There’s no undermining the potential of social media. The clever marketers have been harnessing social media platforms for higher sales figures for years.

If you haven’t hopped on the wagon yet, here’s how you can leverage the power of social media to find prospects and subsequently make more sales.

How to find prospects on social media?

A couple of years ago I read somewhere “If Facebook was a country, it’d be the third most populous country in the world”.

Cut to 2015 and if Facebook was a country, it’d be the most populated country in the world.

social media

Image courtesy www.huffingtonpost.com

You have the world on Facebook and no matter how localized your business is, you can still find a galore of prospects on Facebook.

Facebook pages are the hub. Check out industry-specific pages and invite those members to join/like your page as well.

Facebook’s graph search is a more targeted way to seek prospects as it automatically collects information from their profile and matches to find a fit.

And it’s not just Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram are all places budding with future customers. The idea, however, is to start with not treating them as customers. How do you do that? We’ll get to that in a few but first here are some methods you can use to find prospects on social media:

Make a list of relevant keywords

Depending upon your industry niche, your products or services, your company and even any recent news information, your keywords can make a lot of difference in finding out who’s on the same wavelength.

When you have the list of keywords ready – which you would tweak from time to time – you key this in on Twitter search bar to see who’s talking what.

There are tons of tools available that’ll help you make this search more targeted and quick.

But whether you are skimming through Twitter Facebook or LinkedIn, getting your list of keywords ready is the first step.

Invest in a good keyword tool or use Google’s free Keyword Planner tool to compile this list. You can also scour Google trends to add on to the list.

Join relevant groups

Particularly for LinkedIn and especially for business to business sales, groups and pages are gold mines. The prospects you find here are in the warm stage of the funnel and can be more readily nurtured to customers.

A thing about joining these groups is that your mere presence won’t help.

You need to be active, provide relevant information and participate to both chalks out a superior image and to be taken seriously when you approach these prospects through messaging etc.

Understand that there are two scenarios when prospects listen to you with rapt attention: either you are someone important in that field of you are offering something they can’t refuse.

Use these groups to not just connect with prospects but also peers, you never know who will send customers your way.

Actively search for prospects

This is a no-brainer. Actively searching for prospects does take time and effort but it’s more direct.

Use the keywords to reach out to them. Once you get an idea of who’s looking for what you are offering, you can connect with them easily as they are more receptive.

Facebook’s Graph Search is one option. Another great place to begin is the Advanced Search option on LinkedIn. Even if you aren’t familiar with the ins and outs of LinkedIn, you can key in the keywords from your list to find prospects.

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Craft your message carefully

If you are going to reach out to prospects make sure what you have are going to tell them is worth their while.

Messaging with ‘hey our company does blah blah blah’ is of no use to them. Do some research, see if they are or were looking for something you have on offer and then connect with them.

Your first impression is important. Make it count.

Build a presence

You can actively look for prospects or you can make them come to you. And if you are connecting with prospects who have knowledge of or are aware of your internet presence, it skyrockets your chances of being registered and they’ll actually pay attention to what you have to say.

Building a social media presence can take months but it’s extremely rewarding.

If you were to summarize all the important components of a powerful social media presence, it would stem out from one requirement- Quality Content.

What you put out there should be interactive, informative and engaging.

Whether it is a holiday video or a thoughtful blog post, you have to pay attention to the type of content you put up. It speaks about your brand and persona.

Another way to get it right is by putting your customers first. Customer-centric content and active participation helps to get the word out and win loyal stalwarts.

Take for instance what Nike does. Nike’s brand persona is largely centered on sports and that’s what they do. With a separate Facebook page for different sports and campaigns like #mytimeisnow Nike isn’t just promoting a healthy lifestyle they are drawing in a huge market share of athletes and sports people.

3Image courtesy: Nike

Put customers first

Whether you are trying to solve a customer complaint or post new content, your focus should always be your customers.

Instead of one person managing all, have an active team of social media personnel monitoring and managing every social media forum throughout the day.

This means that they can timely respond to queries – which by the way could turn to something ugly – and are on your prospect’s timeline often.

But here again, be careful and don’t bombard their feed with update. Once a day is fine, shoot up to twice a day if you have contests and giveaways going on.

And always remember it’s not about what you are selling, it’s about how what you are selling will enrich their lives. This should reflect on your social media updates too, the purpose is not to sell but to connect, engage and win over them.

Every business whether it’s a small startup or a global giant, each one of them needs to use social media to find, connect and engage with prospects and customers alike.