7 Helpful ways to improve your direct messages on social media
Have you ever received an email, direct message on Twitter, message on Facebook or any other means for that matter that urges you to push that DELETE button as quickly as possible?
Why is that?
Having started a small business from scratch, been in direct sales and worked in corporate at a senior executive level, I understand that it’s important to drive sales and prospecting on social media is an important component of that strategy.
Check this out.
- “I’m John with xyz company and I’m writing to you to introduce our organisation and see if you have a need for our services….” NO – DELETE
- “Good morning, I was wondering if you would like to receive some information on our services ….” NO – DELETE
- “Dear Mrs Finance Manager….” DELETE
- “My company specializes in providing …” GO AWAY – DELETE
- “To Whom it might concern…” Absolutely Not! Go away! NO NO NO DELETE
- “I though you would like….” Are you kidding me… NO! Go Away. DELETE
- “Thanks for following. As a token of my appreciation here’s a free gift on….…” NO No No DELETE DELETE DELETE
Augh – you have 2.7 seconds for your prospect to decide if they will read your direct message, delete it or forward to another person who is much more likely to find it relevant. Their delete finger is an auto response mechanism if they think you are trying to sell them something because they are busy busy busy people!!!! AND social media is a crowded space.
How to avoid the delete finger
If you want to avoid the DELETE…. DELETE….DELETE button, here are some No No No’s and what you can do about it.
1. Don’t ask a yes no question
I often get messages on twitter direct messaging that go like this. “Do you want to….” or “If you want to….” the answer is No I don’t want to. Why? Because I have no compelling reason to do what was asked of me.
When you open with “I’m John with xyz company and I’m writing to you to introduce our organization and see if you have a need for our services?” – the answer will be an automatic no.
Asking a yes or no question closes off a conversation for good even before it gets started. As a trial lawyer will tell you, never ask a question you don’t know the answer to.
The remedy is to do your research and find out more about the prospect and what’s important to them. that way you can approach them with an open ended question that kick starts a conversation instead.
2. Be excited and confident
It’s the same with “Good morning, I was wondering if you would like to receive some information on our services?” The worst part of this sentence is “I was wondering…”
This doesn’t work, not only because the person comes across as not being very confident, it’s also a self-fulfilling prophecy. The tone and composition of this question already says in the other person’s mind that they won’t be interested. Let me explain.
I was visiting a friend some time back who had just joined a multiple level marketing organization. She wanted to invite a few friends around so that she could introduce the products associated with her home based business. I heard her jump on the phone and call one of her friends to invite her to a presentation the following week. Here’s how it went.
Hi Mary, I eer… I was err…. was wondering what you are doing next Saturday? I am having a few people over to launch my new business. I know you might be busy or don’t want to come but I thought I would ask anyway.” …. “You’re busy? Hum I thought so. What about the week after? Ah huh – Not interested and you don’t want to come? Ah OK then. Thanks anyway.”
In her mind, my friend had already determined the outcome of the call – that she would get a no. It was predetermined and all because she didn’t have the confidence in herself, her business and the products she was expected to sell.
The remedy is to approach any prospecting conversation with confidence and excitement. Demonstrate why they should connect with you and what is in it for them. Be proud to sell yourself and your services. Even as a direct message on social media, your excitement and confidence should come through in the tone of your message.
3. Build trust and rapport
“Dear Mrs Finance Manager….. or Mr CEO or Ms Sales Manager” is not a good start to a prospective conversation. It means you haven’t taken the time to find out about them, their company, their role or why they would have a need for your products or services. It’s too impersonal after all social media is a social space, not a formal space.
When you reach out to someone you don’t know, why would they be interested in what you have to say? If a stranger approached you in a bar and comes right out and asked you to marry them – no doubt you would give them a strange look and brush them off immediately. Social Media is no different. You are asking a stranger to engage with you and they have no real reason why they should.
The remedy is to find out more about your prospect or target audience and a great way to do this is to identify your ideal customers by creating buyer personas. What problems and opportunities do they experience that ties back to your products or services. Better still, have a compelling Elevator Pitch ready to kick start a conversation.
You have to earn the right to a prospects time and the way to earn that right is to demonstrate how you can add value to them, not what you intend selling to them.
