Social media impacts our lives a little bit more every day. Time spent on mobile web browsing has more than doubled over the past 2 years, and it is projected to increase another 50% over the next 4 years. A large percentage of that time is spent on social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, just to name a few. Below are statistics from the most recent study by McKinsey on the implementation of social media tools in business.

How can sales professionals make the most of social media in their selling efforts?

  1. Develop a Plan
    Setting up an account on Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other social site is not a plan; it is a first step. The first choice you need to make is which mediums to concentrate on. The easy way to decide is to answer the question, "Where do your target customers spend their time?" Pick two mediums that are most used by your potential customers and allocate adequate time each week to really work on your plan - no less than 2 hours per week is suggested.
  2. Get Involved
    One part of developing your social selling plan is to decide what you will actually do to maximize your time each week. Minimally you should join appropriate groups and get involved in discussions. If all you do is join a group and post your own personal commercial each week, don't expect to see results. It takes time to build credibility by contributing insightful comments and adding value through what you contribute to the group. This also applies to anything business-related you post on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or any other site. Before you post anything always ask yourself, "Why would anyone care?"
  3. Include a Blog Strategy
    Blogging is one of the most effective means of expanding your influence and reach through social media. Writing a blog that has interest to your targeted prospects and customers can build credibility and generate interest in your professional capability. It is very easy to create a blog through WordPress or any number of blog hosting sites, and it is also very easy to publicize your blog through social outlets. Here is the catch - once you start, you must make sure you maintain a regular discipline. It takes time, consistent use of good content, and patience to establish a reader base, but it is well worth the effort.

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