Social media has evolved into an effective marketing tool that many small and large businesses alike are taking advantage of to generate leads.
Though it may be tempting to set your profile up, write a few posts and wait for leads to come to you, this strategy rarely works.
In reality, when it comes to using social media to ignite your lead generation, quality is more important than quantity. That’s why utilizing an effective social media strategy is so important.
Over the last several years, many companies have started and abandoned social media lead generation campaigns that have largely been based on tactics such as posting goofy pictures on Facebook or Instagram. And, when a strategy does not lead to immediate sales or quality leads, it tends to be quickly abandoned.
After all, business owners tend to be bottom line thinkers.
What they fail to understand is that a quality social media strategy is not about “likes” or “retweets,” but about building and nurturing prospective customers and leading them to your website or landing page with high quality relevant content.
A good social media strategy should help you achieve this, and in the end, ignite your lead generation. Here are five ways to use social media more effectively to create leads and provide measurable results.
1. Be Where Your Clients Are
With any social media strategy, you should always begin with an assessment of where your clients spend their time. There are many different social media platforms out there, and each has its own audience.
In most circumstances, it’s generally best to look specifically at the big social media sites, such as Facebook, Facebook Messenger, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram. If you’re a business like a bakery or art studio, however, you may find sites like Pinterest to be useful.
How do you know? There’s a few ways to determine which sites might be the most effective for you:
- Reach out to your customer base: Consider sending questionnaires to your clients about their social media habits and which platforms are most useful to them. If you regularly interact with your customer base, simply asking them can do the trick.
- Research demographics. Understanding social media demographics can provide some insight into who is likely to use a particular social media site. For example, 81% of 18 to 29-year olds use Facebook, and more than half of all users are female.
- Keep in mind other factors. Do your clients have kids? What are their hobbies? How do they get their information (on their phones, computer, etc.)? Where are your clients located? All of these factors can influence which social media platforms they use to do their own research, share pictures of their families or even their tech savviness.
2. Create And Share High-Quality Content
Your social media strategy is only as good as the content that you create. Your goal should be to educate, inform or entertain your prospects, and create content that is shareable in order to expand your reach.
Regularly creating interesting and relevant blog posts about your industry is required for social media success. This type of content marketing - along with downloadable eBooks, whitepapers and videos - are the glue that binds your social media strategy together.
While you’re at it, don’t be afraid to share interesting content, since social media is all about interaction and conversation. Sharing interesting content that is relevant to your mission, but is from other sources, will help keep your prospective customers informed. And, you get the added benefit of spreading the content around through reciprocal shares.
Twitter and LinkedIn are great places to connect with industry thought leaders that are always looking for relevant content.
3. Share Your Content More Than Once
If you create a killer eBook, or an interesting white paper that results in instant website conversions, don’t be afraid to share them regularly on your social media feeds.
Won’t this turn off readers? Not if you do it effectively.
In fact, by sharing your content at different times of day across multiple platforms, you’ll likely hit different users. That’s because analytics research tells us there are best times of the day to post on each of the social media platforms, and as we discussed before, each platform draws particular demographics.
For example, according to a Hubspot blog, Tweets on Twitter perform well around 6 p.m., whereas Pinterest posts perform well as late as 2 a.m.
Not up at 2 a.m.? No problem, sites like Hootsuite and Social Oomph allow you to schedule your posts, as well as manage multiple social media platforms at once. If you’re only on one, some social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram also allow you to schedule your posts in advance.
Plus, if the content is good, others will not be turned off by seeing the posts more than once. If it’s really great material, sharing it more than once increases the likelihood that your content will be shared, potentially increasing website conversions.
4. Utilize Social Media Ads
Social media ads provide you with a tool to target your audience even further and more precisely.
Facebook Lead Ads, in particular, is a newer tool on the market that makes the lead generation process easier because it addresses the difficulties mobile users often face when expressing interest in a company.
Here’s how it works: When a prospective client clicks on your ad, a form will open that includes the person’s contact information automatically populated. All the prospective client has to do is click on the ad to open the form, and then click to submit the already auto-filled form. People can still edit their contact information, but the process overall makes requesting information much easier for the user. This helps make investing in social media advertising more worth your time and costs as well.
There’s many other ways to advertise on social media as well, and knowing who your target audience is and your campaign objective (awareness, conversion, etc.) can help you address which platform(s) you should focus on when determining how to distribute your resources.
5. Keep In Touch.
Once a prospect fills out an online form to receive your eBook or white paper, you must have a plan in place to nurture the relationship. Downloading an eBook is a great first step, but not necessarily an indication that a prospect is ready to buy.
In order to increase the likelihood of converting a lead into a customer, you need to stay InTouch (shameless plug here) with emails and additional relevant content like blog posts.
If they like your original material, they are more likely to continue to engage with future offerings. Don’t let these hard fought leads just sit with no more follow up.
Not sure how? Our article, 7 Simple Engagement Ideas To Boost Results, outlines specific ideas on how to stay connected and boost your connections.
It’s easy to make your social media platforms all about you. But, when it comes to your business, your primary focus should be on the client. Press releases, marketing materials, and news and information about your company likely will be ignored in the social media realm.
Instead, content you share should inform and educate your prospects - not tell them how great you are. People tend to be turned off by self-congratulatory promotion.
Putting all of this together into practice can take some time and effort. It can be an overwhelming process to understand the intricacies of social media. However, there are companies like inbound marketing agencies that can do all of this for you.
Inbound marketing allows you to market to your ideal customer, and hiring an agency is a lot more affordable than you think.
By creating targeted content that educates, informs, entertains and solves your prospective customers’ problems, and by sharing this content across your social media platforms, you can draw valuable prospects to your website.
Ultimately, an effective social media plan, with the goal of igniting your lead generation, increases engagement and loyalty with your company or brand, and increases the likelihood of doing business in the future.
Bill is the CEO and Founder of InTouch Marketing. Bill drives the vision and direction of InTouch except when England's playing in a soccer tournament, because everything stops!