With social networks overtaking daily life on every front, there’s no doubt that business professionals of all kinds need to have a social media presence somewhere. The most expected first choice for salespeople and independent entrepreneurs is LinkedIn. In 2013, the Harvard Business Review boldly declared that the top salespeople utilize LinkedIn more than any other social network in order to achieve more sales—but times are changing.
Up until recently, LinkedIn was most effective for B2B sales primarily because it was the landing strip for many business professionals, the place where all companies overlapped. Functioning like a mixer that never ends, this gave LinkedIn a distinct advantage over other social networks when it came to professional engagement. However, today that simply isn’t the case. While this professional network is still going strong, boasting over 350 million users, it’s no longer the first place that communication starts.
Today, according to a recent report by Forbes, Twitter is actually the most effective social network for salespeople overall. While Twitter has around 50 million fewer users than LinkedIn, it has a much more active userbase and allows sales professionals to connect with possible clients more quickly and easily than the rigmarole of forging an approved connection on LinkedIn. Because of the so-called “collaborative nature” of Twitter, it’s possible to engage with customers and share products and ideas in a quick and efficient manner, making it possible to reach more people in less time and with less overall work than any other social network.
When it comes to using Twitter for salespeople, however, it’s important to keep a few rules of thumb in mind:
- Keep your personal account separate from your business account. Don’t post personal matters on your business account, and try to keep business off of your personal for the most part. This separation allows you to focus on work when logged into one and keeps you from running the risk of posting something meant to be all in good fun, but could drive off your most promising prospect.
- Use Twitter to research prospective clients, but don’t overdo it. By seeing which accounts a prospect follows and retweets from, you can help get a clearer picture of the kind of personal they are and what you can do to keep their interest. While this allows you to be more effective in selling, this doesn’t mean that you should radically change your behavior to lure in that one customer. This may help land a big sale, but it could also make you seem awkward, desperate or even creepy.
- Stay active. Selling on Twitter is only as effective as your activity on the network, so make sure that you’re engaging not just with prospects but also with industry leaders, collaborators and even competition. This network isn’t an eternal mixer, it’s the break room where people steal away to escape the need to constantly sell themselves in that mixer. Talk to people, stay communicative, and post two or three times a day at minimum to be most effective.
Keeping these things in mind, remember that Twitter is first and foremost a social network, not a business network. Don’t try to give things a structure too rigid or you may drive off the prospects that log in for a chance to unwind. It’s all about moderation.
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