A Complete Guide to Social Media-Based Lead Generation
Can you name anyone other than your grandparents who aren’t on social media? Maybe you can think of one or two, but they’re the outliers in 2021. Also, even if they aren’t on Facebook or Instagram, chances are they still use YouTube and LinkedIn for the occasional video and connection.
Social media has completely changed the way businesses connect with each other throughout the past decade. What makes things even more confusing is the different genres and niche’s each platform fulfills. You can create a detailed campaign for your Facebook page and switch over to Twitter and realize most of your content is too long for their character limit.
Creating content for lead generation is a science itself, pair that with the intricacies of social media and you’re looking at an intimidating project. It doesn’t have to be that way!
Lead generation directly affects revenue by becoming a constant source of loyal, passionate customers. However, traditional outbound lead generation activities can be expensive. And what’s more, these old school practices have been losing ground, and fast, to social media lead generation efforts.
Social media-based lead generation delivers a winning punch, as it can increase sales with a smaller price tag. Statistics show that businesses can increase their revenue by 24% when they use social media to generate leads. This makes it a relatively inexpensive way of increasing your website traffic. It also gives a considerable boost to your brand’s online exposure. With the right tools and training, the sky’s the limit on social media.
So, how can your company capitalize on the networking side of social media?
- Figure out what common mistake your company is making when it comes to lead generation on social media.
- From branding yourself to creating shareable content, utilize the tools given to you on social media.
- Understand what will and what won’t work on each social media site. Your LinkedIn is not going to look the same as your Instagram.
- Create content that works on the web rather than waste your efforts on unsuccessful campaigns.
Common Social Media Lead Generation Campaign Mistakes
Although social media-based lead generation has huge potential, many marketers become frustrated when they try to get results. According to the Statista Research Department, 91.9% of marketers schedule and utilize social media platforms in their company’s marketing plans as of 2020. In The State of Social Lead Generation Report of 2019, news outlets found that over half of marketers who use social media were either neutral or dissatisfied with the results they were yielding in regards to lead generation through social media efforts.
Social media has become a full time job and will only continue to grow. The average person spends 145 minutes per day on social media, double the amount since 2012.
The key is to define what role social media plays in business lead generation. While social media has made advances in the business of selling things (we’re looking at you, Instagram), B2B marketing is a little more convoluted than selling fun jewelry and stress-relieving candles.
Here are some of the mistakes and challenges tech marketers face when trying to kick start their social media lead generation efforts:
You Don’t Know Your Audience
First of all, create an audience profile. This is a marketers first instinct when it comes to anything else, social media is no different.
Who are you trying to attract? Are they young professionals or middle-aged executives? What are they interested in? How active are they on social media? Do you know what social media channels your audience likes? Are they getting their information from LinkedIn? Or should you be targeting Instagram? It’s crucial that you know the answers to these questions before diving into the social media lead gen game.
Knowing your audience and the channels they’re on is the first step to creating a social media-based lead generation strategy. The internet is full of people who are looking for helpful content to consume. If you don’t narrow down who you’re talking to, posting on social media can start to feel a lot like talking to a wall.
Your content needs to echo the interests of your desired market, and knowing who they are will help you develop relevant, funny, and, top quality (shareable) material.
You Don’t Know Where Your Audience Is
There are 2.89 billion active users every month on Facebook alone, but that doesn’t mean you should put all your eggs in one basket. There are also 206 million daily users on Twitter that might not have logged onto Facebook in over a year, and vice versa.
You need to go back to your target audience profile and analyze their social media consumption habits. It is also important to note that every social media platform has a particular image and tone. For instance, LinkedIn posts are more formal compared to Facebook posts even if they come from the same brand. Same with Instagram, who’s been recently updating their own internal social media goals. (Why check your notifications when you can go shopping instead, right?)
Tweaking the same material to develop platform-specific content published across various sites will help maintain your brand’s message while staying consistent with posting styles that users have come to expect.
You Don’t Carry the Conversation
Now that you’ve defined your audience, the next step is to figure out what they want by starting a conversation with them. This begins with publishing content regularly on your targeted social media channels.
