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  Social Media – A Powerful Referral Tool
 
by Carol Verret & uRefer
November 2010

Social media networks provide a powerful but underutilized tool to obtain referrals to new prospects. Each person we ask for a referral has their own social media networks with hundreds (sometimes thousands) all of whom are your prospects.  If each one of your customers posted one positive message about your company on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts- imagine how many prospects you would reach.  As the contact to closing ratio from referrals is over 50%, imagine how many leads could be generated!  

Finding Advocates: Our social media networks are populated by contacts that think well of us and are willing to introduce us to their networks, especially if care has been given to Friend/Fan and network building.  The strategy for building these Friend/Fan and contact networks should be well thought out and include influencers as well as potential prospects.  These should be contacts that want to hear from us and value what we have to say. 

Discussion groups can also provide a network of Power Partners that can assist us in locating the prospects that we want to reach through a referral and allow us to obtain information about prospects for which we need the right contact.  

Case study:  A LinkedIn member has indentified a prospect in market that they want present a new meeting package to. A quick search of their contacts has identified a contact in their network in the same market that might know the person they should contact at this prospect’s organization.   The LinkedIn in member sends an In Mail to their contact outlining what they want to talk to this prospect about and could the contact refer them to the right person.  Not only was the contact willing to do that referral but liked the offer so much that they too booked the package!

Discussion groups on LinkedIn can also be used to obtain contact information.  If the prospect has commonality with members of the particular discussion group, a request to provide a referral to the appropriate contact can be posted on the group or sent to certain members of the group if they are in the network.  

Empowering and Rewarding your Contacts to Make Referrals: The above case study exhibited a one on one referral but imagine what happens when an advocate/referral partner makes a referral by posting on their FaceBook wall.  Now, any one of their friends can see their message and the great new deal you’re offering.   Let’s say that 10 of their friends accept his referral.  Not only did you just get 10 new ‘hand raised’ leads but the message still will have been seen by all of your advocate’s other friends that get the updates. That’s powerful branding!

uRefer makes the process of requesting referrals through social networks systematic and trackable.  For example, an Advocate posting on a social networking site can choose anyone of the 250+ sites supported by uRefer- but the most commonly used sites are FaceBook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  When someone makes a referral through FaceBook (for example) this is how it works: Advocates are signed into their own page where they can make a mass-referral by posting to their wall. When any one of their friends sees and clicks on the referral link they post, the client company knows who made the referral, and that one of the prospects they referred has come in as a lead.  

With this ability to track referrals, now you have an opportunity to offer advocates rewards for telling their networks about you. This will dramatically increase the number of people you have out there making referrals. Every time one of your advocates “friends” clicks on the link they posted, the lead goes back to your company, and if that “friend” becomes a new customer, you know who to thank!

The truly great thing about this method is that it is one of the only uses for social media that delivers measureable results.  For example, John Smith, a customer of Acme Hotel wants to make a referral through social media.  John could either post to his wall about how much he loves Acme Hotel and the great new promotion they have or send a direct message to his friend Paul, who he knows is planning a meeting.   ACME would see that John sent the referral, track any prospect who opts in as interested, and be able to measure the revenue generated from that referral.

Advocates who to make an "online" referral, can do so in a variety of ways:
  • Send a prospect an email
  • Make a post to one of 250+ social networking sites supported by uRefer
  • Send a direct one-on-one message through social networking sites
  • Post a link to their website, blog, profile, etc.
The hospitality industry typically does not do a good job of systematically requesting referrals and then tracking the revenue from them – doubly hard for hotels when they are using social media for referrals.  uRefer provides the platform to enable the referral requests on social media but also the ability to track the revenue from them and also reward the referee or advocate with a variety of incentives such as loyalty points, gift card, donations to their favorite charity or even simple Thank You notes.

About uRefer™
Referrals are the best leads and the advocates who make those referrals are an organization’s greatest asset.  uRefer’s mission is to transform more of our client’s customers and partners into advocates, creating a powerful “commission only” sales network that consistently refers high quality leads.
 
uRefer provides clients with the technology to: Acquire a powerful network of brand advocates; Motivate advocates making referrals to more people, more often; empowering their advocates with tools that make referring quick and easy; manage their relationship with advocates to optimize performance.
 
For more information, please visit www.urefer.com
 
About CVCT
Carol Verret and Associates Consulting and Training offers training services and consulting in the areas of sales, revenue management and customer service primarily but not exclusively to the hospitality industry. To find out more about the company click on www.carolverret.net. To contact Carol send her an email at carol@carolverret.com or she can be reached by cell phone (303) 618-4065.  Visit www.hotelsalesblog.com

About uRefer™
Referrals are the best leads and the advocates who make those referrals are an organization’s greatest asset.  uRefer’s mission is to transform more of our client’s customers and partners into advocates, creating a powerful “commission only” sales network that consistently refers high quality leads.
 
uRefer provides clients with the technology to: Convert current contacts into advocates; Acquire referral partners including offline affiliate partners;Motivate advocates making referrals to more people, more often; empowering their advocates with tools that make referring quick and easy; manage their relationship with advocates to optimize performance.
 
For more information, please visit www.urefer.com

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Contact: 

Molly McFarland
(734) 780-5001
mmcfarland@urefer.com
uRefer ™
www.uRefer.com
 

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Also See:
The Power of Referrals – Increasing Closing Ratios and Revenue; Free Webinar Presented by Carol Verret and uRefer September 30, 2010 / September 2010


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