Sales and marketing efforts today are so much dependent on social-media web that it is difficult to comprehend how business was done twenty years ago. We now have umpteen opportunities to peep into our prospects’ lives to know about their interests and also track our competitors’ activities to see how they are engaging in emerging markets, thanks to social media.

With in-depth knowledge of events influencing buyers’ and prospects’ buying and investment decisions, we can position ourselves more effectively in the market to attract new business and schedule our communications more appropriately to enhance engagement. Same holds true for our competitive landscape as well. We can use social media to track our competitors’ activities and know what kind of content they are sharing on their networks, with which prospects they are engaging the most, and the like.

All this information, when resourced strategically and used judiciously, can lead to enjoying customers’ loyalty longer, winning new clients, having an edge over the competitors, and ultimately acing better, bigger deals. Let’s see how you can make the most of social-media channels to build rewarding relationships with prospects and stay ahead of competitors:

Relationship-building with prospects:

Chances are if you are making a random retweet on Twitter, a casual Facebook post, or only establishing LinkedIn connections in the name of social-media strategy, you are only improving your number of followers without building fruitful relationships. On social-media channels, sharing informative content is not enough; interactive, multiple contact points are essential to secure the prospect’s top-of-mind space.

As per a study done by Convince and Convert, 53% of Americans who follow brands online are more loyal to them. And, that loyalty comes from continuous and targeted interactive efforts.

Keep in mind what sales expert, Joanne Black tells: ‘The goal of social media is not to sell but to begin conversations and ultimately build relationships. Hopefully many of these relationships will yield sales or referrals.  Don’t make sales pitches – you will not attract clients but only annoy people’.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn is one of the most lucrative social-media channels for spotting and connecting with industry-specific clients. Whenever you make a new contact in person or via phone or Email, it’s a good idea to connect with that person on LinkedIn with a personal note. For this, make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date, whilst giving a clear picture on how your services or products can be beneficial for a defined set of people. If you feel the person is an immediate prospect, start a conversation with him over a bonding message. 

According to InboundMarketingAgents, 1 in every 3 professionals in the world has a LinkedIn. It is a king of B2B marketing with 80.33% of online B2B leads generated through it.

Twitter: Other social-media channel crucial to fostering healthy relationship with clients is Twitter. If your current and prospective clients are active on Twitter, put them into a private list. By closely monitoring what they are saying and doing, you will get to know what kind of content marketing you should perform. Be intentional in your social-marketing efforts by tweeting only that content which is relevant to your audience and that will help you establish as a thought leader in your industry.

According to Mediabistro, 64% of Twitter users are more likely to buy from the brands they follow. 12.73% of online B2B leads are generated through Twitter.

Facebook: Although Facebook is not as professional a channel as LinkedIn and Twitter, but its reach and penetration makes it indispensable for social-media marketing. Connect with your clients and prospects via your Facebook profile but make sure to befriend only the ones who you know well at personal level. You can then ask them to like your business page, while also giving them a value in return of their like by not only posting helpful and informative content but also answering their queries.

According to HubSpot, 77% of B2C companies and 43% of B2B companies have acquired customers from Facebook. 6.73% of online B2B leads are generated through Facebook.

Creating competitive advantage:

In the highly competitive world today, wherein your competitors have not only set their eyes on your prospects but also your customers, you need to have a diligent and systematic competitive intelligence. In addition to following social-media channels that you should use in order to track your competitors, you should also create customized Email notifications for never missing on your competitors’ names appearing in blog posts, press releases, video descriptions, latest events, and the like

LinkedIn: To see if any of your competitors is in your customer’s or prospect’s network, you need to be in the first degree connection of your prospective or current client. You can search for your competitors’ names as well as keywords specific to your industry. You should also monitor your competitor’s company page on LinkedIn and see which users are interacting with them to know who their current or prospective clients are. You can also view your competitors’ LinkedIn profiles but be cautious to not to unveil your identity.

According to Oktopost, LinkedIn drives more traffic to corporate websites and blogs than any other social network, thereby leading to most audience interaction for business purposes.

Twitter: Twitter monitoring is very easy as everything here is public. However, if you continually wish to be well-informed to what your competitors are up to, you need to follow them on Twitter which will send them a notification regarding this. To save yourself from this situation, you can use Lists feature in Twitter which will allow you to follow all public conversations of your competitors without them ever getting to know about it.

As per SproutSocial, Twitter engagement for brands is 17% higher on weekends – the time you should closely watch your competitors.

Facebook: Facebook’s ‘pages to watch’ feature on a fan page is the handiest tool to track competitors’ activities. It will allow you to add such Facebook pages whose activity, audience growth, and engagement you want to compare to your own. Assess the kind of content along with time and frequency they are posting on their respective pages – and the corresponding engagement.
Another stealth-monitoring mode on Facebook is adding your competitors’ pages in an interest list. You can add several pages into a list and after naming it, select ‘only me’ under ‘who can see this list’ option to make it private.


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