Using Social Media to Nurture Offline Leads
By Justin Delos Reyes, Web Success Team
As a business professional you probably have stacks of business cards in your desk drawer. How often do you follow-up with the people who handed them to you? If your answer falls in the rarely to never categories, what are your reasons for not following up? Is it lack of time? Is it because you have more important things to do? Or is it because you would rather focus on people who you know can help your business?
The answer might be “yes” to all of those questions. And rightfully so. But why risk letting a lead fall through the cracks if there’s an easier way to follow-up than making a phone call? Social media gives you the opportunity to follow-up with leads of both minimal, and of the utmost importance to you. And the best part is that it’s more convenient in regards to effort and time. After you make the initial introduction (at a networking event or a trade show, for instance), an online marketing team can take the business cards you received and run with it on social media.
A social media strategy dedicated to nurturing leads can put you in a position to stay in the consciousness of the people you meet. It can also help you keep an eye on what they are doing to potentially help your business. And it can have a greater pass along effect through their network of contacts. You never know who is looking for what at any given time. As they say in show business (and marketing), “Timing is everything.”
Make an Immediate Connection
Connect with the people you meet as quickly as possible. The fresher your offline conversation is, the better your chances are of being accepted as a friend on a social network. That means asking them for their URL or searching for them on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter within 24 hours of your initial introduction. LinkedIn users have the opportunity to see who visits their profiles. If you take the time to visit a lead’s profile, you may as well try to connect with them because he or she will know that you visited their page. If they have a public profile set-up, they want to be found. You should not hesitate to get in touch with them – no matter how brief your in-person meeting was.
Complete Your Profile
An incomplete profile can turn potential leads off from accepting your connection request. Last month we asked our Facebook followers if they would connect with people who didn’t have a profile picture on their account, and a majority of the respondents said no. Fill out most, if not all, of the information that social networks allow you to enter. More importantly, include a call-to-action somewhere in your profile to signal that you are open for networking and doing business.
Share Great Content
Savvy professionals recognize that content is like currency on social networks. And the best way to nurture the connections you make is to share solid content with them. Checking-in privately with your leads on a regular basis can be touchy — especially through phone or email. But it’s more convenient on social networks. All you have to do is publish and share content that grabs people’s attention. When they share content from their profile, make yourself even more visible by commenting on it.
Keep at It
Converting leads through social media is a long process. It can take months before a potential lead recognizes your work and decides to contact you offline. If you do not have the time to complete a profile and regularly share content, find someone who can do it for you. Using social media and constantly updating your profile and sharing content is a part of the courting process. Be persistent! It will pay off in the long run and will help you discover opportunities you may have missed otherwise.
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May 15th, 2011 16:13 /
Searching for the people you meet at networking events is often a bigger chore than writing to them or calling them! Like you, I would love to connect with the people I meet on LinkedIn, Twitter or via our Facebook business pages, but even if they are there, they can be hard to find. And, of course, the ones who put their social media information on their cards are the ones who would have been easy to find, anyway!
Here’s something interesting: My new business cards put an emphasis on my Twitter and Facebook information; they don’t have a specific link to my LinkedIn profile. Nevertheless, since I got these cards, the number of people contacting me via LinkedIn after networking events has greatly increased.