Why Social Prospecting Can’t Just Be a One-and-Done Fix

Learn why social prospecting should be a part of your sales routine—and how LinkedIn can help you to avoid common pitfalls.

October 12, 2016

  • One-and-Done-Fix

Though it may just sound like one more term you need to memorize, social prospecting is vitally important: it’s a modern way of qualifying leads that can pay great dividends—if you’re fully committed. Of course, that’s where things get complicated.

Social prospecting should be an important component of your selling efforts, but it will only garner results if you approach it in the right way. It has to be more than an afterthought, but try too hard and you risk coming across as spammy or annoying. With the right insights from LinkedIn, you can achieve the perfect balance.

What is Social Prospecting?

At its core, social prospecting is exactly what it sounds like: the process of using social channels—such as LinkedIn and Twitter—to qualify leads and create opportunities. Social prospecting is an integral component of social selling, but while many sales reps have chosen to make social selling a priority, only a minority have a fully developed social prospecting strategy.

“Social prospecting is the art of listening to people, not mentions or keywords,” writes Maggie Hibma for HubSpot. “It’s about scouring the social web, identifying potential prospects, and engaging them through content to get them to your site and move them through your funnel.” Social prospecting is potentially revolutionary—but only when you get the details right.

Why You Should Commit To It

One of the most common mistakes made by salespeople who are new to social prospecting is simply that they don’t make it a part of their daily routine. As with any new habit, seeking out leads online requires commitment, and you won’t see results unless you make it an ingrained part of your work life.

Many sales reps dismiss social engagement because they don’t see immediate results. However, if you’re willing to invest the time and energy, social prospecting will reward you in the long run. You’ll find more prospects, but it’s not just about quantity—the prospects will also be more qualified and primed to buy.

Why That Commitment Isn’t Enough

Writing about his many embarrassing attempts at prospecting for LinkedIn, Paul Visser notes that “the Internet never forgets.” That’s an important lesson for even the savviest of social sales reps. With sales prospecting, as with any form of online interaction, remember that your mistakes are permanent, and the wrong approach can backfire. All too often, salespeople reach out to prospects on social platforms in a way that immediately reads as spam.

How can you avoid that common fate? The key is to always focus on adding value to your clients. Every element of your professional brand, from your LinkedIn profile to the posts and articles you share, should show prospects that you’re a reliable resource who knows the territory. You can also use social insights from LinkedIn, such as prospects’ profiles and posts, to become a trustworthy partner. Once you shift your attention from selling to highlighting your value, results will follow naturally.

Social prospecting isn’t complicated, but as with all aspects of sales, there’s a right approach and a wrong one. That said, if you incorporate it into your routine and provide a clear benefit to your leads, you’ll be way ahead of the pack.

For more great tips on social prospecting and selling, download our Sales Prospecting Toolkit today.