6 Ways to Use Social Media to Find New Prospects for Your Business

In a recent post, I discussed why I thought Facebook Groups were better than Pages for independent direct sellers.  I absolutely LOVED the comments (you all have so many great ideas!!!) , but there was one thing that I thought was curious…some of the comments seemed to indicate that without a Page, you couldn’t find new prospects in social media.  And nothing could be further from the truth.  While Groups ARE an opt-in level for your business (as in, people join your group after you’ve developed a relationship with them, and they have specifically decided they want more information about your business), there are many online tools at your disposal to meet new contacts, in order to find new prospects for your business.

So today I want to talk about ways you can meet new prospects in social media, without spending your entire life in front of the computer.  Keep in mind that you don’t need to do all of these.  Focus on those that will work best given your business and schedule:

Niche-Related Groups
Groups related to the problems your product or opportunity solve are fabulous for finding new prospects for your business (for example, a group dedicated to decorating, quick and easy recipes, or working from home.)  Keep in mind, however, that you must become a member of the community first.  That means investing the time getting to know people, sharing tips and advice that are free, and building relationships with people.  Once your new contacts in the group come to know, like, and trust you, you have the opportunity to invite them to join your group, or approach them privately with your products or opportunity.

Keyword Searches on Twitter
One of the greatest things about Twitter is the way it enables you to find new people who may be interested in what you have to offer.  You can search the entire Twitter conversation stream in real time, and be notified whenever specific keywords are used.  To get started, first define the keywords that your prospects might use.  For example, if your goal is recruiting, they might use keywords such as “unemployed” or “work at home.”  Then, go to http://search.twitter.com, or use a Twitter client such as HootSuite or TweetDeck and create search columns, and search for the keywords you’ve identified.  Once you see who is using those terms, you can follow and begin to converse with those folks.  Just be careful not to jump into your sales pitch immediately.  Remember, it’s about building relationships first.  Then you can share what you have to offer privately.

Conversations with Others
Another great way to connect with new people is simply to engage in conversations through your social networks.  Tools such as Facebook allow you to see when people you’re not connected with comment on the posts of your friends.  So engage in dialog on your friends’ posts, and see who you might want to connect with as well.  Now this does not give you license to stalk people.  But if you have a great conversation with someone, and want to get to know them better, send them a friend request with a message such as, “I had a great time talking to you through Suzie H’s post.  Would love to connect on Facebook and get to know you better.”  Then, build a relationship with that person, listen, and when appropriate, share what you have to offer.

Blogging (with Lead Collection)
Blogging is one of my favorite ways to connect with new people, and build a list.  Once you have identified the content that your target market is looking for (remember, we meet them at their point of need and provide content they’re searching for that they can use right now without spending a dime), you can begin to write posts that provide a tremendous amount of value.  If people like your blog, there’s a good chance they’ll subscribe to it, and share it with their friends.  Be absolutely sure that you have a way for people to sign up for a newsletter on your blog, or have some other reason for them to give you their contact info (ebook download, etc.)  Once people sign up for your list, then you have the opportunity to market to them more directly.

Neighbors Online
Let’s not forget that people you meet in real life are also excellent prospects for your business, and social media is an excellent way to help develop those relationships.  I like to tell the story about how when my family and I joined a new church congregation, we didn’t really know too many people there.  It was hard to get to know folks in the 10 minutes during coffee hour after the service.  However one of the congregation members invited me to become a friend on Facebook, and pretty soon I was connected with many folks there.  Suddenly, we had a great opportunity to get to know people and feel more included.  We also had more to talk about on Sundays.  Now think about how you could develop relationships with people you see only at the bus stop, or the ball game, or wherever else you run into people locally.  How could connecting with people on your social networks enable you to get to know them better, and give you the opportunity to share your business?

Yahoo! and Google Local
Don’t forget local search engines as a way to help people find you as well.  When people are specifically searching for your company, or the type of product that you offer, local search engines are a fantastic way to be found.  (And that also goes for your local chamber of commerce website as well.)  Find the places that local businesses are being advertised online, and be a part of it!  So many people go online first to find what they need these days, that it really pays to make sure you can be found.

Social media is an excellent tool to help your business get found by the people that need what you have to offer.  Of course, it’s most important that you take the time to develop relationships first.  Then you can invite people to join your opt-in community (be that a Group, a newsletter, etc.) so you can provide more specific marketing messages for your business.

