Social selling is not a new concept, and for many, it’s a worthwhile channel for finding new leads, connecting with prospects, and more.

We recently polled our blog audience to find out which social networks they’ve found to be most effective for sales prospecting – and here are the results:

No matter what social network you prefer, we have some easy tips to ensure you’re using every channel/network to its full potential for generating new prospects, building relationships, and hopefully closing that next deal!

1. Put your best (social) face forward.

First things first: Take a minute to make sure your own social media accounts are in order! You don’t want a top prospect to come across a photo or post that puts you in an unprofessional light. Don’t let your virtual self ruin a promising business relationship before it’s even began. Use your social media profiles as a way to build your own personal brand in a way that lends credibility to your professional self.

2. Find your audience, and go to them.

Determine where your target audience is most likely to spend its time. Then, find ways to engage and provide, whether it’s on Facebook or Twitter. And remember to keep an open mind – a network you never considered valuable for business could prove to be a powerful one. I recently chatted with a real estate agent who uses Facebook as primary way to prospect. Initially, I thought this was curious as I’ve never found Facebook to be a great platform for business. But for him, it was about staying top of mind to his friends and family, so that when/if they were ever to buy or sell a home, they would think of him first.

3. Make a personal connection.

With social media, there really is no excuse for calling someone cold. It’s easy enough to find exactly who you need to speak to within a company by searching on LinkedIn, discover connections you have in common by checking for mutual friends on LinkedIn or Facebook, and learn more about a person’s background (just check their latest tweets or Facebook posts!). Do your research, then take it a step further by finding a way to build a more personal connection. Understand what your prospect’s needs or problems are, then share resources or content that will be valuable to them.

4. Provide value and join conversations.

Regularly sharing insightful content is a useful way to position yourself as an expert on social channels. Again, focus on helping find solutions for people’s business problems or needs and providing value. Do broad listening to find relevant conversations on Twitter, or join active LinkedIn groups and engage with other members.

5. Don’t forget about your other communication channels!

While social media can help you prospect in many ways, don’t forget about emails, phone calls, or in-person meetings as well. Social media can be a great entry point for finding the right prospects and engaging them in initial conversations, but more times than not, you will need to throw in a phone call or an email into the mix to nurture your lead and close the deal.