Search feature, which gives us better targeting capability than ever before, but also requires us to learn a whole feature.

When figuring out a Facebook strategy, don’t make the following five mistakes. No matter how Facebook marketing develops in the next few years, these five mishaps will lead your strategy to a dead end.

You run an ad but don’t talk about the promotion on your Facebook page.  Research done by Constant Contact and a research firm called Chadwick Martin Bailey shows that those who ‘like’ a specific retailer on Facebook are far more likely to buy from that retailer*. Perhaps it’s the exposure in one’s feed that is a constant reminder of the brand that helps. While fans might not purchase in the moment, reminding them of different promotions you have going on ensures that when they are ready to purchase the type of product you sell, they will think of you.

You don’t use a bright and compelling image in your ad.  The ad must catch a person’s eye amid the content sensory overload that is Facebook. Make sure your image stands out and is relevant to what you are selling.

You are linking to the wrong place.  No matter how compelling your ad is, if it leaves the user with too many clicks to get to the point of purchase, it will be useless. Make sure you link as close to the point of transaction as possible, while of course ensuring that the proper information is available about the product in order for the consumer to make an informed decision without clicking away from the page.

You don’t target your ads to the right demographic.  You have to know your audience well; if you don’t target the appropriate demographic, then you are just wasting money. Always be sure to consider targeting fans of businesses like your own. If you are selling home goods, target fans of Martha Stewart and Bed, Bath, and Beyond, for example.

Track and tweak.  You need to follow the results of your campaign regularly, and tweak your settings accordingly. Perhaps you are seeing that you aren’t gaining much traction with the demographic you are pointing to, or to the copy in your ad. Refine them, then. Facebook has a unique tracking capability and allows you to tweak your ads on the fly if for some reason they are not effective. But don’t let an ineffective ad sit out there. It doesn’t do anything for your brand. If you aren’t maintaining a constant awareness of analytics with regard to your campaign, then you need to incorporate this into your social selling tactics immediately.

In short, constant awareness of analytics is critical when selling on Facebook. Knowing the four critical components to every Facebook ad – the copy, the image, the place to which the ad links, and the people who are seeing the ad – is the key to success. If you aren’t seeing conversions, tweak and evaluate these four critical components for improved Facebook ad success.

*http://www.destinationcrm.com/Articles/CRM-News/Daily-News/Facebook-Fans-More-Likely-to-Recommend-a-Brand-Buy-Products-77616.aspx

Targeting the Right Social Media Networks

shutterstock_113744878Business to business (B2B) sales have gone social. Social media platforms are not just for business to consumer (B2C) companies anymore. Businesses know that social media is a valuable tool for learning about businesses and their products. Social media also makes Internet sales more personal because businesses no longer have to deal with an invisible sales force. They instead can get to know key staff at a company through social media interaction.

Social media networks are good sales intelligence tools that can help increase your sales productivity and assist with lead prospecting, but only if you target the right social media networks. Before deciding which social media networks to target, it is a good idea to do a keyword search of terms relevant to your business to see where your consumers are visiting. Another factor to consider is what you are trying to achieve for your business. Once you know where your target market is at and what your social media goals are, you can effectively target the right social media platforms. The following four tips will help you decide which social media platforms to target.

1. Do You Want to Increase Brand Exposure?

If you want to increase brand exposure for your business on a social media platform, Facebook may be your best bet, according to Elissa Kline in B2B Social Media Marketing Social’s Mean Business. Kline shows that 51 percent of B2B marketers found Facebook to be the most effective social media platform. Facebook is most likely the first social media platform businesses will look for you on, making it an important place to focus on.

2. Do You Want to Promote Customer Interaction?

One of the most effective marketing tools is to get people talking about your business, and an effective way to do this is to promote customer interaction. Discussion boards and open forums on your website are other great ways to promote conversations with your customers.

3. Do You Want to Establish Yourself as an Authority?

Establishing yourself as an authority tells other businesses that you are a resource that can be trusted and that you have the knowledge to provide the solutions they need. The right social media platforms to establish yourself as an authority on are blogs and places like YouTube where you can post informative articles and videos.

4. Do You Want to Promote Sales or Provide Businesses With Updates on Your Company?

If you want to promote sales or provide your customers with valuable updates about your products or services, email campaigns and Twitter are valuable tools.

Social relationship management (social CRM) is only effective if you put the work into it. You have to regularly update your social media pages and most importantly participate in conversations. Remember, social media is not about you talking to your customers, it is about you talking with your customers and allowing them an opportunity to voice their opinions.