4. Do your research and add value
Some believe if you send enough direct messages out like this someone will respond. This is what I call a shotgun approach to prospecting. Too much information can be overwhelming and instead of wanting to read your message, their hair-trigger delete finger immediately goes into action.
The remedy is find out about the person or company you wish to approach and narrow down specifically what you can do to add value to them. You might for instance, find something on their website or social media posts that allows you to connect with them. You could send them a link to a blog post they might find interesting, or even an infographic. A prospect won’t be interested in you until they know how much you are interested in helping them succeed.
5. Be authentic and personal
My favorite – To whom it might concern.” How to insult a person’s intelligence like they don’t know you have sent this message to hundreds, if not thousands of people. There is nothing personal about this introduction and shows that you have not only NOT done your research, you really don’t know how to build any kind of trust or rapport.
Newspaper advertising can be quite impersonal and buyers don’t buy from an advert, they like to buy from people. Social media on the other hand is called social media for a reason. There must be a social aspect to all your communications so that people will want to connect with you.
There are many tools out there like Buffer and Hootsuite to help automate your messages. People aren’t stupid, they know they are receiving automated messages and the trick is to try to make your messages seem as personal as possible.
The remedy is, in all your communications, use the person’s name, begin in a friendly way and talk in terms of their interests not pushing what you have to sell. Avoid words like:
- Connect with me on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram etc
- Like me on my Facebook page
- Read my blog here
- Go to my YouTube channel
Why should they – what is in it for them? Give them a reason to connect with you and the fastest way to do this is to be a person who cares, not a person who pushes a product or service. Build trust and rapport first before you ask them do something. Be genuine and show honest appreciation.
6. Use the ADIA principle
The reason why so many people approach prospecting or direct selling especially on social media in this manner is they haven’t been trained in the sales process. It goes back to the AIDA principle in marketing and advertising.
The remedy is to use the AIDA principle. You must get their attention with an outstanding headline first. Think of a newspaper magazine or blog post. What compels you to read on? The headline of course. It has to get your attention.
The second part of the ADIA formula is to create desire. What is it that you could do or say that will want them to read your message further and not push the DELETE button.
The third part of the AIDA formula is to stimulate interest. Do a little research on the person you are looking to connect with. Check their profile – as this can tell you a lot about the person and allows you to connect in a personal way. For instance, if they like coffee on their bio, ask them how they like their coffee and their favorite blend. Look at the types of posts they like, comment on or share. This will give you a clue as to their interests, then have a conversation about their interest. This will resonate with them far more than pushing your agenda.
The final part of the AIDA formula is a call to action. What do you want them to do, call you, share a post, click onto your blog? If you haven’t made a good connection, a call to action might be the wrong thing to do until you build a relationship. One way to do this is to ask questions they will want to answer – and bingo, you have opened up the conversation.
7. Use the right social media tools
A very common tool Twitter users use for a direct messaging is something called a twit validation service. The idea behind it is to screen out spammers and authenticate genuine followers. In principle it sounds great, however it may actually be hurting you if you use twitter for business.
When you receive a message like this you have to go into their link, confirm you are a genuine follower before you even begin to have a conversation with them and they message you back. The problem is most people can’t be bothered and so you immediately lose a possible connection. It’s like going into a store to buy something and the shop assistant ignores you unless you demonstrate to them that you will 100% buy something from you. If not, they don’t want to deal with you. Not a good customer experience.
The remedy is to put yourself in the shoes of the person you want to connect with. If you make it hard for them to connect, they will walk away. Make it easy for them to have that start-up conversation for you never know where it might lead. You can do this by using social tools that help you not hinder you.
On a final note
Always be genuine about how you conduct yourself on social media. Be personable and interesting for if you are, you will instantly make more connections.
In a Nutshell
- Don’t ask yes no questions – always ask open ended questions others will respond to
- Be excited, confident and proud to connect with others
- Build trust and rapport – you are looking to make a connection not make a sale (yet)
- Do your research and add value to earn the right to connect
- Be authentic and personal in your communications
- Use the AIDA principle to attract attention, create desire, stimulate interest with a call to action
- Use the right social media tools that will help your business not hinder it