Social prospecting is about listening; it means diving into the deep end of the social web to find potential prospects and customers, engaging them with useful content and, ultimately, bringing them back to your website. In this blog, we'll explore how you can use Social Prospecting to drive lead generation for your business.
Traditional outbound marketing involves blanket campaigns that are far more expensive than they are far-reaching. They have powerful pitches that dominate the web using flashing neon 'buy me now' signs. Inbound marketing has moved to more creative strategies designed to get that same message across to people in a much quieter, but more influential voice.
Social prospecting is that quiet voice.
Social prospecting is a lot like prospecting for gold. Most prospectors will start looking in places well known for gold deposits. It's no surprise gold diggers are still mining the Klondike, they know there's gold, the geology is right, it's all about digging deep enough.
Most marketers realise that without social media their marketing isn't quite complete and social prospecting offers a viable way to secure new customers.
There are five steps to social prospecting:
- Searching social media channels
- Finding prospects
- Listening to them
- Generating content that engages them
- Realising their sales potential
Searching social media
You will also be monitoring keywords in your social media, an important goldmine; there are billions of users on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, all of whom are part of wider groups within. Digging though the noise of social media to find the nuggets requires patience and perseverance.
Handily, every social network has tools to help you get through the noise. Twitter has easy search functions that let you link words or phrases to find conversations relevant to your industry. You can even search hashtags and narrow your results to indicate mentions from people nearer to you (if you provide a local service) and the same approach can be taken with Facebook too.
Finding prospects and listening to them
Social prospecting works, take a few minutes to search two Twitter hashtags relevant to your industry. Assess the usernames carefully and you'll no doubt find someone who could benefit from your business. This is your first social prospect. Do this regularly and you'll soon have a bagful of leads.
If you follow and listen to what your leads are talking about and what interests them, you will find inspiration in what type of content you should be creating. The idea is to create content that attempts to provide value answering problems.
Choose the right content
Once you have found the right prospect, you need to help them out. What kind of content will answer their concerns and problems? LinkedIn has a great many user groups all discussing and arguing on particular topics. Useful input here can be valuable for building trust.
Content that solves problems
The important thing is to be genuine when you do reach out, especially when joining in conversations, at this stage it isn't about selling and avoid being overly personal. Consumers want valuable content, so offer them something useful, perhaps use your knowledge and experience to solve a problem, a vital first step to developing trust.
You might well be asking what content should I be sharing when social prospecting? In your social media strategy, you should have outlined your goals, target audience and content ideas.
Why is social prospecting so important?
In social media, there people who are fans and customers of your services and then there is everyone else. Disseminating between the two is sometimes like looking for Where's Wally? Social prospecting helps you find Wally from every other stripy T-shirt wearer. If your engagement strategy isn't working, then change it. Are you monitoring the right keywords, are you following the right people, are you commenting, liking and offering the right advice?
Social prospecting provides a way to connect with new customers and get your name and reputation in meaningful circles. Committing time developing your social media strategy and the content will help build your reputation. If your content isn't useful, you will not turn potential customers into actual customers.
Find out more about Social Prospecting and discover how it can help your business with our Social Prospecting eBook: