The role of social media in business development is often the elephant in the room. The reason in my opinion, is because people don’t know how to use it to their advantage. As is often the case in life, if we don’t understand something fully we shy away from it.
When I say social, in this case I’m mainly talking about LinkedIn and Twitter. Like with all social networks, it is up to you how often you use them. No one is forcing you. You don’t have to be hugely active to find out the information you may need either.
LinkedIn will give you information about their professional life, current and past employment, what the role entails, and their skills. Obviously this all depends on each individual security set up, but even if it is just putting a face to a name it all helps.
Creating a profile of the person before you pick up the phone or write that email, will give you a huge advantage –trust me.
Looking at someone’s Twitter will give you more of a feel for what they like outside of work. Now I’m not saying you pick up the phone after you’ve looked at a few Tweets and start quoting them back to the person. That’s a bit weird. Like most things in life, it’s all about how you use the information you have.
Back in the day
Once upon a time when I was making cold calls and opening doors for clients (which I still do but just in a different way) I booked a meeting through the knowledge I gained by looking at a prospect’s Twitter.
The prospect was Head of Internal Communications at one of the biggest telecoms companies in the UK; his Twitter told me that he loved rugby.
“If you’d like to talk Internal Comms and Rugby then it would be great to have a chat”
“You’ve got me on the rugby, how about tomorrow?”
Now this is an extreme case, but, it just shows how it can work if done in the right way. To this day I still speak to him and we have a great relationship (he will more than likely see this post).
The trick is to not try too hard, it has to be natural and genuine. Unfortunately, there are always going to be people that miss use social networks. We can’t get away from that, all we can do is make sure we are not one of them.