How to Find Business Opportunities on LinkedIn and Twitter

How to Find Business Opportunities on LinkedIn and Twitter

A social media article

If there is one thing that really bugs me about some of my fellow social media specialists its the smoke and mirrors that they so often give out to entice people to pay for a course or to sign up for coaching on social media.

They talk about how amazing social media is, how rife with opportunities but they don’t explain how or what those opportunities actually are.

But this is Edenchanges not those other folks so let me share some specifics about the opportunities that are out there.

Because you see it is true that there is a pot of gold at the end of the social media rainbow…sort of!

New Prospects – LinkedIn Tip

A new prospect is someone new that you might be able to sell to. The most focused way of identifying new prospects through social media is to use LinkedIn’s advanced search option for either people or companies.

With the Advanced People Search you can filter by job title, company name, location etc. This then generates a list of people who fit your profile of desired new clients.

With the Company Search you can also select ‘Headquarters Only’ if you want to rule out branches of companies. There are also a myriad of other settings you can tweak so you should be able to end up with a very exact list.

They aren’t actually new clients yet but a list of a hundred new prospects is a pretty strong step forward!

New clients – LinkedIn Tip and Twitter Tip

A new client is someone who wants to buy what you have to sell and yes you can directly find new clients on social media but there is a greater degree of luck in it than the searching for prospects tip that I mentioned above.

LinkedIn Tip

Join groups where your potential clients are likely to be. Then keep an active eye out for any discussions where someone asks for a recommendation to someone selling a product like yours.

And when I say ‘keep an eye out’ I mean actively check the status update emails from the group once a week or visit each of these potential client groups in person once a week. Sometimes the posts are a straight request and other times people will express frustration or irritation about something which you know your service or product would help with.

With a direct request for assistance I would do three things:

  1. Post a public comment that explains how you can help (because this shows any other readers that you supply this service / product which might prompt someone else to call you!)
  2. Send a private message to the poster to explain how you can help and saying you will be in touch 
  3. Phone the individual and develop the conversation into a sale!
I’ve personally used this technique several times and brought in new business from new clients as a result.

Twitter Tip

Much the same as above except first you Follow individuals that you are interested in doing business with and keep an eye on their twitter feed for similar requests for your product!

In that instance I’d tweet a reply and then phone the person.

As a real example of this recently someone I follow tweeted a comment about looking for a sales trainer to speak at a seminar he was running. I sent him a tweet and followed up with a call and within 48 hours the engagement was confirmed!

When to do all this

It would be remiss of me not to answer the question of ‘when’ to do all of the above. As anyone I have trained in sales will know I am a strong advocate of prior preparation.

I’d strongly recommend that you generate your list of potential clients outside of core business hours, have the data entered into whatever sales system you use and then contact them over the following days/weeks as suits your schedule and urgency level.

With regards to checking the group discussions and twitter that’s best done once a day or every other day. In sales it’s usually best to be first so I would recommend keeping a regular watch.

Summary

As a side benefit of the above activity you are going to pick up a lot of other information by reading through the discussions and twitter streams which could also have potential business benefits.

And I know that I’m going to be running the risk of sounding like those other social media specialists when I say this but there are lots of other things you can do to create opportunities however the above are key activities and if you aren’t doing them yet then I’d start with those.

Until next time; 

Stephen Hart

Related Posts

How to Land a Job Using Social Media (economicpolicyjournal.com)

The Black Hole of Social Media (edenchanges.wordpress.com)

How to express yourself on LinkedIn (edenchanges.wordpress.com)

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Five ways to demonstrate good character on LinkedIn

Five Ways to Demonstrate Good Character on LinkedIn

Every item you post on LinkedIn, or indeed any social media site, it illustrates something about you. If you post something extreme clearly that sends an extreme message but I’m not thinking of those moments.

Every time you respond to a discussion on LinkedIn, every private message and every line on your profile says something to your audience. From attention to detail to whether you are a decent person people will make assumptions and draw conclusions.

(Which as an aside makes blogging, especially daily, a rather risky endeavour!)

So if people are going to draw conclusions about you, which they will, how can we help them draw the right conclusions?

