Are You Missing This Big Opportunity in Social Media?

Chris Brogan wrote a really interesting post the other day that has a lot of implications for how direct sellers do business online.  He related the experience of shopping for a car, and talked about how he had posted a disgruntled message about the process.  Shortly thereafter someone reached out to him, offering to help him find exactly what he was looking for.  Chris wound up making a purchase.

But what I found so interesting is the main reason Chris shared this…the guy was LISTENING.  And I think there’s a HUGE opportunity for us as direct sellers right now in this same area.  There are so few direct sellers who are actually listening, and that gives you a huge competitive advantage.  If you’re simply thinking about your social media presence in terms of what you put out, you’re missing a big opportunity.  Because social media is about more than talking.  It’s about finding out what people need, and then meeting those needs.

So how do you become an effective listener in social media?

  1. Set up friend lists that contain your best prospects.  Spend time each day paying attention to their conversatons.
  2. If you use Twitter, search on keywords related to what you have to offer.  In Chris Brogan’s case, the gentleman searched on “Car” most likely.
  3. Use a tool like Social Mention to track conversations in other online tools.  You need to have a clear idea of what your keywords are, and then you can find people using them.

So how do you come up with your own list of keywords?  Well, you first need to decide what you’re looking for.  Do you want to offer your product line?  The opportunity?  Then, think about what someone might tpe in if they have a need for what you offer.  It might be phrases such as “need more money,” or “what to wear.”  If you are searching on phrases, be sure to include them in quotation marks, so you’re only notified of the times those words are used together.  It might also be words such as “jewelry” or “cooking.”  (Keep in mind that the more generic your phrase is, the more results you’ll have to sort through.)  Make a list of your keywords, and then you can plug them into search tools to help you be a more effective listener.

Once someone uses the keywords you’re looking for, take a look at the context of the conversation in which it’s used.  Does someone actually have a need?  Are they expressing frustration?  If so, send them a gentle message, offering help.  Something like, “I saw you mentioned you’re in a tough financial spot.  I may be able to help. Want more info?”  Leave the ball in their court to invite the sales message.  If they take you up on it, you have an opening in which to make your offer.

When you meet people at their point of need they often welcome your sales message.  Are you paying attention to what people are saying?

Image credit: Rick

2 Responses to Are You Missing This Big Opportunity in Social Media?
  1. Andy Richards
    August 24, 2010 | 2:48 pm

    I read the same article. I think the best part of this story is in the comments section. Chris had a positive experience and he talked about it. Now other people who may have never heard of Aaron (the car salesman). Judging by their comments several may be buying cars from him or at least telling their friends about him.

  2. Lori Sauerwein
    August 24, 2010 | 10:58 am

    Great post, Jen! Friend lists are a life saver for anyone using social media for business. And listening has always been the “secret” to success in direct selling. Thanks for posting this.

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