Spending time on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn can be a great way to build a pool of prospects or leads. LinkedIn is full of millions of business professionals that are more serious about the way they spend their time online. People on Facebook are not there to be marketed to, and both Twitter and Pinterest users have their own unique characteristics and patterns of behavior. Because of this, not all social media sites are alike when it comes to your sales funnel.

However, as a general rule, most social media platforms work best for doing a very specific job in your sales funnel … creating leads.

Social media sites are so named because people like to socialize there. They are generally hanging out to have a good time, let their guard down, and are not usually looking to buy products and services. Even on LinkedIn, populated by serious business minded professionals, people are not usually looking to buy your products and services. They are there, however, and on the other social media sites, for engagement.

They want to chat, interact and hang out with people a lot like themselves. This means social media offers a great opportunity for you to connect with your target audience. Present yourself as a “real person” rather than someone doing business. Put out a lot of great content that answers big problems and solves real questions for your audience. Then you infrequently want to build your email list and prospect pool.

The top of the funnel is the perfect place for social media. This is where you build a list of contact details by offering a free product or service in return for the email address of a prospect. This is the “meet and greet” stage of the sales funnel, where you let people know about you and your business. Keep the conversation casual on social media sites during this process.

Business owners should also understand they shouldn’t expect marketing miracles from social media. Over the years it has been found that social media is a great place to keep in contact with your customer, and it does work effectively to collect prospects at the top of your sales funnel. It is, however, not usually a place that is efficient for selling your goods and services. Contact, engage, inform and build interest, answer questions, offer quizzes and contests, but don’t try to sell on social media.

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If you have ever used a funnel, you know what one looks like. The idea is that you can focus...

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