And by right I am assuming here that you are actually a decent and helpful person and want to display that. (After all if you weren’t that type of person you probably wouldn’t be bothered to read this would you!)

Here are a few actions you can take to appear helpful, knowledgeable and generally as a decent person.

Comment on Lonely Discussions

When I say ‘lonely’ I mean those discussions that haven’t been commented on. For whatever reason a lot of the time discussions on LinkedIn get overlooked and ignored. Sometimes those discussions are quite promising but posted by people who aren’t well known in the group. Give them a hand. Take a few moments to consider your view on the topic and post a reply.

Comment on Status Updates

I know that people post status updates as a means of marketing (and there is nothing wrong with that) but sometimes they contain news or items that could be commented on. For example it is very positive to congratulate someone on a business win or a personal success item.

Point Out Errors

It is very easy to post something and make a spelling error. When I come across these I, time permitting,  will send a note to the poster pointing out their error. Most recently someone had posted what was clearly quite an important update but the web-link wouldn’t open. I sent them a note, they sorted out their website and were very grateful for me pointing it out. I didn’t do it for the thanks I did it because it seemed the decent thing to do.

Don’t argue – mediate and agree to differ

There are over 130 million registered users on LinkedIn; which means there are over 130 million different views on business and life to be found on LinkedIn! When discussing matters I would suggest that the person who declines to argue, past a certain point, but rather agrees to differ will be looked upon in a better light than a hard line individual who demands people agree with them.

Also sometimes people are clearly getting victimised or bullied in discussions and it might be that you want to step in and provide a counter balance to the discussion to help them.

By replying privately to individuals during discussions you can express more firm views privately if you feel that is necessary. Not everything should be said in public. I’m not suggesting duplicity rather diplomacy.

Share Profiles

As I sit here and type this blog I have over 1800 first tier contacts on LinkedIn. This gives me 17.3 million 3rd tier connections – which is quite a lot! As I perform my various functions on LinkedIn I periodically come across people who I know members of my network will potentially be interested in. Consequently I’m very happy to forward relevant profiles to member of my network. Again I’m not looking for anything back by doing this I just see it as being helpful. 

For me this goes to the heart of true networking – introducing people who might be able to help each other. The face to face networking group that many of you will have heard of the BNI have a saying “Givers Gain” and whilst I don’t do the BNI any more I have taken their saying to heart when it comes to social media.

FYI – The Share button can be found directly under the top part of a person’s profile.

SUMMARY

Hopefully those five tips will give you some ideas around how you can demonstrate your positive character during your LinkedIn activities. It’s not about being a saint and policing profiles and discussions but rather taking a moment or two now and again to help people. Done consistently that will demonstrate the character you want.

Until next time;

Stephen


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Let’s take a social media test drive

Let’s take a social media test drive

It seems like hardly a week goes by without a new social media service or website in the headlines. Whether it’s a whole new service or simply a new feature – such as the timeline feature in Facebook.

Now whether or not those new features or services are useful to you or potentially profitable to your business is a good question but it isn’t the focus of this blog.

Today I’d like to offer some thoughts for when you do want to try out the new options – taking these new features out for a test drive if you will.

So what’s the best way to go about it without bashing the fender or stalling at the intersection?

Step One – Read Autotrader (sort of)

Let’s say you’ve heard of a new site that sounds interesting I’d suggest that you go online to your favourite search engine and run a search for

“[Name of site] review”

And read some of the reviews that come up. Reviews are a great starting point for a new service as they will compare the new site with previous ones – some of which you might have heard about – as well as giving you an indication of whether the site is any good or not.

It has been my experience that technology reviewers will be quite critical when reviewing new sites or services often for very small points that your average user won’t be bothered by so do take their reviews with a pinch of salt.

The best part about the reviews is that they should give you a good overview of the service, what it’s supposed to do and how well it does it.

I know that a lot of the time new social media things come up and people rave about them and new people hearing about the sites for the first time are often left thinking ‘err yes it sounds great but what does it do?’. Reviews can really help answer that question!

Step Two – Get into the car

Go to the site itself and set up your account. Now whatever it says on the site about the service I’d be very sceptical about. Just because it says it’s the greatest social media service ever doesn’t mean it is. After all it’s not as if they are going to say ‘we’re a bit rubbish but we are trying’!

