Social media is a really great way to increase your visibility, attract new customers, and generate more leads.
In fact, according to LinkedIn, B2B marketers who turn to LinkedIn for lead generation say that the platform is able to generate more than two times as many B2B leads compared to any other similarly well-known social channels.
The problem then is that not many marketers are using social media to its full potential.In this piece, we’ve pooled all of our information and knowledge (as well as scoured the vast Internet) to present to you the five ways that you may leverage social media to generate more leads.
What is Social Media Lead Generation?
A lead or sales lead is information pertaining to a potential customer including their phone number, email address, or physical address. A lead also typically advances the prospect to become either an active or newer customer.
In that sense, social media lead generation is then the process of generating a lead or a piece of information about your business from social networking sites. For instance, a potential customer might see an interesting piece of content about your business (called a "lead magnet"), and follow the link to find out more.
Why Social Media Lead Generation?
Social media lead generation is one of the best ways for any company to gain a competitive advantage by bringing in new business. Essentially, social media now drives more web traffic than any other media in the world.
Take Facebook for example.
The social media behemoth has over a billion users and captures about 10% of all Internet visits while each active user spends an average of 28 minutes scrolling through their Facebook feed daily. Also, 12% of the world's population uses Facebook messenger in any given month. Need we say more?
On any major social media platform, paid ads also guarantee that you'll reach a wider audience while organic posts can drive highly targeted audience segments instead of relying purely on demographics like age or location. Though, they do take more time and effort to arrive at their natural reach potential as content creation needs to be high quality.
Interest piqued? Not to worry, we'll get to the nitty-gritty details of paid social ads and organic reach in a few sections.
The Best Social Media Platform For Generating Leads
The short answer is always going to be Facebook as it is one of the most popular social platforms with the most active social media users in the world.
Facebook's expansive reach and building tools make it one of the top choices for lead generation. On this enormous social platform, you may distribute your ads to specific target audiences, grow your organic following, and monitor the progress of your campaign all in one command centre.
The platform also offers all the benefits you'd come to expect from other channels such as organic reach, paid ads, and lead magnets-plus it has some unique advantages you won't find anywhere else.
That being said, Facebook isn't the only social media channel in town. For example, LinkedIn is an excellent place to find B2B sales leads, while Twitter (like the aforementioned Facebook) is a great choice to organically reaching your potential customers.
Strategy 1: Organically Generate Leads
There are many ways to generate organic leads on social media but by far one of the most straightforward methods is to just continuously post content that generates click-throughs, likes, shares, comments, and followers — basically high-value content creation. The more high-value content you post, the higher your chances of converting social media followers into paying customers!
One additional tip would be to test out different types of social posts to see what content performs best with your target audience and also experiment with posting frequency e.g. on a daily basis, bi-weekly basis, etc.
For example: "Trying a new restaurant" might do well in some geographic locations but not others; "How I incorporated _____ into my life" might not perform as well among the 18-year old demographic so you shouldn't assume that a wide range of people will be interested or care about your personal story.
The key here is research and finding out what other companies are doing before throwing your hat in the proverbial ring.
Though, a successful social media campaign is one that maximises the combination of benefits of both organic leads while also utilising paid ads, which brings us to our next point...
Strategy 2: Paid Social Ads
Paid social ads are part and parcel of any successful company's marketing strategy and on some social platforms like Facebook, they're also relatively affordable. You can run paid ads on Facebook, for instance, to promote specific content or to grow your page's following.
In the case of Facebook, the global social media phenomenon offers a specific paid ads program for marketers and small businesses, aka Facebook Ads. True to its name, Facebook Ads are simply advertisements on the social network. However, with Facebook's vast reach and ability to target specific users or demographics, it can be a very effective tool for social lead generation.
Leads collected by Facebook Ads can then be segmented and uploaded to your CRM for tracking and additional follow-up by your sales team.
But apart from Facebook, there are also other social media platforms to also consider when it comes to paid ads.
- Instagram Lead Ads: Much like Facebook, Instagram also offers affordable advertising for B2C brands. When lead generation is your goal, choosing Instagram as a social media platform will also allow you to incorporate the same capabilities of Facebook in terms of targeting specific social media users (though with slightly less flexibility).
- Twitter Boost Tweets: A paid ad feature that Twitter offers is the ability to promote individual tweets using Boost Tweets. Twitter boosts your organic tweets for a certain period of time and in return, they ask that you pay them a small fee. Boosting tweets is definitely one of the better ways to get more exposure on the platform, especially compared to organic reach.
- LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms: LinkedIn also offers an excellent tool for lead generation on the platform, which are called Lead Gen Forms. This feature allows you to collect information from prospects like email addresses, company names, and job titles. And if a prospect is interested in learning more about what you have to offer they will either click on the call-to-action (CTA) or enter their contact information directly into the form on LinkedIn. This is a particularly important platform for reach as LinkedIn has a high conversion rate compared to other social media networks, so investing in this tool is definitely worth it!
- YouTube TrueView for Action Ads: This paid ad feature is one of the newest additions to the popular video platform. TrueView for Action ads allow you to queue up a specific video in your advertising campaign rather than using broad-based targeting like the standard (or cost per click) ads. These ads also have prominent CTA's that can link customers to your site or another landing page where you can collect email addresses and other pertinent information from the prospect. Ultimately, paid ads on YouTube offer a more direct conversion path for leads.
Strategy 3: Offer Compelling Lead Magnets
Ever heard of the phrase dangling a carrot in front of someone?
This is what lead magnets essentially boils down to. You offer something of value to your target audience in exchange for their information. This "carrot" can literally be anything from free e-books or reports to an exclusive webinar for prospects to free tools to discount codes, case studies, white papers, and more!
Other forms of lead magnets also include:
- Holding Contests or Sweepstakes With Prizes: Here, you are giving prospects the opportunity to win something valuable for themselves in exchange for their information. This can also be an effective way to generate leads at relatively little cost to your company.
- Special Offers: Another great way to be creative when it comes to compelling lead magnets is by offering special offers either exclusively for your target audience or customers. For instance, The Economist used Instagram ads to target relevant audiences which increased their social media referral traffic by 180% over a course of a few months. Similarly, Skillshare also employs the same tactic, using social media ads to highlight specific courses and to promote their free trial service.
- Gated Content: This is another type of valuable content (or relevant content) that is offered to your customers in exchange for either their e-mail address, phone number, or other online contact details. Gated Content can usually come in the form of the abovementioned lead magnets like a free e-book, white paper, or blog posts. Gated content still holds some value and provides something for prospects to consume before being asked to sign up and it ultimately has the potential of sparing you from giving away too much right off the bat!
If you're able to offer a well-crafted and high-quality lead magnet, it will help in garnering the attention of your prospect while also building your leads database i.e. email lists.
The gist of it is that the more creative you are in creating lead magnets, the more likely you'll be able to stand out from your competition and generate leads.
Strategy 4: Influencer Marketing
The growth of social media has created new ways to connect with people by leveraging the power of celebrities and influencers. As social media continues to expand and grow, it will be more and more difficult for brands to interact with their customers. But, through influencer marketing, companies can reach and create relationships with their target audience using the influencer's power, and well, influence by posting content relevant to your company's brand identity.
This also gives you the rare chance to collaborate with others on content creation for exposure and inbound traffic.
For instance, Facebook Live enables influencers to connect to audiences through real-time and genuine audience engagement. This means you can share an update about your company (via the social media influencer) about your product or service without having to set up a special event. And it's also a great way to bring more eyes to your brand with unique promotions offered to said influencer's social media community, thereby increasing your social media presence!
Indeed, it's relatively easy to incorporate social media influencers into your social media strategy. You simply have to make sure that your company is offering something valuable or special to them in exchange for their time and attention (i.e. cash, discounts, etc.).
Strategy 5: Run Referral Campaigns To Increase Social Leads
It's definitely no secret that oftentimes our friends and family members are the ones who introduce us to new things. So what better way to get them involved in your business than by running a referral program?
In this sense, you should set up compelling referral campaigns to entice these outliers into interacting with your brand — shareability being the keyword here.
One obvious way to achieve this is by using some sort of discount or special offer in your campaigns. For example, "Get 20% off your first purchase by signing up using my link." is a campaign headline that may instantly attract the attention of someone.
Another fun way to involve friends and family of your customers in the referral campaign is by coming up with a unique hashtag for everyone involved. Not only is it easy to track who is sharing what content, but it will also encourage Internet users to share their own social media posts about the brand or company, spreading awareness that much further. At the same time, it's also a great way to start beefing up your social media engagement.
Measure, Refine, Analyse, And Improve
Right. You've done all the legwork to come up with an effective social media lead generation strategy. Now what?
Well, you should obviously carry on with executing your plan and marketing efforts. Make it a point to measure your progress as time goes by. How many leads did your content generate (month over month), which types of posts got the most responses, which social media platforms are best for generating leads, and so on.
By tracking these metrics, you can refine and improve your overall strategy to ensure that the content generated is as effective as it can be.
In short, there are tons of strategies for lead generation with social media, but at the end of the day, success is dependent on how well you decide to execute your plans, as well as how you improve it progressively in the long term. So, be discerning in your decision-making process and always try to think outside of the box — you never know what kind of creative ideas you'll come up with next!