Many companies have started and abandoned social media campaigns over the last several years, giving it a bad rap as an inferior method of lead generation. When most marketers think of social media they immediately associate it with brand building, and not sales.
After all, no one really buys products because of a Tweet or a Facebook Post, right?
Not so fast!!
The simple truth is that social media is much more than just a way to grow your brand and connect with your current customers. When implemented correctly, you can actually use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest to generate real leads for your business.
And the good news is that social media lead generation is cost effective and growing in popularity.
Content Marketing and Social Media a Powerful Combination
Business owners tend to be bottom line thinkers like baseball managers, and if a marketing strategy is not leading to immediate sales, it's given the quick "hook."
What many executives fail to understand is that a quality social media strategy is difficult to implement and requires patience. According to eMarketer, “49% of B2B marketers find social media to be the most difficult marketing activity to implement.
A quality social media lead generation initiative is not about Facebook “Likes” or “Retweets,” but about bringing people into your sales funnel. It’s not the same thing as selling.
Think of lead generation as gathering intelligence on your customers. You’re getting to know:
- Who your target audience is and what they are interested in?
- What are their pain points?
- Which products match up with those pain points?
- How you can eventually turn them into paying customers?
A good community building social media strategy combined with high quality content marketing is a winning combination that should lead your potential customers to your company website or landing page and culminate with a conversion.
Blog posts, downloadable eBooks, videos, whitepapers and high quality content are the glue that binds your social media strategy together. By creating targeted content that educates, informs, entertains and delights your prospective customers and sharing these across your social media platforms, you draw these valuable prospects to your website.
This ultimately provides the measurable results that you need to prove success and maintain your course of action. By continually offering value to your prospects, this increases engagement and loyalty with your company or brand and increases the likelihood of doing business in the future.
Five Tips to Develop Your Social Media Strategy
If you are embarking on a new social media strategy, or looking to restart an existing campaign, here are five tips to help you generate quality leads with social media:
- Pick the Right Channel: Begin with an assessment of where your clients spend their time. With over one billion users, it’s easy to assume that Facebook is the obvious choice. But that’s not always the case. For B2B companies LinkedIn may be the better choice, while Pinterest or Instagram may be better for an online retailer. There is no one size fits all here. It’s best to look specifically at the big social media sites: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Determine which of these sites is likely to produce the best results for your sales team, and consider sending questionnaires to your clients about their social media habits and which platforms are most useful to them.
- Create high quality content that is shareable: Your social media strategy is only as good as the content that you create to educate, inform and entertain your prospects. Regularly creating interesting and relevant blog posts about your industry is required for social media success.
- Don’t be afraid to share interesting content: Social media is all about interaction and conversation. Don’t be afraid to share interesting content that is relevant to your mission from other sources. Not only will you keep your prospective customers informed, you get the added benefit of spreading your content around through reciprocal shares. Twitter and LinkedIn are great places to connect with industry thought leaders that are always looking for relevant content.
- Share your content more than once: If you create a killer eBook, or an interesting white paper that result in instant website conversions, don’t be afraid to share them regularly on your social media feeds. If the content is good, others will not be turned off by seeing the posts more than once, and if it is really great material this increases the likelihood that your content will be shared, potentially increasing website conversions.
- Keep in touch: Once a prospect fills out an online form to receive your eBook or white paper, you must have a way of nurturing your leads. Downloading an eBook is a great first step, but not necessarily an indication that a prospect is ready to buy. In order to increase the likelihood of converting a lead into a customer, you need to stay InTouch (shameless plug there) with emails and additional relevant content like blog posts, etc. This is where a marketing system like HubSpot is so valuable. If they like your original material, they are more likely to continue to engage with future offerings, but you must have a method of nurturing your leads. HubSpot’s all-in-one marketing software automates this task and keeps you front and center with your prospects. Don’t let these hard fought leads just sit with no more follow up.
Finally, press releases, marketing materials and news and information about your company that are overtly salesy are likely to be ignored in the social media realm.
The content that you share should inform and educate your prospects, not tell them how great you are. People tend to be turned off by self-congratulatory promotion.
A prospective customer is already seeking out information about your service or product and is already on your branded website or social media account. Social media is not about blatant self-promotion. Continually talk about yourself and you may turn off a perfect candidate for your service.
David, a HubSpot Certified Inbound Marketer is the Chief Content Creator for InTouch Marketing and its clients.