It’s good practice to have a separate email account that you use to register with new websites. This way you can control any future junk mail that might come your way.

If the service turns out to be fantastic then you should be able to change your primary email address on the site at a later stage to something more convenient.

If I was buying a car then at this stage I wouldn’t be giving the dealer too many personal details and in the same way I would rather register with a new social media site individually rather than via any of my other accounts.

In other words it might offer to log you in or register you via say your Twitter or Facebook accounts. I’d decline that invitation in the first instance and register as a standalone new user.

Why? Because I don’t know the new site well enough to trust it yet!

Step Three – The test drive itself

I perhaps should have said prior to this that you need to have booked out enough time to test drive any new site or service thoroughly. Like trying out a new car it takes a little time and you don’t want to be rushed.

I’m old enough to remember the sound the old ZX Spectrum home computer used to make when you installed a new program. You had to wait as the cassette turned and the computer uploaded the data – and for those who haven’t had that experience it took a lot longer than windows turning on does…believe it or not!

Anyway that experience taught me to be patient with new software and set ups. You need to have the same patience with a new social media site.

Go through the registration process carefully, be aware that you often need access to your email to verify the account so make sure you can access it from where you are setting up the new site.

And then literally have a browse around the site or service, upload or publish something as a test. Let’s say you are joining a new site such as Pinterest. Well go around and find something that looks slightly interesting and pin it. See what happens.

The great thing with social media is that we are all learners. (Okay there are a few experts out there but the learners outnumber them a million to one!) People are generally very forgiving if you make a mistake or do something as a test.

Better to press all the buttons, wind down all the windows and pop the hood and poke around than just sit there and hold the wheel.

Most things you can do on social media sites you can undo and if somehow you make an absolute hash of things you could always delete your account!

It takes time to get used to a new car (it was my son who discovered the rear interior lights in mine some four months after I bought it!) and it takes some time to learn all the specifics of new websites.

For example if you are able to set up a profile on the new site I’d throw up a basic one and then return later to enhance it. I’d keep doing this over time so that your profile evolves as your knowledge of the site evolves.

One thing that can make that faster is if you have a standard profile photo that you use online and possibly a standard personal description. This is also good from a personal branding perspective as it creates consistency.

Step Four – To purchase or not

There isn’t always a step four in the sense of having to pay for something. Some free services provide optional extras or premium accounts and being a careful soul when it comes to my monies I really want to be sure I need to upgrade before I do so.

Really consider if you will use the extra features and only then part with your money.

Where you don’t have to pay for the site or service still take some time to review whether it is adding value to your life or your business. Or if that sounds too serious simply ask yourself “is it fun?”

Summary

Some social media sites can add real value to your life and/or business and others will simply not be right for you. It’s fine to test them out then return them to the showroom if they don’t suit you!

Until next time; happy driving!

Stephen

The photograph is from the extremely talented http://poorsouls-stock.deviantart.com/ and used with permission (some of her photographs are for mature viewers only and probably not appropriate to view at work)

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The Social Media Elephant in the Boardroom

The Social Media Elephant in the Boardroom

There is an elephant in the boardroom when it comes to using social media successfully. Everyone knows it’s there but few people mention it and even fewer people work to resolve it.

So let’s name this elephant, address it and identify ways to remove it…

The greatest challenge to using social media successfully for business is time.

Every tweet, every LinkedIn discussion response, every blog article (especially every blog article) takes time. And let’s face it, it wasn’t as if prior to the advent of social media executives were sitting around saying “gosh I have loads of free time I wish I had something else to fill my day with!”

Not at all!

Executives five years ago were busy rushing around doing their jobs. All social media has done is create more things to do! Now I accept that it has also made some aspects of work faster and technology today enables us to manage our work communications and relationships in a more flexible way but that would be ignoring the elephant in the board room again.

Whilst we have more options we also have more that is expected of us. A business to business sales professional in 2012 should have a LinkedIn presence and actively use the site as well as doing all the traditional sales activities. So more flexibility and more options true but yet more time required to fulfil all those options!

So now we have named the elephant what can be done to banish it?

