How to Vet Social Media Groups for Prospects

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social media how toAre you looking for ways to engage directly with your customers?

Have you thought about joining social groups on Facebook, LinkedIn and beyond?

Joining the right social groups allows you to connect with your customers by answering their questions and sharing valuable information.

In this post you’ll discover how to choose the best social groups for your business.

vet social media groups for prospects

Discover how to vet social media groups for prospects.

#1: Look for Real Discussions

The most important thing to look for in a social group is discussion. You’re not looking for posts; you’re looking for posts with comments. This signals a group whose members are actively engaging with each other.

facebook group post

Look for groups where members are actively engaged in discussions.

In other words, you want to steer clear of thelink farms of social groups. These are the ones where members stop by to drop a link to their latest content or sales page, and nothing more.

Note that groups that allow people to share links can still have engagement. It’s the groups that have zero engagement and lots of links that you’ll want to avoid or leave at your earliest convenience. Sure, you could drop your own links into those groups, but chances are no one is listening.

#2: Consider Groups Your Competitors Join

If you’re having trouble finding social groups to join for your business, take a look at what groups are listed on your competitors’ profiles.

Start by visiting your competitorsFacebook profiles. Click on their About tab and scroll down to see if they have any groups listed publicly on their profile.

facebook groups listed in a profile

Check out your competitors’ Facebook profiles to see if there are any groups listed.

You can find a similar listing of groups on some LinkedIn profiles. Note that some LinkedIn users can see who has visited their profile.

linkedin groups listed in a profile

Look for groups listed on your competitors’ LinkedIn profiles.

Also check the About tab on your competitors’ Google+ profiles to see if they publicly share the communities they’ve joined.

google+ communities listed in a profile

Check out your competitors’ Google+ profiles for any communities they belong to.

This research should point you toward groups that will be great for your business to participate in to find customers, colleagues and partners.

#3: Make Sure Your Customers Are There

To ensure that the groups you’ve joined are home to your customers (and that they’re actively engaged), do a quick preview of engaged member profiles. You can do this by hovering over names of people engaged in discussions in Facebook groups.

preview of facebook user's profile

On Facebook, hover over a name to see a preview of that user’s profile.

You can scroll through discussions on LinkedIn to see the headlines of discussion starters or hover over names in the comments or discussions. Both will usually include job titles and company names.

preview of linkedin user's bio

Hover over a LinkedIn username to see that person’s job title and company name.

On Google+, hover over names of Google+ users to see their taglines, many of which will also include job titles and company names.

preview of google+ user's tagline

Hover over a name on Google+ to see that user’s tagline.

This research should ensure that your customers are participating in discussions within a group and help you figure out the right people to start engaging with yourself.

#4: Go Local

Whenever you’re searching for great groups for your business, don’t forget to go local in your search. Even if your business isn’t solely local, you’ll likely find great local groups on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ that focus on helping businesses refer other businesses.

facebook search for groups

Search for local groups on Facebook and other social platforms.

In many cases local groups tend to be more heavily moderated than general groups, making them invaluable.

#5: Try Paid-Entry Groups

Another option when searching for social groups with strong engagement is to focus on groups that require some form of payment to enter. This includes the use of paid products, courses, subscriptions, memberships, masterminds, events, conferences and other premium points of entry.

facebook group

Consider joining paid-entry groups.

To find these groups, ask yourself what premium resources your customers would buy. These groups likely are filled with the customers you want to connect with; ones who’ve shown they’re willing to invest in premium education, products and services.

Go Beyond Social Networks

Don’t just rely on the top social networks to connect with your customers. Look beyond social networks for forums, Q&A networks and other online communities within your industry. These also offer a wealth of opportunities to engage directly with your ideal customers.

online community

Look outside social networks to find online communities focused on your industry.

Just like social media groups, you’re looking for places where your customers are engaging with each other about topics related to your business. Skip the communities that have excessive spam and aim for those that are moderated and have lots of discussion.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Social Groups

Here are some additional tips for getting the most out of engagement in social groups for your business.

Keep Your Social Profiles Up to Date

On Facebook, you should have your current job title and company included and publicly visible in the Work and Education section on your About tab.

facebook profile

Make sure your job title and company are publicly visible on your Facebook profile.

On LinkedIn, you should have your current job title and company name or a tagline of what you offer to customers as your profile headline.

linkedin profile

Include your job title and company or a tagline on your LinkedIn profile.

On Google+, include your current job title and company name or a tagline of what you offer to customers on your About tab.

google+ profile

On your Google+ profile, include your job title and company or a tagline.

These settings will ensure that people who see a great comment by you in a group discussion can easily learn more about you.

Follow Group Rules

Most moderated groups will have a set of rules to abide by. Be sure to read the group rules carefully so you always remain on the moderator’s good side.