Connecting Your Social Media To Your Email Marketing Campaign

shutterstock_64503868If you want to make your brand name strong, then you’ll want to make sure your varying online campaigns compliment each other. For example, an email marketing campaign should be an effective campaign that builds on already established leads, but why not also make it compliment your existing social media profile? Research shows that incorporating your offline and online sales strategies strengthens your brand, which shouldn’t be different for your various online campaigns.

The benefits of integrating your email marketing and social media campaigns are clear: You get to expand both of your online profiles, or social media presence, through one integrated campaign. You also give your clients a choice on how they want to follow you.

Link Up

Link your Twitter, Facebook and other social media profiles for your clients to scan with easy to find icons in your emails. Encourage your clients to check out your social media profiles in a visually-prominent way – which means that you shouldn’t hide the icons near the boilerplate at the bottom or top of the email.

Also, make sure you’ve implemented some type of in-house or software tracking device to provide analytics on the number of shares your email gets. The tracking devices also can monitor the number of clicks the links to your social media profiles receive. For starters, check out the available tracking systems online, such as Did They Read It? and Read Notify.

Give Them More Options

By connecting your social media profile links in your email marketing campaigns, you are offering clients a different option for keeping track of your company in a completely natural way. Giving your leads multiple ways to understand your brand without direct action also gives them the freedom to follow you on their own terms. Let them decide how they want to become more informed of your brand.

Make It Worth It

Give your clients and prospects a reason to go to your social media websites. Perhaps include information about upcoming company events or executive social media profiles to follow. You want your social media profiles to be informative and deliver your brand, but you also want to be engaging and encourage interaction.

Provide Incentives

Dedicate some of your emails to strictly promoting your social media sites and offering deals through them. For example, tell your client that if they follow a link on your Twitter page, they’ll receive a discount on their next purchase. Always remember to follow up those deals with the message to check back in with your social media sites for more deals.

Promote Your Email Marketing Via Social Media

Make sure you’ve embedded a form on Facebook, as well as a link on your Twitter bio, for clients to sign up for your email newsletters.

How to Time Your Social Media Updates

shutterstock_69713374If you have something important to say on social media, make sure it gets heard! Different networks prefer different time windows, and different audiences operate on different time frames. Before you start scheduling out social updates, make sure you have a clear understanding of the audience you want to reach. Determine their age, geography, and reason for reading your social updates. We’ve tailored our findings to B2B organizations.

When determining a time frame that resonates with your audience, first look at when they’re online. Are they a New York financial firm? An L.A. film studio? A Dublin-based sales team?  Set the windows of your posts within the frame of your audience’s online time. Posts outside those windows are not as likely to be discovered as posts you send while they’re at work.

Within those parameters, follow these guidelines for best practice:

  •  Make posts and tweets at daytime, especially between 1 p.m. to 3 p.m (EST) on week days. These are the hours when your tweets receive maximum impressions.
  •  Make posts over the lunch hour when many social network users have time to look at their social network platforms.
  •  Before school (4 a.m to 7 a.m EST).
  •  Time of arrival at work.
  •  At the end of business days

The wisdom behind this is that it is during these times that most of people find some time to check their Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest among other social networks. Accordingly, messages posted at these strategic times are likely to reach a greater number of target consumers, resulting in lead generation and possibly more sales.

When it comes to social media, timing helps you get noticed, but timing certainly isn’t everything. If none of your target customers even know how to use Pinterest, don’t invest a lot of time building a Pinterest campaign. You have to figure out which social networks are right for you. How?

  •  Run tests to determine the best time on each network according to your industry and target audience. Try sending out posts on all your networks at a certain time of day. See which posts engage your audience. Make sure you test all types of content as well. You never know if an audience that ignores your thought leadership is hungry for your customer case studies.
  •  Post the same message multiple times. Learn to retweet/re-post a particular message several times in a day. This boosts chances of the content going viral and reaching a potentially larger audience. If you’re worried that sending too many messages may overwhelm your audience, create different channels. For example, if your Twitter feed gets too crowded with job postings about events that only a small portion of your following will attend, create a separate Twitter profile just for events. The people that find the event Twitter handle helpful will not be as bothered by too many event posts. Targeted Tweets work wonders in audience engagement.

As it is, timing is an integral aspect in successful social medial marketing. Whether you rely on social media management tools, agencies, approved experts and analysts, or do it yourself, do not just post your content. Doing so may flop a potentially viral post. Know when to post. And remember that the recommendations in this post are just that: recommendations. If you want to understand how your audience responds to social media, start collecting analysis on the times and subjects of the posts that inspire the most engagement.

