You decided to spend a little time on Facebook today… “networking.” After all, you’re in sales and this is one way to keep up with your clients and potentially make a sale.
You sign in and see a friend request, which links you to a few others you want to connect with. You notice someone you haven’t heard from in years and decide to see what he’s up to. Several minutes pass, and it’s time to get back on track. Oh, there’s an interesting article. Someone’s venting. That recipe looks great. Wait, how long have you been on here?
Social media takes opportunities for sales and networking to a new level. However, there are a few common pitfalls that can limit your effectiveness. Being aware and avoiding these three common mistakes puts social media in its proper place in the scheme of your strategy.
1. Too Much Time
One of the biggest oversights is spending too much time on social networking. Salespeople learn to think about return on investment, but the fact is that social media doesn’t offer much return.
The diminishing returns come from the distraction of other things you see along the way. When you log-in to Facebook or LinkedIn, you don’t go into tunnel vision and only see clients and articles related to your product. Along the way, you’ll notice articles about cooking, sports, and other topics that don’t pertain to networking. Yet, they draw your attention so you spend valuable time on them.
It’s rare that you’ll actually see a post on social media by someone looking for your product. The amount of time you would need to spend watching a news feed for those opportunities to arise is not worthwhile. You’re better off trying to find someone to talk to.
Instead, spend your time making intentional posts. On LinkedIn, your goal is to remind your audience what you sell and what types of customers you sell to. Share something like, “Just signed up a company with 50 employees and we saved them 25%! That was fun!” Small comments like this support the goal of keeping your followers updated on what you do. Also, be deliberate with the phrasing of your job title. Your title on LinkedIn is just as important as the signature in your email.
2. Talking Politics
You probably have opinions on today’s hot political topics like the President or marriage equality or gun control. That’s fine, but don’t post about them. These politically divisive posts only alienate people who could possibly buy from you.
If you’re in a face-to-face sales scenario and a client brings up a controversial topic, you’re not going to stand up and disagree with him. Why? You want business and he’s a potential customer. There’s a time and place for voicing political viewpoints, but it’s never in your Facebook feed, especially if you’re friends with multiple customers.
A good rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t paint it on the side of your house, don’t put it on social media.
3. Follow the Right, Unfollow the Wrong
Follow your prospects of course, but what about all the others? If you’re addicted to social media, you have people in your newsfeed who help your day and others who hurt your day. There are certain people whose posts zap your energy. Unfollow anybody who’s not positive and keeps you going.
On the other hand, find people who motivate you and follow them. Plenty of people make positive, uplifting comments. Others post interesting information that can actually teach you something. Get educated in your newsfeed and be intentional about it.
So next time you venture online for a little networking (probably later today), track yourself. How much time will you invest? What messages will you communicate? Who do you follow? Be purposeful and start getting a better return on your investment.