In Facebook groups, you’ll likely find the rules in the right sidebar description of the group or in a pinned post at the top of the latest discussions.

facebook group rules

Facebook group rules typically are listed in the description or in a post pinned to the top.

In LinkedIn groups, click on the About tab to learn more about the group’s rules. You can also look in the box on the right side of the About information to see if the group has official group rules.

linkedin group rules

Look for LinkedIn group rules on the About tab.

In Google+ communities you’ll likely see the group rules (or a separate link to them) in the About This Community box at the top right of the community.

google+ community rules

Check out the About This Community box for Google+ community rules.

Avoid Self-Promotion

Participate in groups by starting and engaging in discussions, while avoiding self-promotion. The goal isn’t to promote your business in groups directly. The goal is to demonstrate your skills and expertise through discussions so people in the group want to learn more about what you and your business have to offer.

The exceptions to this rule are groups that specifically allow you to promote your business. Some groups allow you to post about your business so members can learn more about you, and others have special “promote your business” days or posts that you can use for promotion. Look for these opportunities in groups with high engagement to get your customers’ attention.

Leave Groups That Aren’t Helpful

Leaving groups that aren’t beneficial to your business is especially important on Facebook, as group posts tend to get a lot of coverage in your news feed. Also leave unhelpful groups on LinkedIn, as you’re limited to joining only 50 groups total.

What do you think? Do you use social groups to promote yourself or your business? Which ones have you found to be the best? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

how to vet social media groups for prospects

Tips for vetting social media groups for prospects.

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Three Mighty Good Reasons Your Prospects Delete Your Cold Emails

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Do your emails grab your prospects’ attention and make them excited, or do recipients just press delete before they even get to the second line?

Would you reply to an email that feels salesy or pushy?

Probably not. So why should prospects respond?

Most cold emails fail because they don’t connect with their audience because they feel disingenuous or impersonal. If you want to catch your prospects’ attention, you need to address their needs and speak to them on a more human level.

Fixing these three common cold-email mistakes can get you more responses from your prospects.

Cold Email Mistake #1: Your message is too self-focused and impersonal

No one wants to hear you drone on about how awesome you think you are. Your prospects don’t care about how many awards your company has won or that your new product is your fastest or coolest ever. They only want to know how you can solve their problems.

How can you speak to your prospects needs if you don’t understand their needs? Before you craft any cold emails you need to develop a clear buyer persona and research your prospects’ industry and role to understand their pain points and priorities.

Canned and generic messages won’t get responses in 2015. Everyone has become immune to gimmicky emails. Your prospects want to feel special, and know that you took the time to understand them and their business. If you send the same message to a CEO as a VP of Engineering, you will either alienate one of those parties with an untargeted message that doesn’t make sense, or bore both of them with vague language. Instead you need to create thoughtful emails that are specific to each of your buyer persona’s needs.

Cold Email Mistake #2: You’re boring your prospects with long-winded pitches

Your prospects are busy people. They don’t have time to read through bloated paragraphs that resemble small novels, and they aren’t going to go out of their way to read a whitepaper that explains your value proposition either.

You only have a few seconds to entice someone with your message before he or she clicks delete, so don’t waste words on useless fluff.

The only goal of a cold email is to get your prospects talking to you. Don’t get too overwhelmed trying to say everything in the first email; you can always explain more when you have them on the phone or in following emails. Keep every email simple, and focus on one main benefit or idea per email.

Because people have short attention spans, you should try to keep your cold emails to 2-5 sentences. The most persuasive cold emails eliminate anything that does not support the email’s main idea.

Cold Email Mistake #3: Weak calls-to-action (CTA) lose your prospects’ attention

Even if you write the best introduction to your cold email, a weak or missing CTA will kill your chances of getting a response. Spending your time talking to a stranger is a risk, so you need to give prospects assurance that talking to you won’t waste their time. Great calls to action offer prospects value or gives a sense of “fear of loss,” and incentivize them to promptly respond.

How can you make it worth their while?

Make sure your prospects clearly understand how they’ll benefit by talking to you. Incentive your CTAs by offering a piece of actionable advice or sharing a quick idea that can help improve their business.

What To Think About Next Time You Start A Cold Email

Here are a few quick takeaways you can use for crafting your next cold email based on the mistakes mentioned above.

  • Start your first sentence as a question focused on your prospect, ideally one that makes them think about an existing pain point or a potential benefit you can offer.
  • Keep your cold emails short and conversational. Try to use the word “you” more than “I.”
  • Try to keep your CTA in one short and clear sentence. Questions like “When do you have time for a short call so I can share an idea that could double [Company]’s revenue?” tend to work well.

MarketingProfs All In One

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