Source Links

http://socialmediatoday.com/brett-williams/1017741/best-times-post-tumblr

http://www.business2community.com/social-media/timing-is-everything-optimizing-social-media-infographic-0212963

http://distributedmarketing.org/2012/02/12/timing-social-media-email-for-best-results/

The 5 Most Viral Moments of 2012

If you didn’t hear of any of the 5 most viral moments of 2012, you probably live under a rock. These moments were discussed and shared everywhere online for weeks. None of these moments are viral because of an effective social media or sales strategy; they’re viral because humans and nature conjure incredible things. You can’t predict and plan for viral moments on social media, but you can definitely screw up with ill-placed marketing ploys that attempt to ride the coattails of tragedy or greatness all for a few sales or Facebook likes. As crises expose our true natures, viral moments expose our brand values. Take a look at these moments, and think about whether or not your organization got involved in the conversations surrounding them. What about you personally? Consider how you may have made a name for yourself in these moments, and how it would have impacted your brand. The next time a viral moment arises, are you going to play it safe and stay out of it, or are you going to use it to show your true colors?

20120806_337_MARS-slide-7CIP-blog480NASA Curiosity Rover

The journey of NASA’s Curiosity Rover was documented on the rover’s Twitter account, and history was made when the device tweeted a picture of the surface of the moon with the following tweet, which quickly went viral:  “I’m safely on the surface of Mars. GALE CRATER I AM IN YOU!!!” The lesson for sales teams here is simple: Develop a voice with your social media profiles and find a way to dig your virtual talons into the intrigue of your consumer base.

fbipo-1Facebook Goes Public

The day Facebook went public, the online world locked into conversation. Thousands of people argued and pontificated over the decision and its consequences. The monumental day for the social media site with 3 billion users went viral because Facebook built up enough conversation around the decision. When the day came, people were ready and armed to spend the entire day discussing it online.

felix-baumgartner-red-bull-stratos-jump

Felix Baumgartner Jumps

Space daredevil Felix Baumgartner’s free-fall jump through the Earth’s sound barrier held the attention of the social media-sphere for days. The jump went viral for the daring man behind it, but also because Red Bull made sure the stunt lived online by streaming it for free and integrating it into all of its social media accounts for a unified online presence. Are your social media profiles properly synced and ready for a new product launch when the time comes?

instagram-foundersFacebook Buys Instagram

The social media storm of reactions to Facebook’s $1 billion purchase of the photo-sharing site Instagram can give sales teams valuable insight on tracking consumer behavior online. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the purchase of Instagram on his Facebook timeline, and the firestorm began. When you launch a product or announce a sale on a social media site, make sure you have plans in place to track the reaction.

NYC-Hurricane-Sandy-aftermath-aerial-shot-blackout-Iwan-Baan-Reportage-by-Getty-Images-155931167Hurricane Sandy

For an example of social media’s power to connect people, sales teams and businesses need not look any further than Hurricane Sandy. When Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic United States in late October, the devastating storm was documented on social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter from the moment the damage began.
People affected by the storm turned to social media to find places they could get clean water, food and temporary shelter. Businesses went out of their way to provide for and connect with their customers in need. Although the storm had nothing to do with sales productivity, sales teams should take away a valuable lesson: when consumers want something and need a connection, they will often turn to social media. Make sure your sales teams have built strong, lasting relationships with customers through your social media accounts. You never know when it will pay off.

How Telling Stories Boosts Your Sales

storybook

Every sale tells a story. The more complex the deal, the more interesting and intricate the story. Just like any story, your sale has a beginning, middle, and end. People have always loved stories, and this is no less true of your customers than of anyone else. Organizing your sale around a story can help customers see the bigger picture that your product will deliver within their organization, and it’s a great way to remind yourself how and when to present each portion of your sale. 

The Beginning: Pose a Problem
A sales story begins with a problem the customer is trying to solve. This gets the customer’s attention right away: they’re interested in learning what happens to someone who has a similar problem. There are many ways to begin such a story, especially in the digital age:
  • Videos are easy to share and find, and often a good first-touch interaction between a prospect and your brand because videos require very little commitment from prospects. Videos also tell stories to which prospects can relate. If the pain in the video is something with which a prospect is all too uncomfortably familiar, they may understand how you help customers better than if you simply try to explain.
  • Blog posts and articles, like videos, require little commitment from prospects. Use your blog to spread thoughtful conversations about the problems customers face. The title of posts and articles can also attract customers’ attention.
  • Images on social media sites capture customers’ attention immediately, especially if they depict a person in trouble and/or use bright colors. Share videos and blog posts on pinterest (with photos) or Facebook to capture further attention.
  • Telling a story face-to-face. When selling begins at events, the sales story begins with a conversation. Unlike all the other examples above, a conversation allows you to collect direct feedback from prospects about their needs. Use events as an opportunity to learn the problems your customers face so you can pose a solution.

