I love Linkedin and use it everyday and today I stumbled on two posts (from Chris Reidd and Alice Meyeroff ) telling how Linkedin and Social Selling is better than cold calls and I think it is time to give to Twitter what belongs to Twitter.
I get that Linkedin is way better than cold calls. However, ** when you sell to an audience who has adopted Twitter **, I would argue that Twitter ( and even better Twitter then Linkedin) is better and here are 5 reasons why:
#1. Linkedin only gives you a person resume.
It’s good to be able to find people names in Linkedin along with their professional background (in Google searching in Linkedin where you can do crazy queries) .
It is specially good for hiring, but when it come to sales, it does not tell you much about who this person is.
Move to Twitter and you can get insights about the important things in life like: favorite food, the places he/she goes, preferred sport, political ideas, kids, … and also whether they could be interested in the kind of things you are selling,
Maybe they ask questions that you can answer? Maybe they express needs? Maybe they are already discussing/exchanging/following your competitors?
Linkedin was build for hiring and -so far- it works great for prospective employees or employers where you don’t really build “relations”. Do you still have ties with the people you have interviewed years ago?
But when it comes to sales, people sell to people, not to resumes.
#2 Linkedin is poor in content
In B2B Tech, where we have solid data points, thousands of CIO’s & tech executives tweet every day. And as people strive to gain leadership, this will go up.
In our target market, Social Marketing ( i.e ~5000 to 10000 people in US and Europe), more than half of the people we listen to tweet more than once per day, and many blog.
Again these are early adopter verticals and not the majority.
But one tweet per day; you don’t get near that kind of speed on Linkedin. Excluding the rare “linkedin influencers” – great move from Linkedin- there is no fresh content until your prospect moves to another job.
Each tweet – 10’s of them per month- is an opportunity not-to-make a cold call. Actually to “not make a call at all” but to respond with added value to a discussion your target customer is starting. (note: I don’t recommend to catch every opportunity to engage but if you listen carefully, you’ll find good ones more often than not).
The Linkedin substitute to the “cold call” is an informed call or a referred call. It’s better than a cold call but it still a call.
If you can help a prospect or provide value answering a tweet, then you move to a different league.
#3 Linkedin is hiding the network
This one is kind of counter intuitive but yes, Linkedin is “hiding” the network and making money letting people see it piece by piece…. up to a certain limit.
I don’t know about you but for me is it so frustrating. This is like playing chess but not been allowed to think more than one move ahead or watching a football game with the camera on one player.
When you see an entire network, you can discover paths that you are not part of but could be, influencers that you need to reach in order to get to the people you want to talk to etc.
You can also measure progress. Not things like “xxxx connections YY Millions professionals in your Network” but real progress like how close and engaged you are with prospective clients and the people influencing them.
Here is a (very partial) view of the Social Marketing Market:
It’s clear that people like Jeremy Owyang (although he’s now working in collaborative economy), Jay Baer, Scott Monty are influencing many Social Media decision makers in Large Enterprises that we want to talk to.
#4 Linkedin does not provide “group” listening.
You can’t really learn learn much about a company listening in Linkedin beside “static information” such as # of employees, per function, location, “moves”. A quick look every quarter and you’re OK.
Using twitter, you can structure real time listening of 1000’s of key employees of a potential client, or all (most) people managing Social, IT, Sustainability, HR, …. in F1000 companies.
You can decipher the “hidden” org chart of a Corporation – the CIO is engaging more with the VP Sales in Spain than with the CMO, and they talk about Real Madrid – , and understand who within the account is your best entry and why you better not buy this iPhone case with a picture of Lio Messi. (There is a 49ers-Seahawk version of this but … let’s see in two weeks).
#5 Linkedin is not helpful until your target is already your contact
This is basic but that is indeed a serious issue.
What can you do on Linkedin before the person has accepted your connection is very very limited. It is a challenge to get to this point and “cold inmail” won’t do the trick.
Twitter offers many ways to initiate the relation – RT, mention, follow- lists- favorite, then direct private messages and to make progress up to a point when you can take an embryonic relation to Linkedin 😉
Don’t take me wrong. Linkedin is great. Linkedin is the ultimate solution for recruitment and Linkedin is very useful later in the sales cycle. Linkedin is also way more widespread in B2B than Twitter .. but if you are fortunate to have a significant share of your target clients in Twitter, use Twitter as the primary platform for sales and start there !
Then get from Linkedin what you can’t get from Twitter: 1) the inmail and 2) the opportunity to have long conversations when things get tangible.