One of the biggest mistakes tech marketers make is posting content and simply leaving it there, just waiting for someone to engage with it. No matter how relevant, timely, or creative your posts are, if you don’t engage your audience in an online conversation, they’ll be unlikely to engage with your brand.
One of the most effective ways to start an online conversation is to accompany a post with an open-ended question. For instance, instead of simply posting a tech-related content piece about summer, why not follow up by asking your followers where they are planning to spend time under the sun? Posts are generally much easier to relate to when the content addresses lifestyle and not just business.
This also means you’re getting more information about your audience than what you can tell from a like or a retweet. The more you know about your consumers, the more easily you can create content that intertwines their personal interests with your company.
One of the best things about social media is that multi-tasking is basically built into it.. You can use it to increase your online presence and boost the shareability of your content. Ignoring the interconnective nature of the internet is one of the worst mistakes a social media marketer could make.
Interactive communication is what social networking is all about. Just having the option to comment on content makes your audience feel important. Responding to them, too? Now we’re talking!
The comment section is a good means of letting your audience know that your brand is listening to what they have to say. It also humanizes your company’s social media accounts, creating a sense of friendship that accompanies when someone follows you back.
You Don’t Remember that Not Everyone is a Customer
Just because you have a huge social media following doesn’t mean you can consider each one a buyer. In fact, not all of your social media followers are interested in buying anything from your company ever. Perhaps they like the brand endorser, or maybe they find your tweets interesting. So remember that just because they followed, liked, commented, or shared does not inevitably mean that they are interested in making a purchase.
Social media can definitely generate leads, but tech marketers need to understand the social dynamics and consumer’s journey. Many IT and software companies make mistakes by using social media as a ‘pitching platform’ to sell products and services. Don’t make the same mistake!
Consumer’s don’t want to be reminded of the fact that on the web they are exactly that; consumers. In reality, behind the screen, they’re much more. It’s important to remember that when you’re creating your content.
What tech marketers should focus on in social media-based lead generation is the production of top quality content that is valuable to a highly interconnected audience. Tech marketers should use it to educate and build trust. You have to get their attention over the hundreds of thousands of other content at their fingertips before you can ask them for anything.
You Don’t Have a Clear Online Strategy
Sure, you might get lucky with one share-worthy post that goes viral. The viral nature of today’s social media platforms give you a decent shot at making that happen, but it’s extremely unreliable. You might also go viral for the wrong reasons and end up reaching an audience of people who couldn’t care less about your business. Either way, it’s not worth banking on. The goal of social media lead generation is to create an audience of people who are interested in what you have to say, not a consumer that just happened by a post once and was never to think of it again.
One mistake marketers make is not having a clear online strategy to define future social media efforts.
Every IT and software company that is serious about its social media-based lead generation strategy should have an editorial calendar to maintain consistency. Editorial calendars should not only guide tech marketers on what to post, when to post, and which social media channel to use but will also ensure that each piece of content will get the best possible chance of targeted exposure.
Marketers can’t just post content whenever they feel like it. Each social media post should be professionally made, backed up by facts, and most importantly, approved internally.
Allotting a specific day and time to post online content will keep your social media initiatives from becoming erratic and unpredictable. A constant social media campaign will ensure that your lead generation results are consistent.
Now that we’ve walked through some of the mistakes tech marketers can make on social media, let’s dive into the specifics of marketing on some of the most popular social media platforms.
Social Media Platform Tips
Lead Generation on Facebook
Facebook still reigns supreme as the number one most popular social media website in 2021. Even while other social media apps gain traction, Facebook is basically untouchable, with YouTube being the closest competitor.
So, how do you and your company utilize this social media monster?
Here are some ways you can leverage Facebook’s vast reach:
- Play nice. Facebook is all about engagement, and they have rules. As a tech marketer, you are representing your company on a huge platform. So stay professional!
- Set up pages. Build an audience. Join groups. Create an official Facebook page for your company to build an audience. Apart from publishing relevant content and engaging with your audience online, extend the conversation outside the official page by joining groups and bringing outsiders in. The visibility groups offer can go a long way.
- Use a simple, short vanity URL. When you first create an official Facebook page, you’ll notice that the URL is just a combination of characters. Choose a good vanity URL that you can share outside of Facebook—in print, TV and radio ads, and on other social media platforms. Keep it short and simple, so it’s catchy and easier to remember.
