Interested in social media lead generation?
In this article, we will teach you how to use earned social media to drive micro and macro conversions for your website.
By now, most businesses are aware of the impact of social media marketing.
But many still struggle with leveraging it for lead generation.
With 80% of marketers reporting their lead generation efforts are only slightly or somewhat effective, it’s high time they took a hard look at what social media can really do for them.
In this article we’ll cover the basics of social media lead generation, and 5 simple tactics businesses can implement to improve their leads.
What is Lead Generation
Before we get into how-to’s, let’s be clear on what exactly lead generation is.
Lead generation is the method of generating interest in your product or service from potential customers.
And because the way people consume media has changed, lead generation has changed as well.
Lead generation used to happen at trade shows and through newspaper and television ads.
These days, rather than brands finding the customers, brands must rely heavily on customers finding them.
That means utilizing the mighty internet and – you guessed it – social media.
Social Media for Lead Generation
Social media marketing certainly isn’t new. And it isn’t going anywhere.
Why? Because reportedly, over 76% of buyers feel ready to have a social media conversation.
One of social media’s greatest strengths is that it allows consumers to build relationships with brands. This no-pressure, conversational style has completely changed they way business’ can market themselves.
And it’s working for both brands and buyers.
- More than half of marketers who’ve been using social media for at least two years report it helped them improve sales. (Hubspot)
- 90% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses. (Hubspot)
- 83% of all marketers actively pursue social media marketing initiatives. (Aberdeen, 2016)
But despite all that, 63% of marketers still report that generating traffic and leads is their top challenge. (HubSpot)
Ways to Improve Your Social Media Lead Generation
To push fans and followers past the conversation phase, brands need to employ a few tricks to capture leads.
Establish Thought Leadership
It’s the oldest trick in the book…except it’s really no trick at all.
Offer your audience relevant, valuable content, and position yourself as a thought leader in your industry or niche.
You become a thought leader by identifying your expertise and routinely updating your networks with the latest information, valuable insights and ideas related to that subject.
When done right, you’re no longer marketing or advertising your products, you’re marketing your expertise.
Once you’ve proven to be a valuable resource in your given area, customers will naturally be more interested in your products or services.
After, all, over 62% of B2B buyers respond to salespersons that connect with relevant insights and opportunities. (LinkedIn)
Consumers today know when they’re being sold to; instead, you must offer value in exchange for their attention.
Make sure you’re giving it to them.
2. Share Links to Gated Content
Ever been to a website that offered you a complete guide, in exchange for your name and email?
That’s gated content.
It’s content that’s currently locked away, and is only accessible if you provide the requested contact information.
The gate essentially implies that what lies behind it has more value than what could be found for free in blogs or other media updates, so you must ensure your gated content is a tier above the rest.
It’s so effective at lead generation because if gives brands the contact information of those that are truly interested in their product or services.
If they weren’t interested, they wouldn’t fill out the form.
Take this example from Copyblogger. They tell you exactly what you’ll get — access to exclusive guides, tutorials and trade secrets — and all you have to do is sign up.
Other popular gated content includes ebooks, cheat sheets and checklists.
To leverage that content and collect more leads, make sure you’re regularly sharing it on social sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and twitter.
That way, when leads come in you can directly link them to your social media accounts and keep tab on its effectiveness.
3. Run Social Media Ads
Social media upped the ante when it comes to advertising.
With it’s ability to target highly specific audiences, it’s become one of the most effective ways to put your brand in front of those users most likely to convert.
And now, it’s gone a step further with ads designed specifically for lead generation.
Facebook Lead Ads work much like gated content. Users are presented with an opt-in form, but rather than enter the information themselves, Facebook automatically populates the form with their contact information.
LinkedIn Lead Gen Ads work similarly, auto-populating forms with contact information from their LinkedIn profiles once a user has clicked on your ad.
Essentially, it simplifies the process for the users, which means they’ll be more likely to submit in return for your content.
And the easier the process is for them, the easier it is for you to collect leads.
4. Host a Webinar or Twitter Chat for Lead Generation
This goes hand-in-hand with thought leadership and gated content, with the added appeal of live interaction.
We’ll start with webinars.
These are generally live video conferences or courses designed around your area of expertise — all attended virtually in the comfort of one’s home.
Webinars are a great way to wow fans and followers with your insight and expertise, and provide an excellent way to promote like crazy.
Create landing pages, blog posts and email blasts with forms to capture lead information, and send links out frequently through social media.
While live, encourage participants to interact and leave questions or comments, and make sure to respond to each one. Your response could lead them back to other resources or engage them directly on social media.
Webinars work so well because the value is often perceived as much higher than other forms of free content. And the conversion rate reflects that.
For example, Kissmetrics has claimed an impressive 22% conversion rate from its first 77 webinars alone, while Adobe claims 19%.
Twitter chats work similarly.
Rather than a live (or recorded) video, you hold a sort of Q&A via Twitter. You provide the topics and a list of questions, and invite followers to participate.
Throughout either you can direct contributors to offers or resources on your landing pages or social media accounts to increase lead generation and retention.
A word of caution: both of these take a lot of work to do well, but when successful can reap big rewards. Make sure you put in the time and effort required to make them worth it.
And keep in mind, if you’re not ready to play host just participating in the discussion can give your brand a boost. Leave helpful comments and suggestions, and if applicable even include a link to your page or resource.
5. Run a Contest
Running a contest can be a great way to use social media for lead generation.
But it too has to be done right.
There needs to be a prize valuable enough to incite users to enter, but for the purpose of lead generation, it must appeal specifically to your ideal customer.
You’ll also want to make sure you familiarize yourself with the different sites’ rules. Facebook specifically has banned contests that ask only for likes or shares. Of course, the process can be streamlined using third-party contest sites like Woobox, Shortstack and Heyo.
There are many different ways to run a successful contest. Some rely simply on likes or shares, while others ask for user generated content and vote on it in return.
But these aren’t necessarily the best strategies for lead generation.
Instead, encouraging fans to click through to a landing page where they must submit limited contact information will help you collect more leads.
The effects of a successful contest can last long after the deadline.
According to a study in 2014, “The users who interact with brand content frequently participate after the contest. Nearly 85 percent of people share branded content after entering a context, and almost 75 percent of survey participants said that social media competitions influenced their purchasing habits.” (AdWeek)
Sounds like a win win to us.
How to measure Social Media Lead Generation
No social media campaign is complete without a way to measure success.
To measure the right way, you need to start with a goal in mind.
Right now, we’re talking specifically about lead generation, which 59% of marketers rely on as a top metric. (Hubspot)
To make that goal as specific as possible, set realistic numbers. For example, identify a specific number of leads you want to obtain from social media for that business quarter.
While there are many analytics tools that will help you measure the success of your goals, Google Analytics is one of the best.
Best known for tracking number of visits to your site and where they’re coming from, users can also use the Social Analytics section to create and measure specific goals like new leads.
The Goals section can be used to track how many people have clicked on an ad you’ve run or to see how many times a location loads (ex. A thank you page for submitting contact information).
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Google Analytics.
Start Improving Your Social Media Lead Generation
While social media may be best known for awareness and engagement, it can be a powerful tool for generating interest and leads.
Remember, start with an achievable goal and design a strategy to meet it. Use one of the proven tactics above, or design your own way to meet your objectives.
Find a way to measure your campaign, and let the leads roll in.