Some social media sites are better for lead generation than others. LinkedIn and Facebook are the best places to start when it comes to cultivating potential business relationships.
What I like best about LinkedIn is that everyone is there for the same reasons: to find jobs, recruit for jobs and partner on projects. LinkedIn users are a fairly sophisticated bunch with a high percentage of business executives. Decision makers and people with influence should be your target demographic.
LinkedIn Success Tips
You probably already have professional profile on LinkedIn. Now is the time to update it. Start with a general description of the services you plan to offer and the niches you intend to serve. You can go back and fine tune it later.
Join a few groups in your target markets. Introduce yourself around and start participating in conversations where you can add value, or use your expertise to start discussions of your own.
Connections are golden. Make as many as you can but don’t be too aggressive about asking for business. Get to know them first. Ask how you can help people get what they want before asking for business or referrals.
Facebook can be a little trickier for business networking because it truly is a social site. But one thing you can do (especially if you already have an active personal page) is set up a page for your business. Although setting up a business page can be fairly straightforward you might want to pay someone a few dollars to do this for you.
Once your business page is set up you can start inviting some of your existing fans to join you over there. The hardest part will be keeping your personal life separate from your business profile. There’s a fine line between letting business acquaintances know you’re a real person and sharing party pictures with people you hope to do business with in the future.
Facebook Success Tips:
Personal pages are for friends and family. Business pages are for business networking.
Don’t get bogged down in the setup details. Whenever you can hire someone cheaper than yourself to do the work, do it.
Keep your eyes open for interesting and relevant topics to post about.
When using Facebook for business, consistency is key. Post regularly and respond promptly to keep the conversations going.
Two “Soft Sell” Approaches to Getting Clients
“I’m new at this.” Everyone has to start somewhere. Rather than pretending you have lots of clients, why not just come right out and say you’re just getting started? Some people will want to take advantage of a good deal. Others will genuinely want to help by referring others or throwing some business your way.
“Do you know anyone who…” When I was a corporate recruiter this was my favorite approach. I would call my ideal prospect ask if he knew anyone who fit this (job) profile. Even when my pitch was transparent it would often start a lighthearted conversation, which would either lead to a referral or a serious career discussion.
Social media works – if you know how to use it wisely.