April 17, 2013, Issue #23
Social Media Marketing: The Next Generation of Business development
Social media has resolved a problem that has challenged marketers and sales professionals for years - the availability of accurate named profiles of people. The internet has always prided itself on being democratic and offering anonymity. On the internet anyone can assume a name or id and become someone else. There has never been a need to be oneself. Facebook resolved this by bringing in friends and relatives and taking off the cloak of anonymity. Suddenly we see millions of people with their true name, location, status offering themselves for contact on social media. LinkedIn has done the same for professionals. To recruit or connect with a potential buyer, look them up on LinkedIn and chances are that you will have an accurate profile of the person.
Social media is in its infancy and is already becoming a serious tool and platform for business development. For B2B marketers and sales professionals, LinkedIn is a boon as it enables the lookup of specific people in target organisations and ways to connect with them. No longer does one have to do business development with out-dated lists. People maintain their LinkedIn profiles with religious zeal and moves between jobs and roles are documented quickly and accurately. It is therefore easy for a business development team to lookup people that they would like to contact for new business on social media and get a detailed profile of who they are addressing.
Groups and discussions on social media are other ways to generate new leads and potential business. There are groups on almost every specific area of interest and these discussions are lively and often have the participation of a large number of people. These discussions allow sales professionals to participate and join the conversation. Through the conversation, good sales and marketing professionals can make a mark with their comments and insights and become known to other participants of the discussion. When these discussions are on social media, the profile of the participants is known and a good sales person will be able to elicit response from the participants and lead them into contact for potential business.
As automation becomes more sophisticated and social media platforms offer more features and tools to mine data, business development will grow further on social media. Events and conferences will integrate with social media to become more effective and offer more continuous engagement. More contact, lead generation and business development will find its way through social media with the initial exchange of introductions and proposals paving the way for meetings that facilitate decisions and contracts.
Social media is increasingly become the principal method to make contact and generate leads for business. With privacy becoming stronger and people having greater ability to block contact over telephone, mobile and email, social media is the next generation for business development.