- Create online brand ambassadors. Chances are, you’ll find very active users who visit your page. Empower these individuals by transforming them into online brand ambassadors. Bring in bloggers or even celebrities, as this is a good way to introduce your brand to new audiences.
- Engage. Now that you’ve set up your online stage, it’s time to engage. Answer queries in a timely fashion and respond to any comments that mention your brand. If users are mentioning positive things about your brand, thank them. If users are posting negative comments about your brand, ask them why and respond empathetically if they tell you their problem.
- Create shareable content. The Facebook Share button is a powerful tool when it comes to building your audience. Creating content that people want to share is a quick way to get in front of even more people who might have similar interests.
Lead Generation on LinkedIn
LinkedIn, which officially turned 18-years-old as of 2021, successfully positioned itself as the go-to social media channel for businesses and employees. Compare a typical LinkedIn post with anything off of Facebook and you’ll see a pretty big difference.
There are over 176 million workers in the United States on LinkedIn, making the website an undeniable potential asset for any company looking to generate B2B leads. As the question is with any social media platform, how does a marketer make sure they’re meeting the right people in a community so vast?
Here’s how to connect with the ultimate decision makers on LinkedIn:
- Search for connections and request an introduction. LinkedIn’s connection hierarchy helps keep the platform exclusive and professional. Find a common connection between you and the profile you want to connect with, and request an introduction.
- Join groups and participate in discussions. There are various groups you can join on LinkedIn, and getting engaged in a group is one of the easiest ways to connect with people without the need for a shared connection. Make sure to be helpful and authentic and always engage on topics that you’re genuinely interested in.
- Check out who’s viewed your profile. Make it a habit to check who’s viewed your profile on LinkedIn. You can take it one step further and message anyone who’s taken a peek at your profile to see if you can help them with anything. This is a great way to start a conversation and create a new connection.
- Play fair when building your lead list. Always ask to be introduced to people who do not know you. Adding people left and right without actually knowing them, or worse, when you have no shared connections at all, will make you seem untrustworthy.
- Stay active and relevant. Staying active on LinkedIn doesn’t just mean adding people every day. Nurture potential leads by publishing relevant, timely, and informative content. This will remind people why they connected with you in the first place. Use your editorial calendar to help ensure that your LinkedIn campaign is at the top of its game.
Lead Generation on Instagram
Facebook’s little sister app, Instagram, has grown incredibly in popularity in the last decade. There are 500 million users that use the Instagram Stories feature daily alone.
Instagram has recently updated their own internal goals for the social media app, pivoting towards a more video-based and shopping-centered channel. As these changes occur right before our eyes, how can marketers adapt to reach the Instagram audience?
- Give your page a personality. Instagram feeds are pretty different from any other social media. When you visit a business’s Instagram, their feed looks no different than the average Joe’s. Instagram clumps together all the media present on a profile page to create a grid that, at first glance, can represent everything a user thinks they need to know.
- Post quality looking content and images. Because of this grid feature, it’s pretty easy for Instagram users to jump to conclusions about first impressions. When your grid looks pleasant and high-quality, users are more likely to look more into the page.
- Make your posts consistent. It might seem trivial when you’re choosing one filter over another, but because of the nature of an Instagram page, these decisions are much more visible. Even if the content of your posts varies, the overall theme and color-scheme should remain the same.
- Research hashtags. Hashtags can be a beneficial way to connect with other users that have similar interests, if they’re used correctly. The last thing you want for your Instagram page is for it to be targeted by ‘bots’. These ‘bots’ find your page through the use of too many generic hashtags and latch onto your page, flooding your comment section with pointless promotions.
- Don’t make it all ads all the time. Balancing what type of content you post is important. One post can be all about the products and services you offer, but the next should be a grounding post revealing some of your company culture or interests.
Lead Generation on Twitter
Twitter users are 38% more likely to post opinions about businesses than any other social media platform. Twitter users aren’t afraid to speak their minds when it comes to approving or disapproving of a company’s behavior. This is a good audience to talk to when you’re trying to gain trust for your company.
