When many marketers think of social media, they immediately associate it with brand building - not sales.
That’s because no one really buys products because of a Tweet or Facebook post, right?
Not so fast!
In reality, social media is a powerful tool for generating leads. In fact, it is much more than just a way to grow your brand and connect with your current customers.
When implemented correctly and combined with a strategic content marketing plan, social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn and Pinterest can help you convert more leads into sales for your business.
The good news is that social media lead generation is not only cost effective, it is a proven method that is growing in popularity.
Getting Intel Pays Off In the End
Business owners tend to be bottom line thinkers. Just like baseball managers, if a marketing strategy is not leading to immediate desired results, it’s given the quick “hook.”
What many executives fail to understand is that a quality social media strategy is difficult to implement and requires patience. However, the potential for high quality leads is enormous.
A quality social media lead generation initiative is not about Facebook “Likes” or Twitter “Retweets.” It is about bringing people into your sales funnel. That’s not the same thing as selling.
Think of lead generation as gathering intelligence on your customers. You’re getting to know:
- Who your target audience is and their interests
- Their main pain points
- Which products match up with those pain points
- How you can eventually turn them into paying customers
With millions of users on social media, it’s way too important of a resource to ignore. Take this into account. According to HubSpot’s most recent 2019 marketing statistics, there are:
- More than 2.38 billion monthly active users on Facebook
- More than 500 million users of Instagram every day
- Over 500 million users on LinkedIn
- 250 million active users on Pinterest
- 190 million users on Snapchat active each day
- More than 369 million users on Twitter active on a monthly basis
- 1.9 billion active users on YouTube monthly
Can you afford NOT to utilize social media as part of your lead generation strategy?
Content Marketing And Social Media: A Powerful Combination
A good community building social media strategy combined with high-quality content marketing is a winning combination that should lead potential customers to your company website or landing page and culminate with a conversion.
Blog posts, downloadable eBooks, videos, whitepapers and other types of content are the glue that binds your social media strategy together.
According to Hubspot, the most engaging types of content used on social media are:
- Written articles
By creating targeted content that educates, informs, entertains and delights your prospective customers and sharing these across your social media platforms, you draw these valuable prospects to your website.
Even better, by posting high-quality content, you increase the odds that social media users will engage with that content - improving your conversion rates in the end. In fact, Hubspot reports that user-generated content improves conversion rates by 4.5%.
By continually offering value to your prospects, your likelihood of engagement and loyalty with your company will increase - as will the likelihood of continuing to do successful business in the future.
Five Tips to Develop Your Social Media Strategy
If you are embarking on a new social media strategy or looking to restart an existing campaign, here are five tips to help you generate quality leads with social media and the content you promote.
1. Pick The Right Channel
Begin with an assessment of where your clients spend their time. With more than 1 billion users, it’s easy to assume that Facebook is the obvious choice. However, that’s not always the case.
For B2B companies, LinkedIn may be the better choice, while Pinterest or Instagram may be a better option for an online retailer.
There is no one size fits all here. It’s best to look specifically at the big social media sites and determine which are likely to produce the best results for your sales team. If you’re unsure, consider sending questionnaires to your clients about their social media habits and which platforms are most useful to them.
2. Create High-Quality Blogs That Are Shareable
Your social media strategy is only as good as the content that you create to educate, inform and entertain your prospects. Regularly creating interesting and relevant blog posts about your industry is required for social media success.
According to Hubspot, marketers who make blogging a priority are more likely to see a positive return on investment - as much as 13 times more likely!
3. Don’t Be Afraid To Share Interesting Content
Social media is all about interaction and conversion. Don’t be afraid to share interesting content that is relevant to your mission from other sources.
Not only will you keep your prospective customers informed, you get the added benefit of spreading your content around through reciprocal shares. Twitter and LinkedIn, in particular, are great social media platforms to connect with industry thought leaders who are always looking for relevant content.
4. Share Your Content More Than Once
If you create a killer eBook or an interesting blog post that results in instant website conversions, don’t be afraid to share it regularly on your social media feeds. If the content is good, others will not be turned off by seeing the post more than once.
If it’s really great material, sharing more than once will increase the likelihood that your content will be shared by others, potentially increasing website conversions.
5. Keep In Touch
Once a prospect fills out an online form to receive your eBook or white paper, you must have a way of nurturing your leads.
Downloading an eBook, for example, is a great first step. But it’s not necessarily an indication that a prospect is ready to buy. To increase the likelihood of converting a lead into a customer, you need to stay InTouch (shameless plug there) with emails and additional relevant content like blog posts.
This is where a marketing system like HubSpot is so valuable. If a potential customer likes your original material, he is more likely to continue to engage with future offerings. However, you must have a method of nurturing your leads.
HubSpot’s all-in-one marketing software automates this task and keeps you front and center with your prospects. Don’t let these hard fought leads just sit with no further follow-up.
Inform And Educate
Press releases, marketing materials and information about your company that is overtly "salesy " are likely to be ignored in the social media realm.
The content you produce and share on your social media channels should inform and educate your prospects, not tell them how great you are. People tend to be turned off by self-congratulatory promotion.
Social media is not about blatant self-promotion. Instead, it’s a valuable tool that when used with high-quality content will generate leads and help you convert those leads into sales.
David, a HubSpot Certified Inbound Marketer is the Chief Content Creator for InTouch Marketing and its clients.