Social Selling Action Plan, Part 2: Listen to What Your Industry is Saying

Image by Sebastiaan ter Burg
Image by Sebastiaan ter Burg

This is the second installment of a five part series for sales professionals who want to get the most out of HootSuite for social selling. To simplify your social selling workflow, download the new HootSuite guide, Social Selling Action Plan: Closing the Loop From Relationships to Revenue.

Download Now

With today’s buyers doing the bulk of their own research online before reaching out to vendors, it’s vital for sellers to attract attention by sharing content, answering questions, and providing trustworthy advice on social media where everyone can see it. There’s no way to fake it; if you want to be a trusted advisor, you need to know your stuff. Successful social sellers put their ear to the ground, listen to what people in their space are talking about, and stay up to date with industry developments.

By paying attention to the ongoing social conversations in your industry, you can pick up on emerging trends, new customer pain points, and other valuable information. But with so many different social networks, blogs, and news sites to monitor, you can easily spend half your day just researching your space. Here’s how you can use HootSuite to bring all of those sources together and save time.

Monitor Twitter Hashtags

The Nexalogy app's NexaMe stream in HootSuite.
The Nexalogy app’s NexaMe stream in HootSuite.

Hashtags have become a staple of social media and remain one of the best ways to monitor the discussion around a particular topic, trend or idea in your space. When people use an industry-specific hashtag, they’re deliberately reaching out to the community to provide information that they think is valuable. The easiest way to follow a hashtag in HootSuite is to create a Twitter search stream. The “#” symbol is optional.

To discover the most active and influential hashtags in your industry, check out the Nexalogy app in the HootSuite App Directory. You can use a NexaMe stream to reveal the top hashtags among people in your Twitter network.

Hashtags can rise and fall in popularity, so it’s important to keep current. Official hashtags for industry conventions and other events are particularly time-sensitive and see a lot of activity. Even if you’re unable to attend a live event, it’s worth your while to monitor its hashtag for news announcements, product launches, and most of all, new leads. We’ll do a deeper dive into how to use HootSuite for social lead generation in the next instalment of this series.

Listen to Influencers with Twitter Lists

Not every tweet about a particular subject will feature a hashtag, so it’s important to supplement your Twitter search streams with Twitter list streams. Twitter lists allow you to group people into categories that can be monitored separately. Make sure to create your own list of analysts, journalists and other knowledgeable people in your space so that you can follow them all in one stream, without having their updates drowned out in your busy timeline.

Public or Private?

When you create a Twitter list, you can choose to make it private. This is highly recommended for lists of prospects, clients, and competing sales reps (we’ll talk more about monitoring them in a following post), but it’s not a bad idea to make your lists of influencers public. Doing so will show that you’re actively curating updates from knowledgeable sources in your industry. When prospects and clients subscribe to your lists, it’s a sure sign that you’re becoming seen as a trusted advisor.

Bring Google Alerts into Your Dashboard

Google Alerts can be
Google Alerts can be brought into your dashboard with the HootSuite Syndicator app

One of the basic tenets of social selling is to integrate social media with traditional selling techniques, and your industry research is no exception. Make it your goal to blend multiple forms of media together for a holistic and real-time view of your space.

For many sales professionals, any discussion of industry research has to begin with Google Alerts. You can use Google Alerts to monitor literally any subject on the web, including your prospect companies, your competitors, and your own product or service. Google checks regularly to see if anything new has hit the web that matches your query, and then sends you an update. Traditionally, sellers have opted to receive email summaries for their Google Alerts; however, Google offers a powerful alternative in the form of RSS feeds.

The HootSuite Syndicator app allows you to organize Google Alert RSS feeds in your HootSuite dashboard in whichever way suits your workflow. For example, you can set up a Google Alert feed that monitors a developing news story, and then place it right beside a corresponding Twitter search stream. At a glance, you’ll be able to see updates about the topic from both social media and the web at large.

Blogs and Social Media, Together

HootSuite Syndicator can organize more than just your Google Alerts. Use the app to pull RSS feeds of your favorite blogs and news sites right into the HootSuite dashboard, where you can review all of your go-to sources in one place.

Looking for an alternative to Google Alerts?

Check out the Talkwalker Free News Alerts app in the HootSuite App Directory. Set up alerts to monitor keywords across the web, including blogs, message boards, news sites, social media and more in 187 languages and 247 countries.

What about LinkedIn?

LinkedIn Groups are another great channel to monitor for industry developments. Check out the first instalment of this series to learn how HootSuite helps you monitor multiple LinkedIn Groups in a single screen.