Have a strategy

Before spending any time on social media consider what your strategy is. Who are you trying to get the attention of, where are they realistically likely to be in the social media world and indeed is social media the best way to reach them?

Work to a schedule

On a daily basis work to a schedule for your social media activities. Only go on LinkedIn when you plan to do so, only research through Facebook at a set time etc. You do not have to be permanently plugged in – this isn’t the Matrix!

Get in, get out

It’s been my experience that people can often start a schedule of activity on time but finishing on time is a different matter entirely. When you are online and doing something related to social media then when you are done get out! Shut down your browser and go to the next thing on your to do list and do that. Don’t browse around. Get in, get out!

Focus your efforts

Far better to invest an hour a day on social media activities to drive your business forward that are focused in only two or three areas than to spread the same time around on half a dozen locations. When you skip around it’s the equivalent of going to a face to face networking event and simply waving at everyone from the doorway before turning around and leaving again. It won’t get you much attention and it’s not likely to win you much business. Better to go into the room and engage in deeper, longer interactions.

Until next time;

Stephen

Motivational Monday #8 A Person of Value

Motivational Monday #7

A Person of Value

Try not to become a person of success but rather try to become a person of value. 

Albert Einstein

I’m pretty confident that the message here is not ‘don’t be successful’ but rather that success comes from being a person of value and as a consequence your focus should be on value first.
We all have values and we all act upon those values whether consciously or unconsciously. It can pay great personal returns to consider what your values are and consider how you demonstrate them more clearly through your words and actions.
I also truly believe that in business if you constantly provide the best value you can to your customers – whether they are internal customers in the form of colleagues or external customers you will be more successful.
Last week on Edenchanges the theme for the week was ACTION and whether as a result of that or simply as a coincidence we received more hits on the blog than during any week in our three year history!
I hope that this week’s theme of VALUES will be equally popular. And the line-up for this week is as follows
  • Tuesday will discuss the perception of your value as demonstrated via your social media activity
  • Wednesday will focus on three ways you can add value to your customers when you sell to them
  • Thursday will present three management actions relating to values
  • Friday will round out the week with a powerful personal development exercise designed to help you identify those values most important to you!
So have a great week and enjoy the blogs!
Stephen Hart
 
 


How to get something useful out of Twitter

How to Get Something Useful Out of Twitter

This is the second Edenchanges blog in the Edenchanges week of blogging with an action theme.

You might also enjoy Motivational Monday #7 The Cutting Edge


The BBC social media editor Chris Hamilton said on Newswatch on 18 February 2012 that Twitter performed three functions for his journalists and the BBC:

  1. A means of reaching individuals the BBC might not otherwise reach,
  2. A a method of research; and
  3. A a way to engage their audience in conversation

Now he is correct in everything he says but I know that most people new to Twitter struggle to identify how to do those things and it seems something of a dark art! My suggestion is start with the easiest one…research…

I am going to assume here that you have set up a twitter account but are fairly new to it and possibly haven’t seen much benefit. The good news is that using it for research is very easy. Let me illustrate how you can do it by walking you through a real example.

STEP BY STEP GUIDE

I’m a big fan of Radio 4 and I particularly like the Today program. I’ve listened for years and the presenters are people I have come to feel I know and like. So let’s say I want to keep track of what they have to say via Twitter.

In the first instance I simply run a Google Search and put in “Radio 4 today twitter” – yes I could have run the search through Twitter itself but I wanted to show how to do it using basic principles and more people are familiar with searching via google than Twitter!

Anyway what came up was a page on the Radio Four blog which mentioned being able to follow them on Twitter – see picture below

When I clicked on the BBC Radio 4 link it took me to the BBC Radio 4 twitter main page as you can see below.

A few points of interest – to follow BBC Radio 4 you simply click the Follow button – marked in red

When you follow someone on Twitter all their updates come through to your twitter feed.

Before you decide to follow someone however, I would suggest that you have a flick through their most recent tweets to see if they tweet the type of information you will find interesting or entertaining (depending on what you are looking for).

