Small businesses and major corporations are both constantly trying to generate new business. Lead generation can be done a number of ways: through lead generation services, online marketing, tradeshows and more. Social media is the talk of the town for B2C businesses, but B2B companies are just getting on board. Successful B2B online marketers are using social media and seeing a positive impact from doing so. Did you know that the companies who actively manage social media campaigns have seen comparatively high conversion rates as well as healthy engagement rates (Optify's B2B Marketing Benchmark Report)? If you're wondering how to nurture those leads you've generated on social networks, take these 3 steps for greater success.
Step One: Connect
You may have made contact with a lead once... or maybe you haven't. Social networks are a great way to reach out leads directly through mediums other than email or the phone. Optify found that Twitter is the strongest social media channel for generating leads. It even outperforms Facebook and LinkedIn 9-to-1 with 82% of social media leads coming from Twitter. Lead generation and lead nurturing efforts can be improved as your sales and marketing teams connect with these people and business decision-makers on social networks.
- How to Find Them: You have their contact information. Use it to find and connect with these prospects on networks such as LinkedIn and Twitter.
- How to Connect: Personalize your connection requests, especially with LinkedIn. If you're asking someone to become a fan of your company on Facebook, provide them with a valid reason they should.
Step Two: Engage
Engagement with prospects can mean different things for different businesses, but the often overall goal is to create a deeper relationship with those potential customers. Engagement involves your business providing value to these leads via social networks. According to Optify, website engagement from different social media channels varies, but LinkedIn leads the pack while Twitter shows the lowest page views per visit.
- Tweet prospects directly to let them know when an event is taking place in their industry.
- Aim to become a thought leader for your customers to turn to by providing content that can help them gain new insight into how to be more successful. Share your content and the content of others -- you don't want to be overly self-promotional.
Step 3: Convert
Conversion is the ultimate goal. Connecting and engaging a lead are necessary steps in order to convert a lead into a customer. Social media can be the final point of contact between a prospect and your business or brand, so make each touch point count. Facebook is the strongest driver of traffic among the three (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn), but Twitter leads the way for lead generation. While Facebook drove the highest percentage of visits from social media, Twitter outperforms it in terms of lead conversion by over a 9-to-1 ratio.
- The B2B buying process has changed and now customers are more likely to come to you when they are ready instead of responding to advertisements. Provide ways for prospects to become customers on your social networks such as with applications, social media specific discounts, etc.
- Optimize your landing pages so that as a customer comes to your pages via social networks, they don't become lost and have a way to carry on the conversation, via live chat or easy social sharing.
Some may not see the value in lead nurturing via social media. However, it is time to open your eyes to the possibility of these expanding networks. The 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, sponsored by Social Media Examiner, found that 58% of marketers who have been using social media for more than three years report it has helped them improve sales. Social media is where you business can truly become creative in how to attract, engage and convert leads you have generated. Lead nurturing isn't restricted to follow-up calls and emails. Brand out and stand out with a social media nurturing campaign.