How to Use Social Media as a Lead Generation Tool

There’s no question that social media platforms can help a company build their brand. Social media is a great way to demonstrate brand personality and create engagement. Using social media to generate leads can be a little more complicated.

Lead generation from social media involves converting casual interest into concrete action. After all, consumer action is the essence of a lead. We think in terms of people “raising their hands” when we have the opportunity to add them to our sales funnel.

But talking business isn’t necessarily on people’s minds when they’re on social media.

Much of social media today is based around the “long scroll.” This term refers to the generally passive action of browsing a long stream of content. Social media users scroll through their feeds and timelines. Most engagement takes the form of “likes,” emojis or brief comments.

 

Generating a ROI from Social Media

So how can businesses who count on leads interrupt the browsing? How can we get a consumer to provide enough info to become a valid prospect? How can we begin generating an ROI from our social media?

As we’ve often discussed, the very first price of entry is relevance. It’s important to always keep customer interests and viewpoints at the front of your mind. Don’t frame information around what you want to sell, focus on the solutions to problems they might have.

Using social media to answer questions and respond to comments in your field of expertise is a great way to do just that.

Chances are that customers and potential customers are already having conversations about your category. You can use social listening techniques like keyword/hashtag searches to find threads about topics, products and even competitors that might be great places for your sales pros to offer advice and guidance.

Creating these one-on-one engagements between your company and consumers on social media can be exceptionally valuable. It can also be the most time-consuming lead generation strategy.

Luckily, there are a few other techniques that can deliver big results.

 

Gated Content

Creating quality content is one of the cornerstones of modern digital strategy. Companies strive to gain customer attention from a wide variety of media. Infographics, videos, podcasts and other content is used extensively to get consumers interested in companies’ services and products.

To make content work for lead generation, consider making it “gated content.” This technique places particularly desirable content behind the “wall” of an inquiry form. Customers interested in gaining the link to the content must provide some basic contact info. At the simplest, this can be just an email address. Once a prospect has volunteered their contact info, you can pass it on to sales staff or transfer it into your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.

Once set up, gated content can be promoted on a variety of social platforms. Things like videos can be teased with three- to five-second previews. Other varieties of content can also be teased by featuring just a portion or an intriguing description of what the customer will learn.

 

Social Contests and Giveaways

Social platforms are a great place to conduct promotional giveaways. Facebook offers a specialized platform for running a giveaway that is specifically designed to help you generate leads.

When running your giveaway, it’s important to be thoughtful about the prize you offer. Your prize should be valuable to individuals who would be great leads, not so valuable to people who might just generally like free stuff.

For example, an HVAC company might offer a year of free furnace filter changes. This both encourages entry primarily from homeowners, PLUS, with the winner, it gives your sales team several in-home opportunities to upsell product and services.

As a general rule, you’ll receive more entries the easier you make it to enter your contest. Many companies will simply require an email and rely on future communication to build up their prospect file.

 

Follow-through is Key

Regardless of how you generate your lead or how much immediate information you gain, follow-through is critically important. As we mentioned above, a CRM system can be a valuable tool for managing your leads generated through social media.

It’s important to continue serving your prospects with content that they’ll find relevant and interesting. Things like “explainer” and “how-to” videos can be great follow-ups. You can also post this kind of content directly back to your social media channels, so the cost of production is amortized over a variety of uses.

The more active you are in communicating with your audience, the more opportunities you’ll have to get consumers to “raise their hand” and begin a conversation that could end in a sale