A sales story begins with a customers’ first interaction with your brand. If you can deduce what interested your customer about your brand, you can determine the problems they face. You won’t sell much if you pose your product as a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, so identify the problem then move to the next chapter of your sales story.

The Middle: Solutions That Don’t Work
Many sales people make the mistake of jumping directly from the problem to the company’s proposed solution. However, a good story contains a middle section in which the protagonist fails at first to solve the central problem of the story, and has to overcome hardship to prove him or herself and demonstrate that he or she deserves the glory in the end. In sales, this section consists of demonstrating that other solutions to the customer’s problem don’t work.

The goal of this middle section is to raise the customer’s concern about the outcome of the story. If you write this section of a sale correctly, your prospects will be left with no option but to move forward with you.

Presenting solutions that don’t work does not always mean jumping into a competitive dialogue before your customer has even heard of your competitors. Often, the biggest obstacle to a sale is the status quo. If your solution mildly intrigues your prospect, you have to convince them that it’s a complete game-changer. If your prospect loves your product, you often have to convince your prospect’s boss that your product is worth looking at.

The End: Finding a Resolution
The end of the story is when you sell to the customer. Just as all seems lost for the central character of your story (your prospect), he or she tries your product and it works. This relieves and excites your customers. You then encourage them to try the product, too.

And while we hope most sales stories end happily, sometimes they do turn sour. Check out our holiday closing guide to find out how you can master the close of a deal, and end all your sales tales happily ever after.

Do You Have the New InsideView Activity Stream?

We started rolling out a new addition to the InsideView product. It’s only going to be visible to some of our new and existing customers across the free and paid licenses. Currently we are calling it the Activity Stream only because I lost on my vote for calling it a game changer for sales people.

The Activity Stream is designed so that a sales person no longer has to go through individual watchlists to see whats happening with their accounts. The Activity Stream lets you see and filter out the most important news about the companies that matter most to you and gives you insights to what’s happening with the account.

If you log into your account for InsideView you might see a new tab called Activity Stream that will pull all of your Watchlists and Smart Agents into a stream of updates you’d be familiar with, from the way you view other social networks.

You can look at your activity stream based on all Watchlists and Smart Agents or segment out only to see the activity streams from individual items. The activity streams are optimized for social selling actions by allowing you to share these updates directly to Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and email.

Do you have the new Activity Stream? Give us your feedback in the comments.

sales productivity activity stream

How Social Listening Can Make Your Job Easier

Businesses large and small use Twitter and Facebook to communicate directly with their customers.  Social media allows us to announce new products and campaigns and build free brand awareness. However, social media isn’t a one way street. Customers can use social media as easily as companies, and when they complain on social media, everyone can see it.
Regardless of your company size or industry, you need to monitor social media. This is a pretty universally accepted concept, but implementing a formal process in your organization for social monitoring can take be a lot more difficult. A lot of organizations think of social media as an add-on to traditional processes rather than a transformative trend that’s going to change the way businesses operate forever. The fact that you’re reading this on our blog suggest that you fit into the latter category – as we do – and still face resistance to social media integration with business processes. Here are a few reasons we’ve found to work well to help the resistors see the light:
Collecting Customer Feedback
Rolling out customer satisfaction surveys can take a lot more time than simply reading through tweets and Facebook posts. Some companies, such as Square, set up Twitter feeds just to collect customer feedback. Responding to a survey can take a lot more effort than shooting off a quick Tweet, and a lot of customers have figured that out. Customers also tend to get incredibly vocal on social media in the heat of a moment of frustration with your products. They put their feedback in their own words, and you can learn exactly when, why, and from whom complaints or praises arise. You can then adjust products or processes to fix errors, or you can reward customer loyalty that you may not have discovered. You could spend three weeks building a traditional case study, or you could spend three minutes creating a Storify of great customer quotes. Which would you rather do?
Gauging Real-time Reactions
When you launch new campaigns, tracking them in social media is just as important as tracking them in your CRM. CRM and marketing automation tracking show you who engages with your campaigns as well as what they click on, but social media allows you to get real feedback. Companies may have figured out how to manufacture shares and likes, but you can still collect the personalized messages that your customers send about your campaigns. Social media also allows you to quickly take advantage of news events that are trending so you can gain publicity in areas that you’ve never before been able to. Twitter has completely disrupted the PR industry. Getting a press release on the wire is expensive and can be timely. Releasing it on your blog and promoting it via social media can get it front of a lot more eyes a lot quicker, and a lot cheaper.
Enriching Sales Presentations 
Social media offers sales reps an unbelievably easy way to validate statements without using statistics. If you want to prove that people are unhappy with your competitor’s product, what better way to do so than to compile a list of angry tweets and put it in your presentation? If you want to demonstrate that marketing executives face a debilitating problem that you can solve, why not display tweets from real marketing executives facing those problems?
Unveiling Connections 
Perhaps one of the most untapped benefits of social media is it’s ability to reveal connections that you wouldn’t otherwise know you have. LinkedIn is great because it shows you your professional network and the professional networks of your colleagues, but what about all your personal contacts that aren’t on LinkedIn? Your previous employer’s network? Your education network? Your reference customers’ networks? LinkedIn has a ways to go before its a universal connection solution, but even so, finding one person to whom you’re connected can make the difference between a three month nurturing process and a quick reference phone call.

