What Salespeople Prefer: Twitter Rises, LinkedIn Falls
As Mark Fidelman observes in his recent post, "Twitter Overtakes LinkedIn as #1 Social Media Site for Salespeople," the current conventional wisdom is that salespeople are highly focused on LinkedIn as their social network of choice. But it seems like the only time the phrase "conventional wisdom" is used is when it is being overturned. And this case is no different.
LinkedIn has more users than Twitter does, is more focused than Twitter is, and, simply put, is perceived as a network for businesses and professionals. Yet, according to Fidelman, "the sales survey and research we conducted with a client [showed] Twitter ranked slightly more valuable than LinkedIn when it came to sales prospecting."
Fidelman goes on to ask several social sales experts why this would be. Something that many of their answers have in common, even if it is put in different ways, if that Twitter is, well, cooler. One compares Twitter to a relaxed bar after work, while LinkedIn is a corporate boardroom. Another states that Twitter is where people go to get the 'pulse' of what's happening. Another observes that Twitter is where people go to actually engage each other on a personal level, while LinkedIn is strictly business.
The most interesting answer came from Vanessa Di Mauro, CEO and Chief Digital Officer of Leader Networks, who observed that Twitter is often where the sales conversation starts. Out of the various answers that experts gave in the article, and all them are worth checking out, this one made the most sense to me. Sales is often a linear process, and moving the conversation to another platform or line of communication might be more convenient, but it can disrupt the flow. If you make a sales connection with someone on Twitter, you might as well keep it there until you're sure of things.
The research and survey that found Twitter leading LinkedIn was following up on previous findings that salespeople who use social media, as opposed to those who do not, were much more likely to outsell their peers. So it seems that whatever network is the leading preference for salespeople, the use of social media in sales is probably here to stay.