There are a lot of different social networks and the idea of putting a lot of effort into all of them for social sales can be overwhelming. When you’re getting your feet wet with social sales it’s important not to bite off more than you can chew. That’s why it’s best to invest your time in no more than three social networks (it might be helpful to start with one or two.) So which social network offers the best ROI?
LinkedIn: The Best B2B Social Sales Channel
If you’re in B2B sales and you are going to invest in only one social network, make it LinkedIn. While more visual networks like Instagram and Facebook might be better for certain B2C companies, LinkedIn was built to help bring professionals from different businesses together.
Bridge Group’s 2012 Lead Generation Report showed that in 2012 87% of companies were using LinkedIn while only 27% are using Twitter. Add to that the fact that a LinkedIn study showed that LinkedIn’s InMail is 30x more likely to get a response than regular email. One more reason that LinkedIn makes sense as a social sales channel is because, with a premium account, you can send InMail to any prospect. But in order to send a direct message on Twitter, for example, you must both be following each other.
One more thing that makes LinkedIn great for B2B is that there are an abundance of groups that you can participate in to generate leads. If you’re going to participate in groups, remember to avoid seeming spammy. If you add content to a group make it valuable, answer questions, provide thought leadership and establish yourself as an authority. Since your time is valuable, try narrowing your focus to the 3-4 most important groups.
Should You Go Premium?
So if you decide to get started using LinkedIn for social sales, it could be a good idea to invest in a premium account. Evidence from HBR points to the fact that sales reps who use LinkedIn’s premium service have been more successful using LinkedIn to drive revenue. The same study showed that many of the reps who were most active using LinkedIn as a social sales channel were paying for their premium accounts out of pocket. This ties in to the emerging bring-your-own-app (BYOA) phenomenon, also referred to the consumerization of IT. If LinkedIn premium can help you close more deals, it might be worth investing in premium accounts.
Twitter: Focus on Listening
Twitter is a great way to listen to what customers are saying about the products and services that you sell as well as those sold by your competitors. While the sheer volume of Big Data available can overwhelm, some CRM providers such as Salesforce.com even provide native tools that can help sales reps monitor Twitter feeds. There are also third-party tools that can help you gain actionable data from Twitter feeds and deliver that data in a useful context.
Tip: Using Twitter and LinkedIn Together
Twitter can be a great way to identify potential targets, but because of direct messaging requirements and character limits it might not be the ideal platform for starting your relationship with a new customer. If prospects use Twitter, there is a decent chance they are also using LinkedIn. If you identify a potential lead on Twitter you can therefore do a search to see if they are also on LinkedIn. That way you can use your social platforms in tandem to help drive revenue.