(Note it doesn’t say LIST OF RECENT TWEETS BELOW when you view Twitter – I added that to show you where to look in case you didn’t already know)

In the case of the BBC Radio 4 tweets, whilst I love Radio 4, the tweets simply appear to link to shows that are being broadcast. A schedule of programs doesn’t interest me so I have no interest in following at this stage.

However two things look interesting on the page: under Similar to BBC Radio 4 on the left of the screen I see the name of Harriet Cass – who is a news reader on the Today program. So I can call up her twitter account and see if her tweets look interesting. If they do then I could follow her.

The other thing that looks promising is that when I scroll down through the tweets from BBC Radio 4 I see that another individual Zeb Soanes has a tweet that has appeared in the tweet feed (i.e. listings of tweets) see the circled entry…

and he is mentioning another twitter account that looks like it might be James Naughtie one of the journalists from the Today program (name underlined in red).

When I click on it I am taken to the account and it is indeed James Naughtie. He appears new to twitter having only 25 tweets. I like him on the radio and his tweets, whilst not outstanding at this point, look interesting enough to click on Follow.

I will now receive a copy of any tweets that he posts into my twitter feed. Job done!

(As an aside, if I want to, I can also look at who is following him and who he is following – this can be a great way to find new people to follow based on the thought that good people will follow good people!)

So how does this equate to research?

Well I’ve chosen to follow James as my hope is he will post some personal comments and thoughts on news items and world events. (If he doesn’t I’ll probably unfollow him, which I can do at the click of a button.)

If he does however I will have free access to the opinions and thoughts of a respected and experienced journalist.

Now if we focus in on practical research that might help your career then simply consider, for yourself, from whom would you like to learn? Consider your field of professionalism, who are the well-known individuals, trainers or speakers? If you don’t know then google your industry + speaker or check your industry trade publications.

A lot of senior individuals, especially those in the public eye, are on Twitter providing free information to their followers.  This is how you can immediately start to get some value from twitter. By following credible individuals and reading their tweets. In essence listening to their wisdom!

Now you can also reply and get into a discussion over their tweets; but at it’s easiest just receiving their tweets, reading them and following any links they share. It’s a free education!

Let me throw in one word of caution before I present you with a call to action – don’t expect a constant flood of brilliance. Many tweets are mundane but the brilliance of twitter is that the tweets are so short you can browse them quickly. Follow the right people and I guarantee there will be diamonds amongst the common coal!

Call to Action

The theme of the blogs this week is action so now having read the above let me throw out the challenge of finding and following five industry specialists in your field. Read their tweets for two weeks and see what you have learned.

And on that note I’m off to find five new people to follow.

Oh and if you’d like to follow edenchanges you can find us at @edenchanges

Until next time; happy following!

Stephen Hart

Corporate trainer and consultant

07733 88 11 90

stephen.hart@edenchanges.com

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Motivational Monday #7 The Cutting Edge

Motivational Monday #7

The Cutting Edge…

The hand is the cutting edge of the mind.

Jacob Bronowski, Scientist

It’s good to plan, good to strategise and good to look at the long game. But every plan whether long-term or short-term comes to nothing and counts for nothing unless it is applied. Only then does the brilliance of the plan unfold. Only then do the benefits of all that foresight and consideration bear fruit.

So for today, and the rest of this week, take action. Bold, brave and uncompromising action that will bring you closer to success!
Quite often I get into discussions with my clients about how to avoid procrastination. I respect that you might be on the one hand nodding over taking action and on the other hand asking yourself ‘what first’?
Let’s keep it simple – think of something you need to do, whether in your business or personal life, got something? Great.  Now do it …or at least take the first step – even if that is simply putting the event or task in your diary. Do something relating to the task that came to mind.
I know you will have other things that you’d like to do and you can do them next but right now action something relating to the first thought you had.
To help you have a week of action each day this week the EDENCHANGES blog will focus on exactly that – action!
  • Tuesday will detail how to get something useful from Twitter!
  • Wednesday will focus on four sales actions every small business owner should seriously consider taking
  • Thursday will present five powerful management acts
  • Friday will round out the week with six personal development actions to uplift your life!
So here’s to us all having an action packed week!
Stephen Hart

Corporate coach and consultant

07733 88 11 90

stephen.hart@edenchanges.com