The majority of marketers (59%) are using social media for 6 hours or more each week. (Social Media Examiner) With stats like this it is obvious that Social Media is a lead generation tool to include your marketing strategy. It is estimated that by 2017, the world population will reach 7.44 billion, and 31.3% of the world will be using social networks
In this post, I will explain how use Social Media for lead generation and start utilizing this fantastic tool to generate more leads for your business.
1) Identify your buyer and their Social Media usage behavior
Identify your buyer persona, which is (a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. The more details you include, the better). Make sure that you identify which social media networks they use, how do they use it, and the times of the day they are active on these networks.
2) Develop remarkable content and offers
Develop remarkable, educational and not too salesy content that will appeal the buyer personas you identified in the first step. Use the 80/20 Rule for your content: 80% of your content should be informational/educational, and the remaining 20% should be self-promotional.
The more targeted and personalized your content is, the more likely prospects and leads will engage with you. There are many types of content ( such as blog posts, white papers, infographics, memes, videos, webinars etc.) that you can create depending on your buyers persona and which social network you are going to use.
3) Create a plan to promote your content via various social channels
Identify which social media networks your buyers persona spends time on. Also, it is important to include forums and online communities in the list. You can run a survey among your existing customers to find out which forums, user groups or communities they use.
Once you compile a list of all the social media networks and forums, develop a content plan for each specific network, and a posting schedule since the content type, the text you will use in the post, and the time of the day the post will be published will vary depending on the channel it's being sent on, in order to attract the highest number of views and engagement.
4) Social sharing
Social sharing amplifies your message and your lead generation efforts. The question is how to get people to share your content? the answer is simple .... they need to get motivated to do so. Here are some ideas:
Referrals: Create a compelling offer for both the referrers and referees.
Contests & Sweepstakes: Create a contest and get your entrants to spread the word on your behalf.
Polls and voting: Since everyone has an opinion, and most people are happy to share it. polls and voting are a good way to engage your audience and compel them to share their opinions, in addition to gaining knowledge about your leads’ opinions, likes, dislikes, and preferences.
Instant deals: Create a sense of urgency with a strong Call To Action (CTA). A time limit can increase brand awareness and bring in new leads.
"When it comes to sharing on social media, pick the channel where you can best tell your story. If you’re better in a video, use YouTube. If you’re brief and quippy, use Twitter. Pick what you like.” – Chris Brogan, CEO and Founder, Human Business Works.
5) Facebook for lead generation
Facebook has nearly 1.2 billion total users. Over 71% of businesses use Facebook for business purposes, nearly 78% of Facebook users use the Facebook mobile app. It's crucial that the content you post to facebook renders visually well on mobile devices.
Constantly check your Facebook Page Insights to know the best times to post and engage with 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.
6) Twitter for lead generation
Twitter is a highly effective platform for targeting leads. Twitter beats Facebook 9:1 in lead generation. It has 284 million monthly active users. 82% of leads generated from social media sites are referred from Twitter.
High-quality content will attract followers and clicks, and if your content is appealing, it will be retweeted or favorited by Twitter users, and will result in a quick amplification of your message.
Consider to include #hashtags on your tweets to help increase the reach of your tweets, as well as placing your 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 without using hashtag or @handle so that you don't offer your prospects too many options and drive them away from your main call to action.
7) LinkedIn for lead generation
LinkedIn has 187 million monthly active users. 40% of buyers say LinkedIn is important when considering purchasing a service. 62% of businesses with a LinkedIn profile saw an increase in customers. LinkedIn is the Social Media Network mostly used for business purposes.
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 business people, and posts during work hours receive less traffic. Remember this when building out a social posting schedule.
Now with LinkedIn groups the number of relationships you can have is no longer limited to the number of people you could meet. Now you can build hundreds – even thousands – of relationships with prospects before you even meet them, then leverage that trust by reaching out to prospects you do want to meet. Your success using LinkedIn groups for lead generation starts with being able to write about something important to customers.
8) Google+ for lead generation
Google+ has over 540 million monthly active users. One of the unique Google+ features that is considered as a lead generation tool is Google+ Communities.
When you join Google+ Communities that are relevant to your industry, and frequently post your remarkable content, discuss industry trends, and any news related to your products and services, it's a great way to engage with prospects.
Spend some time each day in each Community you belong to and browse the comments and posts that are shared. Consider contributing to conversations to establish your company’s brand, too. Seeing who is posting regularly, and engaging others in these forums can be viewed as a great tool for picking up prospective clients, as well as developing effective partnerships.
9) Forums and Communities 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.
10) Instagram & Pinterest
90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. (Sources: 3M Corporation and Zabisco) This stat show that it is important that you are consistently using images in your marketing messages.
Pinterest has about 53 million monthly active users and can be used to curate visual content like infographics, videos, company culture, and even blog posts. Pinterest can help promote creativity, but always make sure that your content is relevant to your audience.
Instagram has around 300 Million monthly active users. Use Instagram to huminaze your brand by capturing events and office culture photos. You can also leverage the application to run contests.
Remember that to fully utilize social media networks and achieve your goals and targets you need time, patience, a lot of testing. there is no one model or strategy that fits all. It depends on your industry, which social media network you are using, your buyers persona and the constantly changing trends and best practices for each social media network.
I hope I gave you some ideas on how to use social media for lead generation, and I’d like to hear about your experience in generating leads using social media. Share your ideas in the comments below.
Inbound Marketing & Sales Enablement Consultant, HubSpot User Group Leader, HubSpot Platinum Partner