How do you find new prospects for your business using social media?  Would love to read your thoughts in the comments!

13 Responses to 6 Ways to Use Social Media to Find New Prospects for Your Business
  1. Allan Neoh
    April 8, 2010 | 1:28 am

    This is an interesting read but I am finding the content common sense. Am I missing something? With technology, people have sculpted creations to just provide different levels of connection possibilities. All in all it just seems to be about finding the common interest and joining the birds of a feather. I am still trying to determine if this is evolutionary or revolutionary. Maybe I am clouded by marketing hype and can’t see clearly. I have a startup and am in a quandary as to whether social marketing has legs or it is just another means like many other means to reach the target market. What I would like to know is which demographics follows which avenue – that would be valuable to positioning and placement? I am just thinking placing bets on twitter without knowing the odds of winning just seems like shooting blind.

    • Jennifer Fong
      April 8, 2010 | 9:00 am

      Allan,
      You’re right…you need to do your research first before just jumping into tools blindly. You may find this article helpful as you make your plans: http://www.jenfongspeaks.com/how-to-avoid-the-dreaded-social-media-time-suck/ Social media is certainly not going away…studies have clearly illustrated its positive impact on revenue. But it must be used strategically to be effective.

      To your success!
      Jennifer

      • Allan Neoh
        April 15, 2010 | 1:24 am

        Jennifer:

        Thanks for responding. I like the blog you recommended. It is prescriptive and I can launch from there. I will try the different ideas and concepts to see how it goes. At this time, I am just crazy busy getting the company of the ground. I will chime back when all the startup activites are done. Thanks again.

        Appreciative and Humbled
        Allan

  2. Lori Nafie
    April 7, 2010 | 5:01 pm

    This is a great post. Question, though. When setting up a feed, for instance on HootSuite, with keywords such as “work at home,” how do you weed through all of the folks posting with their “work at home” solutions? I’m not seeing much in the way of people just talking about their current situations.

    • Jennifer Fong
      April 7, 2010 | 5:05 pm

      Great question! If you find a particular keyword gives you more “junk” than value, that I would find others that work better. One way to identify good keywords is through the Google Keyword Tool, which you can find at https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal. It will tell you how many times a particular term is searched on Google, and help you find related terms.

      Hope that helps!

      • Lori Nafie
        April 8, 2010 | 11:56 am

        That was so easy, I almost feel inept! Now I’ve generated a bunch of new meta tags for my website, too. ha! Thanks so much. I’d love to learn social media from the ground up. Any suggestions? My brain prefers logic, so I have to know how and why things work, instead of just “they work.” BTW – we met at Arbonne NTC, just before you spoke. You said I looked very familiar. So – either I have one of those faces (quite possibly), or it was a brilliant conversation starter on your part. I’ve vowed to use it myself. 🙂

        • Jennifer Fong
          April 8, 2010 | 1:49 pm

          Hi there Lori! Glad the content was helpful. Have you taken advantage of the free Social Media 101 call I offer (just mouse over the Training 101 link on the site to access it)? I also have step-by-step training for Facebook that you may find helpful. And you did look familiar! I’m not forward-thinking enough to come up with witty conversation starters ahead of time. LOL

          • Lori Nafie
            April 8, 2010 | 2:42 pm

            I have not done the Social Media 101 call, but I definitely will. Thanks!!

  3. Harriette Jasper
    April 7, 2010 | 12:25 pm

    I completely agree Jennifer! I have gotten leads from current facebook friends as well as twitter and my blog. The best story is of the potential host/team member I met while waiting in line at the movies. I didn’t realize she only gave me her email address until I got home but she mentioned she was on facebook and that I should ‘friend’ her. I emailed several times with no response from her, but she accepted me as a friend right away. After about a week of commenting on each others posts we opened a chat window in facebook and she gave me her phone number which led to her hosting an event. I firmly believe that she considered me a stranger initially and after ‘getting to know me’ on FB she felt comfortable letting me into her inner circle!

    • Jennifer Fong
      April 7, 2010 | 1:11 pm

      That’s a great story Harriette! Facebook can certainly help us facilitate face to face relationships. I love how you converted “just an email” to hostess. Well done!

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