Using social media and events to drive business development

It is interesting talking to the new era of business developers in my professional network about the cunning and at times brilliant ways that social media, both personal and business, drive business opportunity.

Only this week I heard a business development executive lament the “old world thinking” of her employer, who still sees business development in the white pages, cold call, ‘make an appointment’ model. In contrast, I see amazing business developers, working with visionary leadership, who are empowering them to use the tools of today to do things differently and better.

Take for instance the way business development people are using Linked In as a way to map out their prospects in business. Linked In has forever changed the way recruitment is conducted. It just doesn’t take that long any more to find out who is out there. Take note too, of the Human Resources executives who are using Facebook pages to “check out” an individual before they employ them, looking for signs of character defects and potentially compromising content.

Consider the role of Thought Leadership blogs in business development, contributing to stature building, increasing the scope of work and increasing the  rate of sale closure. Thought Leadership far exceeds a capability statement as a way to showcase the smarts of an organisation. While a  capability statement may make a claim that you know how to do it, a Thought Leadership blog demonstrates that you can. Professional Services that have intellectual property as part of their offering will shorten their sales cycle and grow the pie of work through a well executed Thought Leadership blog.

Facebook works gang busters for businesses that want to be a people magnet. Facebook allows a business to showcase the “vibe” of a place or event, by capturing those golden moments that are charged with positive feeling and togetherness. Facebook says, if you belong with these people, you should do business with us. If your business is creating customer opportunities through events, capture the golden moments at those events with Facebook.

Facebook also builds rapport, by associating your brand with a person’s actual or desired social network. Facebook allows a business to enter a social network and to tap into that community’s rapport, which is a very powerful combination. Facebook rapport drives sales in three ways, it increases the success rate of a sales approach, it makes what would have otherwise been a cold call a warm call and it is the glue that holds the business relationship together in difficult times.

..and now for Twitter, to me Twitter is ultimate app for breaking news. If you are in a fast paced sector, with constant developments and exciting updates, Twitter is great. It is also a perfect platform to synch to your Linked In, Blog and Facebook posts. Twitter is also a great way to meet like minds. I am amazed who pops up on my Twitter account after I post, especially about breaking news. ReTweets of great news items is a simple and effective way to keep your twitter account pumping.

If you are not already using social media to support your business development, the gurus say pick one medium first and become a power user. Many businesses fail by trying to use too many platforms at once, and underinvest in them all.

If you are looking to ramp up your social media presence to drive business development the best way to start is a competitor analysis…and don’t just look at your immediate competitors, scan the world for best practice.

Louise Kelly

Managing Director

Hearts and Minds

Founder of the Thought Leaders Circle

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