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When Mark Zuckerberg came up with the idea of Facebook as a social media platform for people to engage with their friends online, he probably never anticipated that it would grow into the mammoth beast it is today, serving not just as a social network but as a tool for businesses. Likewise, the salesmen of yore, with their briefcases and slick sales pitches, probably never envisioned a world where technology would come to be an integral force in their business and that sales could be conducted through a screen and not face-to-face. Yet, the two have collided in ways that are powerful and profound.

According to Inc., “There is perhaps no more powerful sales tool on the internet than social media.” Colleen Francis, president of Engage Selling, cites that salespeople generating leads with social media can make between $30,000 and $250,00 in sales. From Facebook to LinkedIn, Twitter to Pinterest, these social media platforms can all be utilized as tools to drive sales. Here is your three-step guide to using social media as a sales tool:

1. Strategically create profiles

First you will need to set up social media profiles in order to use the sites as sales tools. But don’t just create a bunch of random profiles; strategically choose profiles that you can easily optimize for your business so that they appear in the first page of search results when people search for your business. Also, know your client base. Facebook will most likely generate the most traffic, followed by LinkedIn and Twitter, but based on what kind of market you are selling to, other sites could be more beneficial. For instance, a site like Etsy or Pinterest may be best for creative brands to sell their products or services, such as handmade crafts or baked goods. The ultimate goal of any social media profile being used as a sales tool should be to drive traffic to your landing page: provide direct links to your landing page so that you make the purchasing process as simple as possible for the customer.

2. Connect

Next, once you’ve setup your profile and established your brand and products/services, it’s time to connect with all potential customers. Conduct simple searches to find industry leaders and keywords that will attract potential customers to your page. Once you make the initial connection (friends on Facebook, a follower on Twitter, a connection on LinkedIn, etc.) work on developing a relationship. When you’ve learned a little about your new connections, approach them privately through a message, email, or pre-scheduled call to go over your products and services. Developing relationships is crucial for getting leads.

3. Engage

Now that you’ve created this fabulous site and made all these connections, you need to stay active. Engage in meaningful conversation with prospective customers, and treat them as more than just a sale. Appeal to their human sentiments by explaining how your specific products or services could solve their problems- it shows that you’ve done your research and actually care about them, not just making another sale. There are so many ways to engage on social media; you can join groups on LinkedIn, create a Facebook group and invite prospects to join, and use Twitter as a listening tool to find out how what you sell could benefit them.

Overall, the ultimate benefit of social media for sales is that it keeps you connected to your market. In an age when just about everyone is online, salespeople more than anyone else need to tap into social media.