Where should a business go to obtain leads? Social media may not be the first place that comes to mind, but it’s undoubtedly one of the most populated. If you need leads, you need to go where the people are, and as of this year, there are over 2.5 billion user accounts on various social media platforms. This number is predicted to reach almost three billion by 2020. Whether you run a B2B or B2C business, your potential customers are visiting and engaging with one another on social media websites at an astonishing rate.
How can you get your business to begin engaging with social media users? More importantly, how can you move them into your sales funnel and transform them into paying customers? Here’s how you can start generating leads using social media
Choosing the Right Social Media Website
The buyer personas you have created will tell you a lot about your prospects. This information can translate over into your lead generation efforts on social media, as well. Not every social media website has the same users, nor do they all serve the same purpose. Choosing the right platform is a crucial first step, and understanding the demographics of each social media site will help you reach out to the right prospects.
Take the time to dive into the research you have done on your target audiences, then research the demographics of each social media website. Here are a few known facts about a few social media websites:
- Facebook: the most frequented social media website.
- LinkedIn: a good place for B2B marketing, not so great for B2C.
- Instagram/YouTube: heavily used by younger consumers.
- Pinterest: majority of users are female.
- Twitter: often used as resource for news articles.
Create, or Find, The Right Content
Now that you understand where your potential leads are, it’s time to create content that they want to consume (in turn exposing them to your business and products). If you do not have the capacity or budget to create your own content, your only option is to find and share content created by others (preferably not your competitors). Keep in mind that creating your own original content is far more beneficial. Not only will you drive more users back to your website, you will also establish yourself as an expert and leader in your industry.
Here are a few tips for creating good content:
- Educate, inspire and engage, don’t sell: people turn to social media for entertainment and conversation, not to be sold to. Good content doesn’t necessarily plug your products, but serves to entertain, inspire or educate while exposing users to your company.
- Encourage engagement with a bit of healthy controversy: people want to share their thoughts on social media. Just remember the difference between healthy and unhealthy debate topics. Healthy = Coke vs. Pepsi. Unhealthy = Who are you voting for in the next election?
- Make your content gated: you can entice people to give up their contact information (email, phone number, etc.) by offering downloadable content that is hidden behind forms.
- Post often, but not too often: filling users’ feeds with too many posts will encourage them to unfollow your company. On the other hand , not posting enough will make them lose sight of your brand.
- Mix it up: offer a large variety of content that includes videos, images, infographics and blog posts.
Make Sure Your Sales Funnel is Set
Before the potential leads start landing on your website or in the inboxes of your sales team, make sure everything is set to receive them. Have a plan for when visitors land on your website. Where should they be directed to? Is a request form? A product page? If they have given you their contact information, do you have a lead nurturing campaign ready to reach out and then keep you top-of mind, or is there a sales contact who can follow-up with them? Remember that generating leads is only the first step in the sales process. You also need to have the right tools to bring them through the sales funnel and ultimately convert them.