Social media governs a lot of the decisions people make these days. People give great consideration to comments left by previous customers on business sites. A survey from the NAR showed that 42% of all homebuyers started their search online in 2015. The influence of online information has never been greater.
Given that influence, it makes sense to harness social media to make connections that are good for business. When it comes to business, the social medium that many would think of first is LinkedIn. This professionally oriented site has over 400 million members worldwide. While it’s often thought of as a place to base your search for a new job, it can be an effective tool for prospecting as well.
Using LinkedIn can make prospecting easier and more productive, because of its social nature. Connections share information, so something that you send to a few people has the potential to reach a much wider audience, all of whom will have an interest related to your message.
So, step one is to widen your contacts. Whenever you meet someone professionally, follow up quickly with a connection request. Also, give some attention to your own profile. Make sure your links are current, include a good photo, and make it professional and complete. You can be pretty sure that anyone deciding whether to accept your connection request is going to take a look at your profile first.
The next tip is to do a little investigating by reading over your contacts’ profiles. This can give you a lot of information on that person and on the company for which they work. It can give you an idea of relevant topics to address with that prospect, making the initial contact more effective. Watch for promotions or news on large projects.
By completing the step above, that first contact is not really a “cold call.” You know a little about the person already. It’s fine to mention that you took a look at their LinkedIn profile before calling. This is not stalking. It’s research.
Use the inmail feature to get in direct contact with any user. LinkedIn claims that this type of message is 30 times more likely to get a response than a cold call. This makes sense when you consider that the inmail is seen as coming from someone who is already a connection.
A great way to find out about changes going on in different companies is to follow their LinkedIn page. That way, any news they post will show up in your updates, so you can make the most of those opportunities.
Use LinkedIn’s search features to filter your results. The advanced search lets you find people based on location, title, company, or keyword –even company size and level of seniority within it with a paid account.
Join LinkedIn groups that are having conversations of which you’d like to be a part. These are excellent opportunities to share your expertise and create an image as someone with answers. Groups are also a great source of new connections.