Here are some smart ways to generate potential leads with a tweet:
- Schedule your tweets. Analyze your audience to see what time of the day they are most likely to be online. Allocating a specific time during the day for your Twitter tasks is a good practice.
- Use Bitly.com. Twitter is popular because the content is short, fast, and fuss-free. If you want to share article links, use bitly.com to shorten your URLs and track how many clicks they receive.
- Easy on the hashtags. Keep your hashtags to a minimum. One or two hashtags per post is enough. Nobody wants to read tweets with the ‘#’ symbol all over it.
- Focus on those retweets. The most recognizable feature from Twitter (other than their blue bird logo) is the retweet icon. Creating content people want to share is critical on Twitter. The retweet button is powerful in creating more connections.
Lead Generation on YouTube
Video has grown to be one of the most popular aspects of the internet today. Cisco recently declared that by 2022, 82% of all internet traffic will be generated by videos. YouTube has also stayed on Facebook’s tail for most popular social media app for years. This strong social contender is one that is definitely worth taking advantage of.
Here are some fantastic ways to tap into the power of video traffic using YouTube:
- Create a branded YouTube Channel. A single video is not enough. You have to come up with regular high-quality video content to keep your audience’s attention. Creating a YouTube channel will help you organize what you publish and help users find your content.
- Create a variety of top quality content. Make sure your video content is something worth sharing. Keep your videos short, informative, and entertaining. Experiment with different types of content to appease a larger group of potential leads.
- Use keywords in the video title. A good video title does half of the job of getting your audience’s attention if they happen to come across a social link. But adding keywords to your video’s title will help people find it if they’re simply firing up a Google search.
- Add relevant links to your YouTube videos. Embedding a URL that leads to your company’s landing page or Facebook page is a good way to lead your audience from one social media platform to another. If a viewer wants to learn more, don’t make it hard for them to get to your site.
- Serialized videos. If you have a social media campaign, supplement it with YouTube video content and release it as a series. This is a good tactic to engage your visitors and followers multiple times.
- Share! Don’t depend on YouTube alone. Share the videos across all of your social media channels to generate more leads from various touchpoints.
What Kind of Content are We Talking About?
Content marketing and social media go hand in hand. You need to have a good content marketing machine backing up your social media efforts to really be able to give your brand the best exposure. Sharing is really caring when it comes to social media-based lead generation! Here are some other content types (aside from blogs/posts) that you can create for easy promotion on social media:
Whitepapers are in-depth, authoritative reports. These are the academic version of a company’s marketing content. Unlike eBooks and guides, whitepapers are meant to be purely educational, making them one of the least popular but most useful content types available. These are beneficial to have embedded on your website and, from there, shared on your LinkedIn and Facebook pages.
eBooks are generally meant to be more entertaining than whitepapers but also need to be educational. Design is particularly important because eBooks without colors, images, and great formatting are generally not considered worth reading. Again, you can have eBooks on your website and share the page to create more traffic.
Infographics generally tend to get more views, shares and likes than other content types because they are a great way to provide useful information in a striking visual format. However, keep in mind that good infographics can be expensive to produce, so either figure out a cost-effective production method or don’t overdo it. Once you create an infographic worth sharing, it might perform well posted directly on your social media. Depending on the size, it could be a good fit for your Instagram feed. From there you can easily autoshare the post to Facebook and LinkedIn as well. Pair your infographic with a clever saying under 280 characters and you’ve got yourself a tweet too… Look at all that connectivity!
- Carousel Posts
These grouped image posts are widely used on platforms like Instagram to give a consumer more to look at in an interactive way. Posts or ads that users swipe through or watch on a loop can catch their attention and show them more than what can be contained in a single post.
How are you planning on revamping your B2B social media-based lead generation in 2022?
Generating leads through social media is a great way to stand out from the crowd. A good social media strategy can help you connect and build relationships with audiences you may not have been able to engage with otherwise.
If you put the work into building a great brand presence online today, you won’t have to worry about the shape of your sales funnel tomorrow. Through learning about the different social media websites, you’ll be able to create less content and share it more effectively across different platforms. The more you maximize each platform’s key features, the less work that’s in it for you!