Several years ago we landed a national account with more than 4,000 work vehicles to de-identify (remove old graphics) design, print, and deliver new graphics, and then install the adhesive vinyl graphics at the customer’s locations all over North America. We completed the job with few hitches and ahead of schedule. The customer was appreciative, and we’re currently working on another job for them. However, I haven’t answered the question how can social media improve sales?

The salesperson who headed up the original job worked directly with a dozen of the client’s people in marketing, fleet management, and logistics. Our sales representative connected with most of them on LinkedIn. Today more than half of these people are with other organizations, but they remember what we did and the salesperson who helped them and now many of those other businesses use TKO for their fleet graphics needs.

LinkedIn

As I shared in the story above LinkedIn is a great place to stay connected. With the average tenure of American employees at 4.6 years (US Department of Labor Statistics), it just makes sense to stay connected to people you’ve done business with. If you’ve done your job you’ve created trust, and as followers migrate to new positions they can introduce you to the movers and shakers at their new company.

Another way to use LinkedIn is to join groups. Look for industry-related groups and then participate. Ask and answer questions, be known as a go-to person in your industry and you’ll connect with prospects you might never have met.

If you want to go a step further and solidify your place as an industry expert, then publish on Pulse, LinkedIn’s blog posting site. You can’t go wrong answering questions, solving problems, and sharing tutorials. Hubspot: How to Publish on LinkedIn Pulse a Beginners Guide.

Twitter

Twitter is a great place to meet like-minded people. All social media networks work best when you show your human side, but Twitter more than others. I was having coffee with an insurance salesperson who wondered with so many compliance issues in his industry as well as edicts from corporate headquarters, if his time on Twitter was worth it.

I asked about his hobbies and passions, and then told him to tweet about his interests, occasionally reminding his followers if they had insurance questions he’d be happy to help. It’s brought him many new clients.

I’d highly recommend using a Twitter dashboard, I use Tweetdeck and Hootsuite, others swear by Buffer, regardless a dashboard allows you to build lists. For example, I have separate lists for customers, competitors, and influencers with more than 20 lists altogether.

On twitter, it’s essential to share others content more than you post your own. And like most networks, it’s not the place to over sale. People don’t want an advertisement from you; they want conversation, appreciation, problems solved, and questions answered.

Facebook

Facebook’s ever-changing algorithms make it more and more difficult to reach a target audience without buying ads, and maybe that’s the answer. However, there are other actions you can take.

  • Like your customer’s pages and then share from their pages. It’s a great way to keep your name front and center.
  • Answer questions and solve problems.
  • Don’t make it all about you. At most one out of three of your posts should be about you and your product. And once again, don’t be over the top salesy—it will drive people away, it will not attract them.
  • Post consistently. Share and publish one or two posts every work day.
  • Show your human side. Facebook is a great place to show your humanity. Show behind the scenes, introduce your team, and share community participation and charitable events you sponsor.

Show Who You Are Not Only What You Sell

The key to social media and sales is to be a person that can be counted on to answer questions and solve problems. Social media isn’t a place to throw ad after ad against the wall like a 1980’s marketing campaign. If you want to make an impact on your sales through social media, it begins by helping others. How can you be helpful?

Photo credit: Rosaura Ochoa via Foter.com / CC BY