How to Build Client Relationships and Influence Renewals

Renewal customers tend to cost less than new customers for most organizations; without the cost of acquisition, revenue dollars are cheaper to come by. But your customers won’t renew if you do something to lose their respect and trust. There are a few things you can do consistently to stay on their nice lists:

Educate Clients

Don’t use the same resources to engage clients that you build to lure prospects. Create a set of resources geared towards customers that use your products and services to maintain a steady stream of communication, and to ensure that your customers know how to use your products.
In addition to product-centric resources, thought-leadership pieces can build brand value with your clients. Let them know that you’re an authority in your industry. Drown out the competition.

Listen to Your Customers

Remember when Bank of America tried to slap a $5 monthly debit card usage fee on its customers? Those customers were so livid that many threatened to pull their money out of Bank of America and  sign up with other banks – banks that didn’t charge customers for using their debit cards. The debacle occurred during a time when consumer sentiment was boiling against big banks in general, and when Americans questioned the ethics behind big banks.

Bank of America redeemed itself slightly when, two months after their announcement to install a debit card usage fee, they decided that keeping customers was more important than charging them an extra $60 a year. The outrage at Bank of America’s morally corrupt executives died down eventually, and customers kept their money in BofA banks.

However, Bank of America is a huge brand. We don’t all get CNN coverage for our missteps (thankfully), but we’re doing something wrong if we don’t notice customer feedback. Sometimes customer feedback isn’t an open revolt, but a positive suggestion for improvement. Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites offer opportunities to hear our customers – big and small – and we have no excuse not to listen.

Promote Your Customers

Let your customers know that you think they’re awesome. If they use and love your products, they are.
Recommend their products and services on a regular basis. You can easily offer some endorsement through your corporate website or social network profiles.

Showing the desire to assist your clients and their businesses will always pay back. It shows that you are concerned and willing to undertake steps needed for the success of your customers. This is how great and long-lasting business relationships are born.

Warm Up Your Closing Call With a Social Network Referral

It’s no secret that a warm prospect is much easier to close than a cold one. By using your social accounts to keep in touch with prospects and keep your name fresh in their minds, you can create a positive environment for closings.

Before you can warm up a potential sale with social media, you need to know what social media networks they use, and which ones they don’t. It won’t do you any good to get your name in a prospect’s Twitter circle if they don’t pay attention to it. So this needs to be step one:  find out exactly which social networks they use, and what they use them for.

Once you have a good idea of how your prospect uses social media accounts, the next step is to become an active member of their network. The way you do this depends on the network. On Twitter, you can follow their accounts. On Facebook, you can like their pages. On LinkedIn, you can join the groups of which they are a part. You can also subscribe to their blogs. Once you are a member of the network,  you can start interacting with your prospects to give advice, answer questions or even to gather more background information.

Interacting on a social level allow you to present yourself as an expert in your field and as a go-to source for information related to your particular line of products. In addition to impressing your original prospect, you will put yourself in the minds of other members of the group. This will position you to cultivate long-term relationships and court future prospects.

After you have answered some questions and given some advice on the network, you can contact your original prospect through traditional means. Don’t try to close a deal over a  social media network. You always want to stay  professional,  and not everyone has boarded the social media for professional use train yet.

This doesn’t mean you can’t talk to other members of the social group about what you do and what products you represent. Once you’ve closed your first sale with a member of that particular social group, you’re in prime position to ask that client to act  as a referral to other members of the network.

Just from a little activity on social media, you can move away from cold calling and into the warm waters of referral selling.