Is social media actually effective as a lead generation and selling tool?
That's what we sought to find out in our latest research report - we recently partnered with Sharpspring to reach out to our collective communities and get their insights into what they’re seeing, which platforms and approaches they’re finding most effective for lead gen, and what they expect, in future, in regards to their social lead building efforts.
You can download our full '2019 State of Social Lead Generation' report right now, but this week, we're also breaking down some of the specific elements.
Today, we'll look at which social platforms and content types marketers are finding most effective, overall, for their lead generation efforts.
Part 3: Effective Lead Generation Processes
While planning an effective lead gen process is essential, it’s also true that not all social networks are created equal in regards to their lead generation capacity - and individual results will also vary significantly.
Some businesses will see great results on Pinterest, others on LinkedIn. Given this, it’s important to know where the prospects you need to connect with are interacting, and how they’re engaging, and then to be where they are in order to give yourself the best opportunity for exposure.
But which social networks are best for generating leads? Again, while it is largely a case-by-case proposition, here’s what our respondents reported.
Facebook is the clear leader, with more than 80% of respondents tagging it among their responses, while LinkedIn (48%) and Instagram (43%) are also far ahead of the rest.
In some respects, that makes sense – Facebook has the best ad options and tools in place for driving leads, while LinkedIn has more direct appeal to B2B audiences. But then again, research has shown that Pinterest users come to the platform with high purchase intent, and Twitter remains a key focus for most brands engaging in social media marketing.
Do these results suggest that you should give up on, or put less focus onto these platforms, given their relative lack of capacity for driving leads?
Not necessarily. Even if Twitter, for example, isn’t the best driver of leads, it can still be great for customer service, with the real-time nature of the platform generally raising expectation for faster brand response. Promoted tweets can also provide significant potential, when used right - but based on these responses, it would appear that Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram are your best bet.
Again, this is all relative – different businesses will see different results on each platform, and with Facebook being so big, it’s also where most lead gen efforts are currently directed, which would influence this data point.
The most important element is knowing where your audience is active - but starting out that research with these leading three platforms in mind would be a reasonable approach.
In terms of content, and what specific types of social posts are better for lead generation, our respondents indicated that images and video work best in their processes.
With so many visual options available, straight text posts are no longer as effective as they once were, and while Stories usage is rising, it’s still not a key platform just yet.
Though it is interesting to note that almost 12% of respondents indicated that Stories are the best option for driving leads. Even at this stage, where your options for including referral links in your Stories are limited; even at this early mark, where Stories are still gaining traction. The fact that 12% of respondents pointed to Stories as being more effective for lead gen than videos and images is significant, and may be worth factoring into your planning moving forward.
And while still images and video are pretty much head-to-head in terms of lead generation via social posts, video is also right up there with blog posts in terms of lead generation via brand websites.
Again, the data would be somewhat influenced by usage – most businesses would be creating blog posts, and maybe video, but fewer would be publishing infographics and original research, which could put those options at a disadvantage in this respect. But still, the responses indicate that most brands are generating more leads from blog content and/or videos on their websites. These are the content options that are driving more direct leads, and should be factored into your own planning.
Tomorrow, in the final part of our report, we'll look at what marketers are expecting in future for their lead generation efforts - while you can also download our full '2019 State of Social Lead Generation' report right now and get across our complete insights.