When you hear the term lead generation, social media probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind…but maybe it should be.
With 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level/Vice President (VP) executives incorporating social media as a key part of their decision-making process according to IDC, social channels are becoming essential to building relationships with prospects and customers throughout every stage of the customer lifecycle.
Companies employing lead generation strategies on social media are able to achieve better results throughout the funnel—building brand awareness and generating conversions, achieving better sales productivity, producing higher revenue growth, and creating a sense of community for advocates and followers. And according to a recent study by LinkedIn Pulse, B2B buyers who feel a “high brand connection” are 60% more likely to consider, purchase, and even pay a premium than “low brand connection” competitors.
In this blog, I’ll outline seven ways that you can generate leads on social media:
1. Special Offers
Everyone loves freebies, so consider hosting a sweepstake or offering giveaways on social media. These types of campaigns are something people enjoy sharing on their social channels, and by including an entry form, you’ll have the opportunity to capture important lead data. At the end of the form, be sure to incorporate a way for entrants to share the offer via their social channels. This way, participants can spread the word with their community and with every mention, you’re able to continue building the relationship by engaging and acknowledging their posts.
We recently partnered with Uberflip on their 12 Days of Uberflippin’ Giveaways campaign. Participants were asked to enter some basic information (name, company, and job title) to access exclusive content. This was a success on both sides—the contest drove many new names and those who participated received entertaining or educational content.
2. Polls and Surveys
Rather than assuming what your audience cares about, just ask them! Your followers can provide you with a wealth of knowledge, and polls offer a unique way for people to express their opinions. This is a fantastic way to get feedback on how people are using your product, what their pain points are, and what they’d like to see on your roadmap. You can even offer incentives to increase the response rate.
This Twitter poll from Pam Moore, CEO and Founder of Marketing Nutz, helps her understand how her audience feels about Snapchat for B2B marketing. Based on the responses, she can create content that addresses the issue.
This can be tricky, but if you play your cards right, referral campaigns can be a great way to engage your followers. With 92% of buyers trusting the recommendations of their friends and family, referrals are a great way to break the ice with prospects. Create compelling offers for both the referrer and the referees such as gift card or cash incentives. It might be the nudge your customers need to recommend you to their network.
With a social application that’s integrated with your marketing automation platform, you can easily set up a referral campaign that extends across major social media platforms, allowing you to grow your customer base fast. Since each shared message will include a special link that tracks the responses at every stage to the conversion event, you’ll be able to track the campaign’s progression and effectiveness and understand how prospects are helping to get the word out. Here’s an example of a referral campaign that we ran for our annual event, Marketing Nation Online. Participants were encouraged to refer their friends through social media for a chance to win an Amazon gift card.
4. Discount Codes
Flash deals and discount codes are a great way to increase brand awareness and generate demand. By including a strong call-to-action and time constraint, you can create a sense of urgency for people to respond to your campaigns. Many consumer companies are adopting this as a way to combat skyrocketing cart abandonment rates, but it is also highly relevant in the B2B space as well.
For example, Content Marketing Institute offered potential conference attendees a chance to save $100 on their registration by using their limited-time discount code. Want to pack a one-two punch? Discount codes can allow you to get even more granular in your attribution reporting. By assigning unique codes for each social channel, you can track which platform directed the most traffic.
5. Promote Gated Content
Promoting gated content on social media is one of the easiest ways to generate leads. Social media is a great megaphone to get your content out in the world, and by developing posts that direct to landing page where users are prompted to fill out a form, you can generate new leads and nurture existing ones in your marketing database. One of the most critical components of this method is to ensure your social posts provide content that captures the interest of your followers. Use images, gifs, or stats to visually tell the story of your content. According to Guy Kawasaki, “Every post, other than a response or comment, should have a picture or video. That’s one of the most important things to remember.”
Most leads take only a few seconds to decide whether they’ll read a page and give their information, so keep your landing pages simple and design minimal to avoid overwhelming your leads. Here’s an example of one of Marketing Prof’s latest posts directing to their virtual conference. It’s clear what users should expect after clicking through, and the visual is captivating and relevant to the content.
6. Host a Tweet Chat or Live Stream
Going live is a great way to directly interact with your followers and engage with them in real-time. By answering questions, gathering feedback, and generating awareness about your products or services, live chats give you the opportunity to position your brand as an expert in the industry. You can also drive cross-channel traffic by directing participants to branded content, landing pages, and offerings. A great example of this is Hootsuite’s recent participation in the #TwitterSmarter Tweet Chat.
Last year, we launched our #marketochat program, which is a bi-weekly Tweet Chat with our partners, customers, and influencers. It’s been a great way to highlight our unique expertise and build relationships with our participants. One way that you can encourage engagement is to gather a list of all participants at the end of each chat so we can send them a shout out for participating. In addition, we compile all of the Tweet Chat responses in a Storify and post it for easy consumption. With Twitter’s new Moments, you’ll have this capability directly within the platform. We’ve also found sending out personalized invites via Twitter asking participants to join future chats helps maintain engagement after the chat ends.
7. Paid Social Ads
With recent updates to many social networks’ algorithms, advertising on social media platforms is becoming more important than ever. These updates are made to give users a better experience, so they’ll see less promotional content and more of the relevant content that they want to see. This means that, as a marketer, you’ll need to supplement your organic posts with paid promotion to get your posts seen. Each social platform has unique demographic criteria that allow you to target ads (e.g. location, job title, age, industry, gender, etc.). Leverage the right platform and targeting options to ensure you’re going after the audience who will find value in your content and that you’re not wasting paid resources on megaphoning.
When you’re promoting your posts, be sure to include a strong call-to-action to get the most out of your investment and generate conversions. For example, you can ask followers to download an asset, attend a webinar, or learn about a new product. You want to ensure those seeing your ad have something to click on, similar to what we’ve done with our recent Facebook ad promoting our new Definitive Guide to Social Media Marketing.
Still on the fence about investing in social media as a lead generator? Michael Stelzner said it best, “Social networks are the fastest and lowest cost way to generate leads, bar none.”
Are you finding success leveraging social media for lead generation? If so, share how below!