Yes, you all know I love Twitter!  But did you know that it is a powerful business tool? 

In IBM, our team must attract a high volume of leads from a new set of customers.  Since Social has become a tool for getting information on products and services, we wanted to explore how to leverage word of mouth.   For instance, after a Twitter search or deeper conversation in a LinkedIn group or forum, potential buyers might ask companies for more information, but they also often turn to their peers, other clients and trusted advisors.

So our team decided to go social.  Our inside sellers drove prospects to their Rep Pages –- personalized pages that play a “virtual business card” role for inside sellers. These pages have relevant information to clients, enhance the relationship, and give clients one-click access to interact with their reps.

After training on how to engage and nurture potential clients, the team built Twitter profiles to establish a presence in the social networking world. The ultimate objective of this pilot was for sellers to use social media to add value to conversations and build a pipeline of leads.

We (IBM) also worked with an outside firm to identify the most prominent influencers in the our space, so sellers could then follow them and comment on or retweet their posts and learn and connect.  We developed a unique engagement strategy for each influencer, based on their activity and what they were saying.

To make it easy to maintain their Twitter presence, sellers also have a social message calendar, accessible via the feed reader function within Lotus Notes. The calendar features time-sensitive messages reps can tweet, with enough content for three tweets a day.

Over a 7 month period, these teamates increased their Twitter followers by 5X  

In the first two weeks of this effort, sellers’ Rep Page visits rose by 106 percent –thanks to a systematic pattern of Twitter mentions. The sellers reached 1.9 million contacts.

As we move ahead, social selling success will be reflected by the rep’s Klout score, that we discussed on yesterday’s blog post.   which gauges influence in the social world, an increase in the number of direct Twitter followers, and relationships developed with key influencers.

Many thanks to Kelly Meade and Diane Karsch for their work here at IBM on this Social Selling Initiative!!!