Social media is a great inbound marketing tool that allows businesses and marketing teams to interact with prospects, cater to customers, promote their content, and yes, generate leads. When a business uses social media right, prospective customers have the opportunity to access great content and information via a platform they already populate and actually want to gather said content and information.
Additionally, when prospects do “bite,” many of them are willing to provide their contact information, click to obtain more valuable content, and then come back for more, illustrating the concept of effective use of social media for lead generation beautifully. And a good chunk of B2B marketers are on top of this: According to BtoB Magazine, 48.9% of B2B marketers who use social media say use it for lead generation, making lead generation one of the top applications for the use of social media. Unfortunately for some brands, they don’t always realize there are true tactics in order to use social media effectively for lead gen, and they approach their social media presence blindly.
To make sure you're business is appropriately using social media to boost its lead gen efforts, check out the following list to ensure you're not making any of these rookie mistakes.
1. Not being where your target customers are. It’s not important to maintain a presence on just any social media network in order to engage with potential and current consumers; you have to be where they actually are. If you are posting content and updates blindly to Twitter, but members of your target market aren't present there, what’s the point? The first step in effective use of social media for lead generation is to research and determine which social media sites your target audience is active on a regular basis. That way when you do share content and information, you can know you're working to build awareness for your blog, product, service, and other types of content you offer on a regular basis. Awareness is a key preliminary stepping stone for lead generation, since prospects likely go through a period of learning more about your business and deciding whether or not they should research your company further.
2. Not providing valuable content. If you’re just pushing out content about your product and why it’s so “awesome,” more than likely, people will not want to share or engage with it. If someone is following your brand on Facebook, it’s probably to see what valuable content and offers you can offer them. Rather than product-focused content, focus on content rich with tips and tricks which can help to relieve your target customers' pain points. When you target the content you're offering to the different marketing personas you have defined for your business, then your prospects will be much more likely to engage with your brand and therefore, more likely to complete a lead-capture form for a piece of your content. In short, providing targeted, useful content will help you generate more qualified leads who may genuinely be interested in what you have to offer.
3. Not using calls-to-action or sharing targeted links to landing pages. I could have sworn the most effective use of social media for lead gen is the ability to share links to your content, blog, and cool offers? Don’t just say you have a great blog or that your fans should check out your awesome new ebook, link to it, and use an enticing call-to-action to do so. You'd be surprised how commonly businesses neglect to do this. Furthermore, share targeted links. Don't talk about how your followers should register for your upcoming webinar and link to your website's homepage that has no mention of the webinar. Instead, link to a targeted landing page where visitors to register. Even better, target specific content to different platforms. Create special offers for Twitter followers that are different from your offers to your Facebook fans.
4. Not leveraging social media real estate. When people visit your pages on social sites, they probably want to learn more about your brand and its offerings. On Facebook, you can provide as many links as you would like in the Info section. On Twitter, you can use the short bio to share a link that is integral to your service. Same with LinkedIn, Google+, and other platforms you may be a part of. Use that real estate wisely; it’s there for a reason. While social media is a great platform to help you generate leads, you still want to create a connection between the educational content your prospects are downloading and the recognition that your business does more than give out free stuff. Make sure you're effectively leveraging the real estate of your social media accounts to create that brand and product awareness, too.
5. Not integrating email and social media. Email marketing and social media are great friends, not enemies. They work together well, help each other out to promote content, and share one another’s information on a regular and consistent basis. You should promote your presence on social media sites through buttons on each email as well as share links to email opt-in forms for social followers to sign up to be a part of your email database. When you combine the power of your lead generation tools, you'll create a more strategic effort and a better chance of reaching and nurturing your potential customers through multiple fronts, allowing them to choose how they engage with you, consume information, and decide if they would like to move further down the sales cycle.
6. Not displaying highly visible social share and follow buttons. So you have your website and blog and all this great content, but can people easily share it? Be sure to place easy-to-see and -use share and follow buttons on all your content in order to increase its reach. The more your fans share your content with their networks, the more potential new leads will see it!
7. Not analyzing the effectiveness of your social media efforts. You may be on the latest and great social platforms, sharing awesome content, listening and engaging with your potential audience, and collecting that valuable lead information, but how do you determine if it's working as well as you want it to? You should be regularly analyzing how much traffic and leads you're generating from each social platform you're participating in as well as how valuable it is. This will allow your team to evaluate its efforts and make adjustments if needed. For instance, you may want to spend more time engaging the community that tends to convert into more qualified leads. Or perhaps you've discovered that Facebook fans prefer different types of offers than Twitter followers. Use this data to perfect your future lead gen efforts in social media to do more of what works and less of what doesn't.
How effectively are you using social media for lead generation?
This is a guest post written by Pam Sahota. Pam is a marketing communications/social media manager and freelance blogger who loves Boston, photography, charity events, sushi, wine, and the Red Sox.
Image Credit: Widjaya Ivan