Needles in the haystack: Finding your Prospects in Social Media

  • Anol

Finding your prospects amidst the expansive sea that is social media need not be that hard or taxing. Sometimes all you need are cliché-sounding ‘tools’ like knowledge, diligence, empathy, an inquisitive mind and a keen sense of observation. To have all of them is asking too much but hey, having one or two is an advantage especially when you are quick-starting social media marketing for your business.

Most companies though are not too keen on adopting a scientific approach to setting up their social media initiatives. They do realize that that social media has become a giant and evolving force that has the power to shape the face of their business. Unfortunately, many of them only think of ways to jump onto the social media bandwagon… without knowing where to go.

It is important to ask yourself where your buyers are. Where exactly in social media can your prospects be found and how do you go about finding them? Here are two ways to do this:

  1. Outbound Analysis. Determine the presence of your prospects amidst the various social networks and avenues under the assumption that the social network where most of your clients flock to is a good indication of where your future prospects would be.
    social graph

    Several tools can help with this. Online services like Flowtown and Gist give you a breakdown of how many people from your existing client and prospects database are in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. You can use these tools by linking your CRM system or by uploading the mailing list of your existing clients / prospects database.

    This is a good place to start but with almost anyone with Internet access now on social networks, how is that a good indication then? It’s not. In social media presence is first and foremost. But presence doesn’t automatically translate into intent. I might be in Facebook but I may not want any marketers pry and prod me there.

This it becomes imperative to know intent, which is of course very subjective and so onto the next method.

  1. Inbound Analysis. This gives an educated guess into intent. You post a survey to your field representatives, customer reps and sales people asking them:

    a) Which social media/network are you using?
    b) What particular social network are your clients in?
    c) Which are the social networks where you and your clients are connected to each other?

    Once you have the answers to these three basic questions you can make a safe guess as to the platforms where your clients intend to ‘listen’ to you. These answers will give you a big picture of the hotspots where you can engage your prospects in the most efficient and effective manner possible.

It is important to determine where your prospects are exactly in social media before you can start to map who the influencers are. And by keeping outbound and inbound analysis in mind, you don’t need to sift through countless amounts of digital hay in the process.


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