11 Steps to Social Media Lead Generation

11 Steps to Social Media Lead Generation

1. Understand your buyer and how they use social media

Offering compelling content or vertical specific content makes it more likely that your potential buyer will engage with you. Develop content such as blog posts, white papers, infographics, memes, graphics, and webinars that the buyer will find helpful (and perhaps fun) as they spend time on social sites.

2. Develop content and offers that are appropriate for social

It’s critical to understand how your buyer uses social media. You need to know what social platforms they use, how they use them, and what behaviors they exhibit, in order to determine your best social media mix.

3. Create a plan to promote your content via various social channels

Identify the sites where your target buyers spend time. Usually the major social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn) are likely, but do the research to make sure. Among B2B decision-makers, 81% use topic- specific communities and forums for personal and professional reasons, so you may want to include prime ones in your social media mix. A casual survey among your existing customers can point out the best places to begin. Whichever channels you choose, develop a plan for each that specifies how you will use it to attract buyers and promote content, as well as a posting schedule to know what content is shared across the various channels andat what time of the day. There are best times to post on social media channels to attract the highest number of impressions, so you will want to stage posts accordingly.

4. Use Facebook for lead generation

Among online adults, 67% say they use Facebook. With over one billion members, Facebook gives you the opportunity to engage a massive audience. Of these, 751 million use Facebook mobile, and 80% of those mobile users check their phones early each morning. Effective lead generation on Facebook depends on sharing content that is engaging and useful to your target buyer and renders visually well on mobile devices. Even though it hasa consumer focus, there’s a significant opportunity to engage B2B buyers on Facebook by using images and sharing links to blog posts, white papers, webinars, etc. Check out Facebook Insights to know the best times to address your audience. Facebook offers self-service advertising options. Put a little extra leverage behind your white paper or webinar offer by boosting the post or running a sponsored ad that targets a specific audience or interest segment. This will help to extend the reach of the social promotion and increase the number of active registrants.

5. Use Twitter for lead generation

Twitter has 140 million monthly active users. It is a highly effective platform for targeting groups of B2B buyers. High quality content here will attract followers and generate clicks, and if people like it enough to retweet or favorite, your reach can be amplified quickly.

Short tweets are more likely to receive engagement than tweets over 100 characters, and don’t hesitate to ask for retweets on specific posts; posts are then far more likely to be retweeted.

When issuing tweets organically, without promoting through the advertising feature, it is best to include two hashtags on each tweet for best results. This helps to increase the reach of tweets and places the tweet into larger related conversations happening on Twitter.

Twitter also offers self-service advertising options that allow marketers to promote tweets in search and timeline, and target based on interests, keywords, followers, and demographics. When promoting a tweet, it is best to include only one call to action, like the URL. If you use @handles or hashtags in your promoted posts, you will be charged for any click on the post. As a marketer, the objective is to drive the buyer to complete the action of registering, completing a form, etc. If you have more than one hyperlinked option in the post, you are giving the prospect too many options. If they click on the hashtag or @handle in the post, you are driving them away from your main call to action.

6. Use LinkedIn for lead generation

LinkedIn is the social network most used for pure business purposes. With over 225 million members, the network provides extensive reach and offers unique ways to target and engage a professional audience. Among B2B decision-makers, 81% use LinkedIn, with 26% using it primarily for business and 48% using it for both personal and business purposes. For B2B marketers, LinkedIn has proven to be the most successful channel for customer acquisition.

Based on a recent infographic by Wishpond, LinkedIn is 277% more effective at generating relevant leads than Facebook or Twitter, and 77% of B2B marketers say that they have acquired a customer through LinkedIn. It is important to note that LinkedIn is most often used right before and right after work hours. Tuesday and Thursday typically receive the most social media traffic from businesspeople, and posts during work hours receive less traffic. Remember this when building out a social posting schedule.

7. Use Google+ for lead generation

The most organic way to use Google+ to generate leads is by posting compelling content updates that include links back to your website. Google+ is a great content distribution platform. Google+ plays an important role in authorship and online visibility and is pivotal to the amplification of a company’s content. Be sure to use only quality content, so people have a reason to engage with your materials. Test the timing and frequency of posting to see what works the best. Google recommends tagging other Google+ users in your updates to achieve personalization: Just add a + sign in front of the name of the person you want to tag, and select the right user profile. This helps your update appear in search results on Google+, giving your content more reach.

8. Use independent forums for lead generation

Forrester research shows that independent communities and forums get more traffic from B2B decision-makers than branded social networks. Of those surveyed, 85% visited these forums, and a large majority of them for both personal and work purposes.

9. The mobile connection

Of mobile phone owners, 40% have a social network on their phone; 28 percent access it daily. Keep this in mind as you plan your campaigns.

10. Use technology to power your social media lead generation

Social media marketing is really fast-paced and can be challenging to keep up with. There are technology solutions and tools that you can use to do more with less, particularly when it comes to automating the sharing of content and measuring the impact of your efforts. Some marketing automation systems integrate social tools, allowing you to do all your social marketing from one platform.

11. Generating buyer interest through pictures and image sharing

Instagram: Today’s prospective customers are visual; they want to see what you’re talking about. Instagram is a great supplement to the other social channels where you share more text-heavy content. On Instagram, you are not only sharing photos with your audience, you’re giving them a glimpse into what your businesses is doing. It gives your audience a backstage pass to the culture of your company, and it fosters community.

Some businesses, particularly those in the B2C hospitality, fashion, and restaurant industries find Instagram and Pinterest to be of cardinal importance to their social lead generastion strategy. These two social channels help to connect brands with buyers through aesthetically appealing photos. Pictures speak for themselves and help to sell a brand’s products; this makes the saying “pictures are worth a thousand words” very true.

On Instagram, you can share photos of staff members, company sponsorships, tradeshow booth presence, corporate events, and products. Highlight and show off your products, and use hashtags to make the photos more searchable. The goal is to get Instagram followers over to your website to become paying customers. If you offer a tangible product, then Instagram is a great platform for showcasing products to your followers. You can also synch your Instagram feed with other popular social networks, like Twitter and Facebook, so that you can save time with social sharing.

Pinterest is a pinboard-style social networking platform where users share their favorite pictures, videos, and online discussions to themed boards, as well as to their own personal “likes” pages. The site is gaining a lot of traction: 25% of Fortune Global 100 companies have Pinterest accounts, and Pinterest is now the third most popular social network in the United States in terms of traffic. 69% of online consumers who visit Pinterest have found an item they’ve purchased or wanted to purchase.11 Currently, Pinterest is retaining and engaging users as much as 2-3x as efficiently as Twitter was at a similar time in its history. When you create your company’s Pinterest account, completely fill out your company’s profile (with the company name, description, logo, location, and website), link the Pinterest account to your other corporate social media accounts, and verify your account. Once you have completed these basic actions, nd relevant users and boards to follow, create pinboards that represent your company, and begin repinning, as well as liking relevant pins from other users.