From Like to Lead: Optimizing Social Media for Lead Generation

Business.com / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Social media produces almost double the marketing leads of PPC, direct mail, telemarketing and trade shows.

It's no secret that social media is emerging as a significant tool in the development of online success and web presence.

According to studies, approximately 58 percent of marketers using social media for three years or longer report that it has helped them boost sales. One of the most significant misconceptions regarding social media advertising is that it doesn't drive quality visitors. In comparison to outbound marketing, social media has a lead-to-close rate approximately 100% higher.

Even HubSpot's Inbound Marketing Report has discovered that social media produces almost double the marketing leads of PPC, direct mail, telemarketing and trade shows. However, despite all of this positive data, many businesses still don't understand how to make the most of social media. 

With that in mind, here's a rundown of how to use social media as part of your lead generation tactic.

Step One: Choose the Correct Channels

The first step in using social media for lead generation is figuring out where to start. Often, businesses turn to modern channels such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn—and assume that they're ticking all of the boxes. Although it's important to consider the front-runners, make sure that you don't neglect niche channels that may apply to your business, such as Google+, Instagram, Pinterest and SlideShare. 

Often, the best way to determine which social media solutions are appropriate for your company is to get to know your audience better.

According to Stoney deGeyeter, President of Pole Position Marketing, "It's all about research." Before you can begin targeting the right audience, you need to be aware of who that audience is. Once you know who you're dealing with, targeting customers and creating leads becomes a matter of producing relevant information.

Related Article: Your Target Audience Awaits in These Niche Social Networks

Step Two: Establish Your Expertise

Before you can start offering up reliable information, you need to set yourself apart from your competition by establishing yourself as an expert in your field. Blogs and social media are the best ways to demonstrate your expertise—and you can use these platforms to solve problems and address the most significant concerns your prospects have.

Remember, the more respected and influential you become, the more you will benefit from inquiries, questions, and interaction. Ensure that you encourage audience engagement and let your followers know that if they require help, you should be their one-stop-shop for assistance. 

By offering yourself as a valuable resource, you increase your chance of generating quality leads, and you develop a more impressive online presence for your business.

Step Three: Give Your Audience What They Want

Individuals use social media platforms to socialize—not to view constant advertisements. Pitching your business and showing off is something that belongs on billboards—not on social media. Your social profile should be engaging, personal and human. 

Social media is about building relationships, and providing high-quality, consistent content can be beneficial in this regard.

Determine what your audience is looking for you to provide; include writing blogs about products, information on customer questions, tutorials and how-to guides, as well as ratings and reviews. What you offer in your content is your way of convincing them that they should come to you. Be dependable, engaging and informative—without asking for anything in return.

Related Article: You're Doing it Wrong! 5 Don'ts in Facebook Advertising

Step Four: Be Social

At a minimum, when you're on social media you should be reaching out to the people talking about you—by monitoring your brand name to know when you are mentioned. Too many businesses forget the importance of simply listening to their audience and being responsive. 

The more you miss out on relevant conversations, the more you neglect opportunities to build new relationships, answer questions, convert leads, upsell current customers and recruit brand advocates. What's more, understanding the terms that people use about your brand can be useful in crafting your message for future marketing campaigns.

Related Article: How to Build Brand Advocacy in 5 Simple Steps

Step Five: Know When To Nudge

Using social media for lead generation means avoiding the temptation to wait for leads to approach you. Though some people will use social media to seek out a business they need—you need to find leads yourself. 

Examine related communities and groups on a regular basis, and search for keywords that could deliver you to people in need of your services. Although you shouldn't be too sales-oriented, don't forget to use calls-to-action that encourage people to follow you, visit your website, and learn what you have to offer.

Using social media as part of your business strategy doesn't have to be difficult, and the benefits it can yield are enormous. 

If you're already using social media in your marketing, how has it been working for you? If you haven't considered utilizing social media before, how do you think that you might access it now?

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