When used correctly, social media can be much more than just a tool for connecting with your current customers and increasing your brand recognition among social media followers. If you know how to go about it, you can actually use platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook to generate leads for your business.
Even better, it’s one of the most cost-effective means of generating leads that you can imagine, reducing social media marketing costs by 45% for most businesses, and spurring an increase in revenue for most of them. The trick is in converting your social media marketing campaigns from a customer service and branding standpoint into campaigns which are actually targeting lead generation.
The nature of lead generation
Lead generation is not nearly the same thing as selling, and it really consists of bringing people into your sales funnel and gathering intelligence on your potential customers. For instance, you should be endeavoring to find out what interests your target audience, and what you could potentially sell to them, as well as what their pain points are, and how you can convert them into paying customers.
The Internet has completely altered how companies go about getting leads, using video marketing email opt-ins, paid ad campaigns, and gated content, which all strive to bring customers into your sales funnel. This is all done online, so it’s quicker and easier to track, and the potential for securing vast numbers of leads is staggering. What drives all this are the tremendous numbers of people using social media, with 40% of all people today spending more time on social media that they do face-to-face.
Picking the right channel
One of the most important aspects of lead generation is picking the right channel, because trying to get leads from the wrong social media platform will simply leave you frustrated and short on results. You have to know your customers well enough to know which of the social media platforms they spend time on. For instance, B2B marketers have much greater success generating leads on LinkedIn as opposed to Facebook or Twitter.
The techniques that you use to generate leads will depend on which of the social media platforms you’re focusing on, and the platforms that you’re focusing on should depend on where your target audience is spending its time. So it’s essential that you know where your audience is, so you can customize your efforts accordingly.
Generating leads with Instagram
Instagram has only recently become a more viable option for marketing and for lead generation, but it still worth using for the purpose. When you get comments and likes about photos that you post on Instagram, make sure to follow up on them to show people that you care, and to make your company appealing as a source for products and services. Instagram also allows you to upload video clips, which can create some very interesting marketing opportunities.
If you can create an entertaining and creative video which appeals to users, you can also include information about how to purchase the product, and you can include a URL as well, so customers can navigate to your site. You can also create unique hashtags which will pop up while users are browsing Instagram. If you can come up with a good hashtag that’s not directly related to your company, but which can be tracked back to you, you’ll have the idea. Anyone doing a search on that hashtag would then find your company, and hopefully several of your products.
Generating leads with Twitter
Lead generation through Twitter is still a fairly new idea, but with the arrival of Twitter Cards, that’s all changing. Since 2013, Twitter Cards have been available to help companies generate new leads, and if you can come up with some very appealing copy in 140 characters or less, you just might be able to reap some serious benefits. It will also help if you can use an attention-getting image on your Twitter Card.
If you use a social media monitoring tool, you’ll be able to keep track of what people are saying about your company on Twitter, so that you can start racking up leads that you should be contacting. There are also some creative ways of generating leads from Twitter such as Ask-Me-Anything, Twitter Chats, and Blog Elevated. Weekly Twitter Chats are used in Blog Elevated, which is a community for bloggers that is focused on an annual event, and to accomplish a couple of important objectives.
It sparks terrific conversation among bloggers about challenges they face and about relevant topics, and introduces all their followers to a particular branding event, which amounts to lead generation. If you can host a Twitter Event related to your industry, which is not specifically focused on your company, you’ll create huge interest among followers who will investigate to find out about your company, and that in turn will generate new leads for you.
Generating leads with Facebook
In order to generate a worthwhile number of leads in Facebook, you’ll probably end up having to run paid ads, although these can be very budget-friendly, especially compared to other schemes like AdWords. Running a contest in Facebook has always popular, and always draws a significant amount of attention. The only downside to this is that you don’t necessarily accumulate a large number of qualified leads, since most of the people are just looking for a freebie.
You need to stop looking at your Facebook page as just a method for accumulating Likes, and you should instead concentrate on converting your Facebook page into a lead generation tool. This in turn, will influence the type of content that you post there, as well as the kind of ads that you run, and also the tabs that you setup. Make sure to include a call to action on your Facebook page, because this will be vital in securing new leads.
Generating leads with LinkedIn
Generating B2B leads is extremely effective on LinkedIn, primarily because the users of this social media platform are primarily business personnel. A great way to generate highly qualified leads is to offer a free sample directly to decision-makers within companies. LinkedIn Premium allows you to find qualified leads which are exclusively based on job role, so that these personnel can be contacted directly via InMail.
Inbound marketing is known to drive more than 54% of all leads to your marketing funnel, compared to traditional outbound methods, and one of the most effective inbound tactics is to use content marketing. LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform is ideal for demonstrating your expertise as an industry leader, offering relevant information about your industry that has value to professionals, and is great for gaining all kinds of new leads in the process.