If you think social media is the most powerful tool to generate more leads, you’re probably right.
But only if you use it strategically.
Nearly 75% of Internet users are on social media, the Pew Research Center found. Where else could you find that many leads?
“If you haven’t incorporated social media into your prospecting activities, you are working too hard,” says Lorraine Ferguson, author of The Unapologetic Saleswoman, sales trainer, coach and associate with Sandler Training.
Facebook generates leads
Nearly two-thirds of companies focus most of their social media lead generation efforts on Facebook, according to research from Social Media Examiner. Here’s how:
Run Lead Ads. They’re the most obvious lead generator with Facebook. You can pay to place them in front of your ideal customers. They include instant contact forms so people can show interest in your product or service by confirming their contact information already in Facebook. You can request any contact information or ask custom questions to gather email or business information, give price estimates or plan follow-up calls when they click on your ad. Facebook offers enhanced versions of ads, too – video, Messenger and mobile ads that can be redirected to one-click sign-ups, with Facebook collecting and sorting the data for you.
But not every potential lead will want to interact with you through an ad. Here are other approaches.
Post it. Facebook posts are the most natural way to move people to your landing page. The key is to get posts right.
- Pick one specific goal for each post and only include content that hits it
- Keep it to just about 70 characters. Engage prospects quickly with a short list, fill in the blank or question
- Include an image or photo with a link, and
- Make it easy for people to click through to the landing page where you capture contacts.
Create a webinar. Try creating a custom event page for your webinar. You can invite users, fans and followers to a regular cadence of events (monthly, quarterly, semi-annually – some sort of predictability so people know if they miss one, they can get in on the next one, which you’ll alert them to once they sign up). Then as you send more invites and the number of attendees increases, you can build buzz with alerts and teasers on the event. Bonus: You can repurpose the webinar for content in future blogs or posts you share on Facebook.
Change your cover image. Same goes for the cover image as for the CTA: Change it often – to coincide with your webinar, a product launch, industry award, etc.
LinkedIn generates leads
LinkedIn is a more powerful lead generator for B2B organizations, but don’t underestimate its role in B2C lead gen. One study found it’s almost three times as effective for lead generation as other social media platforms.
“Buyers are wary to have a conversation with someone they don’t know, and LinkedIn solves that problem for sales professionals,” Ferguson says. “Be aware that your buyer is checking out your LinkedIn profile before accepting a call from you, so be sure your profile is up-to-date and compelling.”
Then try these tactics:
Make more of the connections you already have. LinkedIn Sales Navigator helps you get a list of LinkedIn profiles, Twitter handles, Skype accounts and other tools associated with email addresses in your Gmail contacts. Then you can align the lists and send personalized LinkedIn invitations from your inbox.
Be organic. You don’t have to buy or build lists (on the individual level, anyway). Take a few minutes every day to click the “connect” button on the “People You May Know” list that LinkedIn posts in your feed. Add personal notes to each “connect” opportunity to increase the likelihood that those 2nd and 3rd connections will become 1st. Caveat: Only connect with people you know or share a mutual connection because if you pretend to know someone, you’ll annoy people and more likely lose leads.
Join and participate in groups. You can more easily target people who are like your current customers, in your industry or have an interest in your products or services by being part of groups they are. Get involved in the groups by sharing insight and offering valuable information – but not selling.
Call in the troops. Ask colleagues and employees to share your professional and company content. After all, half of them already post in social media about your company, one study found. Their reach can generate new leads.
Sponsor updates. Get your content more visible in the LinkedIn feeds of people who would most likely find it valuable. Native ads should be paired with genuine valuable content such as in-depth articles, eBooks and guides. Engage leads with images and copy that build intrigue. Write headlines that clearly tell leads how they’ll benefit from reading more.
Twitter generates leads
Twitter is far-reaching with both B2B and B2C audiences. To use it to generate more leads:
Make your bio matter. Many organizations overlook the short bio section as a useful lead generator. In addition to a brief “who you are and what you do,” include links to your landing page, your most effective lead magnet, latest or best content.
Make your hashtags matter. Twitter is in constant motion and if you aren’t in sync with what your potential customers are watching, they won’t see you. Frequently look to see which hashtags are most popular in your industry, with your ideal customers and/or in your niche. You can track and analyze hashtag performance with Twitter Analytics and other free tools. Some tools can help you discover the meaning of hashtags (and understand what will work best for you) and create and define hashtags specific for you.
Build a list. Twitter moves faster than the pace of business. To generate leads you might need to slow it down with Twitter lists. With it, you can segment your audience into smaller groups so you can stay on top of their tweets, engage them and start to build a relationship. Build lists based on smaller niches within your expertise, customer/prospect behaviors or buying activity.
Get in on Twitter Chats. Jump in on Twitter Chats related to a topic you’re an expert on. Participants are allowed to chime in on most hosted chats. Some have invited guests who answer a few questions. Positioning yourself or your company as the invited guest would be key to generate more retweets, mentions, follows and leads. For the smoothest experience, your best bet is to join in through a Twitter chat app.
Run Twitter ads. As with any social media, you can use paid advertising to target audiences and generate leads. You can choose geographic areas, followers of a certain account or specific interests to target your Twitter Ads. At minimum, you can run them daily for a nominal fee.
Instagram generates leads
Almost 65% of businesses recognize Instagram as a useful lead generation tool and plan to create more stories to generate initial interest, the State of Instagram Marketing Report found. Here are top ways.
Keep it light and short with a quick CTA. Instagram is the least fussy social media platform. On the most basic level, create content that’s brief, fun, entertaining and in line with your brand’s personality to reach new and engage current users. Users are most likely to get to the end of stories that are between two and 10 frames, Delmondo research found. Put the most intriguing content and images upfront. Most people who exit do it on the first frame so you need to hook them immediately. Finally, ask users to “swipe up for X” at the end of your story and send them to a dedicated Instagram page.
Humanize your Instagram. Sure, you’re a company, a brand, a solution – and you want to generate leads to buy into those things. But people usually connect better with other people than they do with a product or service. So create stories that include behind-the-scenes work, customer interactions and employee fun.
Run a takeover. Smaller companies and those new to Instagram have found success with “influencer takeovers.” You can partner with larger Instagram influencers for access to their audiences. You give them access to your stories for a day or so and they document what they want – which is ideally linked to your organization, product or solution.
Add a poll or emoji scale. Ask questions using the poll or slider feature (when you take a picture or make a video, hit the peeling smiley face at the top of the story, then add your poll or slider). Instagram will track the results and reveal them as people swipe down later. You can reach out to the people who took the poll or slid your emoji.