Social media has changed the way that we connect and find information. It has become a pastime as well as a business tool, a way to share, stay connected, find information, and discover new products and trends. With so many different functions across a variety of platforms, it’s little surprise that all types of businesses have found ways to effectively leverage social media. In this blog post we’ll discuss how to generate leads through social media marketing, and creative ideas that can help you start or increase your social media strategy.
How to Generate Leads Through Social Media Marketing: The Basics
Before you figure out how to generate leads through social media marketing, it’s important to know what who you’re looking for and what you’re expectations are. Run through these steps first so you’ll have a solid foundation to choose specific techniques and customize them to suit your business.
Step 1: Create a Strategy
As you start or reassess your social media presence and how it impacts your business, it’s important to have a strategy. A social media strategy will help keep you on-course and on-budget. Your strategy should inform the following:
- What content you’re posting
- What platform(s) you’re using
- How often you’re posting
- Who you want to reach on social media
- Goals for defining success and targeting areas of improvement
- How you will measure and report on your social media activity
- What software or tools you will need
- How much you can spend on advertising
- How much a lead is worth
Step 2: Choose the Right Platform
One of the keys to knowing how to generate leads through social media marketing is knowing who is interested in your business and how to reach them. This makes user data on any platform important. If you already have an engaged audience either on your existing social media, or perhaps your blog or newsletter, you have a head-start. You know who is looking for your content, which will tell you what other platforms you might be successful on. If you don’t have this yet, do some research into your key customer demographics, and social platforms they most commonly use. Here are some social media demographic statistics to get you started. Keep in mind that these statistics represent the population as a whole, not the user base of each platform.
- 72% of the American public uses social media of some kind
- Facebook still has the largest user base worldwide at 2.27 billion monthly active users
- Contrastingly, a higher percentage of the overall American population uses YouTube; 73% compared to Facebook’s 69%
- A higher percentage of women use Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, while a higher percentage of men use LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Reddit
- 68% of adults aged 50-64 use Facebook and 70% use YouTube.
- 79% of adults aged 18-29 use Facebook, 91% use YouTube, and 67% use Instagram
Step 3: Define Your Leads
It’s difficult to know how to generate leads through social media marketing if you don’t know what leads you’re looking for. Remember that you don’t want leads that aren’t interested in your product or service. There are billions of social media users, and finding the right leads on social media is more important than the amount of leads that you gather. You should know the following about the leads that you’re looking for:
- Who is your ideal lead?
- What information do you need to determine lead status?
- How to qualify desirable and undesirable leads
- What type of information are your leads looking for?
- What type of content (text, slides, video, pictures etc.) do they respond best to?
How to Generate Leads Through Social Media Marketing: 6 Techniques to Try
Now that you have your strategy, platform, and lead criteria in place, it’s time to find your leads. Knowing how to generate leads through social media marketing means combining content that your leads respond to with strategies that get their attention. Keep in mind that generating leads should only be one part of your overall social media strategy. You’ll also need to have strategies to engage with your audience, expand your reach, and reinforce your brand.
1. Contest or Giveaway
A contest or a giveaway on social media will help you generate leads and increase engagement with your audience. For your contest to generate the leads that you want, it must be valuable and directly related to your product or service. This might include:
- A free year service subscription
- Service upgrade
- Entry to an industry event
- Free copy or subscription of a popular industry book or magazine
- A free class or course
- Free product
2. Paid Ads
It’s tempting to rely on organic social media engagement alone, but it’s difficult to compete with businesses that are promoting their lead magnets through paid advertisements. Brands big and small have learned how to generate leads through social media marketing using paid ads. Boosting your posts on Facebook or taking advantage of sophisticated ad-targeting strategies will help to show your content to the best possible audience. Correctly implemented, Facebook ads can also be very affordable, since they allow you to narrowly target your ads. There are many different kinds of paid social media ads across different platforms, some which we will discuss further in the post.
3. Craft a Landing Page for Social Media
You probably have several landing pages for different offers or advertisements you’re running. When generating leads leads through social media, it’s helpful to make your landing page specifically for the platform. For example, you can optimize your landing page and form for smartphones, which is a common mode for most social media users. If you’re using paid ads, it’s also helpful to craft your landing page to suit the text or images on your ad. Make sure that your offer is directly related to your ad, or your potential leads will be confused, which will increase your bounce rate and increase your total ad cost.
4. Gather Leads in the Platform
If you’re using lead ads designed in the social media platform, such as Instagram or Facebook lead ads, you won’t need a landing page. Bypassing this step means you can gather leads more quickly, and increase conversion rates by removing an additional step. Integrate your social media platform with your CRM and you can send your leads straight to a lead nurturing workflow.
5. Use Valuable, Consumable Information
To generate leads through social media marketing, you must have content that your audience actually wants. This must also be presented in a way that is consumable and works with your platform and audience. More high-quality, valuable content will also produce more shares, and help you to increase engagement. Consider these content types and platforms for lead generation:
- SlideShare on LinkedIn: These informational presentations are ideal for B2B companies working with high-level technical knowledge.
- Webinars or Webinines on YouTube: Your audience is already watching videos, so a quick webinine or a preview for a webinar is a high-conversion option.
- Infographics on Twitter: Images tend to perform better on social sharing sites in general, but quick, consumable, but still informational content on Twitter works especially well. Pair this with a landing page for an ebook or another lead magnet.
- Product videos on Instagram: Videos generally outperform images on Instagram, but they should be fast and attention-grabbing. Show your product at its most amazing to get your audience’s attention.
- Courses on Facebook: Facebook is user-centric, focused on what the user is doing and what their life is about. If you have a course or instruction that will make their life simpler or improve it, this is a good place to advertise.
- Repurpose: Many of the above types of content can be easily repurposed. For example, can you narrate your slideshow to create a webinar? Do you have several infographics you could turn into a slideshow? Save your time and energy and re-use your content in creative ways.
6. Start a Discussion
Social media was designed to bring users together to share information. Most platforms have ways to bring like-minded users together easily, though the methods vary from platform to platform. Twitter users have hashtags and discussion “events” around particular themes or topics. Facebook and LinkedIn have groups. Pinterest has hashtags, SnapChat has stories, and Instagram has both. Whatever platform you use, take advantage of these connections to answer questions, provide advice, expand your reach and increase engagement. Have a landing page ready with informational content that you can recommend to other users where appropriate.
Knowing how to generate leads from social media marketing starts with understanding the function of social media: it is designed to bring users together and provide information. When businesses accomplish this without seeming pushy or invasive, they’ve integrated perfectly into the social media realm. Ask yourself what your potential leads are really looking for, and how you can provide this in a way that is truly helpful and sociable. Be open, sincere, positive and polite as you engage on social media, and you will attract users who will do the same.