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Generating Quality Leads through Social Media

You’re aware that social media has become an important tool for online marketing. Because of this, you have established accounts and pages on social sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You post regularly on these accounts and interact well enough with your followers. But have you taken the time to check if these accounts and pages drive traffic to your official website? More importantly, have you checked if you’re generating leads from your social media accounts?

Many people make the mistake of thinking social media is good only for brand awareness and customer service, and that it doesn’t really drive quality site visitors. The truth is that social media can provide you with a significant number of high-quality leads. The key is in knowing how you can generate those leads.

Why Go Social?

You may not be aware of it, but social media has been the top emerging channel for generating quality leads since 2010. This is only logical, considering that 23% of Internet users spend most of their time online on blogs and social networks. Experts have also found that social media has a hundred percent higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing.

It is no wonder, then, why 20% of businesses have replaced email with social media as their main channel for interpersonal communication. Additionally, 69% of online marketers invest in social media for the purpose of driving web traffic. If this isn’t enough to convince you of the power of social media in terms of driving traffic and generating leads, then you may be pleasantly surprised to know that 24% of businesses using social media are now enjoying increased revenue and 26% have seen a reduction in time spent marketing their products and/or services.

Generating Leads

The biggest advantage of social media is that, unlike traditional media, social media is an interactive platform that promotes two-way conversation. It allows you to impart knowledge and open a healthy discourse at the same time. Here are a few key strategies that can help you make the most of social media where lead-generation is concerned:

1.    Plan Carefully
Instead of adopting a trial-and-error approach, it is best to take time to plan your social media strategy carefully. With a well-crafted plan, you increase your chances of successfully generating quality leads through social channels. A huge part of the plan is doing research on your target audience, the channels you’ll be using, and the keywords you’ll be targeting, among other things. It therefore serves as a guide on how you can best take advantage of individual channels.

2.    Identify Target Personas
One of the best ways to enhance user experience is to tailor your strategies to target specific personas. For example, one of the personas you could be targeting is the “working mom”. Identify the age range for this persona, her key responsibilities in life, her possible major concerns, her possible key stressors, her possible purchase drivers, the places she is most likely to check for information, and the days/times she is most likely to seek information online.

You should then create content and launch campaigns based on the personas you choose to target. This is the marketer’s way of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. It allows for more effective communication and helps you build a stronger connection with your audience. Stronger relationships with your social audience increase the possibility of turning social connections into quality leads.

3.    Pick the Proper Channels
There are so many social networking sites; choosing just a few can be an overwhelming task. In most cases, businesses choose the most popular sites—Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Note, however, that these channels may not always be the best choices for accomplishing your marketing goals. You should also give due consideration to niche channels like Google+ and Pinterest as well as industry-related channels.

It also pays to go back to your personas when choosing social media channels. If your personas spend more time on Instagram than on Facebook, then it makes more sense to focus on that channel, doesn’t it?

4.    Crowdsource Content
What does crowdsourcing mean? Simply put, it is the practice of soliciting content contributions from an online crowd. The final content you post through crowdsourcing is therefore the result of collating ideas from several individuals. In order to make this strategy work to your advantage, you first need to build a network group with key industry influencers as members.

Community leaders, businessmen, industry authority figures, government officials, marketing experts—anybody whom you know has a lot to give in terms of knowledge and expertise can be an ideal member of your network. Once you’ve established your community, you can start getting the members to contribute valuable insights and then using those insights to come up with excellent social media content that can help you generate leads.

crowdsourcingWith crowdsourcing, you can get key industry influencers to contribute valuable insights, which you can use to create relevant content that can help you generate leads. Flickr.com photo by giulia.forsythe

5.    Use Sponsored Posts, Tweets, and Tools Wisely
Find an industry-related, community-driven website and start publishing sponsored posts there. These posts are like advertisements. They help you catch the attention of a large number of people who are already interested in what you have to offer, considering that they are regular visitors of sites related to your industry. Sponsored posts also benefit you more than non-sponsored posts because they target specific audiences, which means they are more focused and their results much easier to track.

Analytical tools like Google Analytics and KISSmetrics should also be used wisely and regularly so you’ll always have a general idea as to how well your target audience understands your products and/or services, and how successful you are in engaging your audience. These tools, when used properly, can effectively show you whether you are indeed generating a good number of leads via social media and if not, what adjustments you can make to improve your results.

6.    Go Visual
One study after another have shown that people appreciate visual content a lot more than pure text. This is especially true with social media. When people log on to their favorite social networking sites, they expect to see a lot of pictures and videos. From time to time they might see a post that’s in pure text format, but there’s very little chance they’ll find such post interesting enough to click on or share with others.

If you really want to make an impact on your social media audience, try to deliver your message visually. If you cannot do it in photos via Instagram or Pinterest, perhaps you can do it in infographics via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. You could also try posting video content. Video is the format that most commonly goes viral on social media. When done right, this just might just get you the most number of high-quality leads.

7.    Connect with Influencers
When you connect regularly with people who may have something to contribute in terms of generating leads for your business, you are improving your brand’s chances of getting more visibility. And when your social media followers see that you regularly connect with industry influencers via open discussions or even just simple chitchat, they’ll be more likely to hold you in high esteem.

LinkedIn can be one of the best platforms for you to connect with top influencers and build your professional network. Commenting on influencers’ content opens the line of communication, and mentioning the names of these influencers in your blog posts can get them to notice you. If your content is crafted well enough for these influencers to consider it worth sharing or linking to, then you’re on the right track towards getting more visibility and generating quality leads.

8.    Cross-promote
Promote each of your social channels on your other channels. For example, if you have a blog, you could link it to your Facebook and Twitter accounts to alert your followers whenever there’s a new blog post. You could also place social sharing buttons on your web pages so visitors can easily share your content on their social media accounts. Additionally, you’d do well to prominently display links to your social media pages on your website so visitors can easily click through if they want to connect with you on social platforms.

9.    Address Comments and Queries Properly
Comments and queries on social media need to be handled carefully, regardless of whether they have a predominantly positive or negative tone. The manner in which you address your audience’s concerns says a lot about you and your company. Note that most people who check out the social media pages of businesses don’t post comments; they simply check out other people’s comments and the company’s responses.

When you respond to comments and queries on social media, therefore, you are not just addressing the person posting the comment/query, but your audience as a whole. In cases where you cannot immediately address someone’s concern, at least provide an assurance that it will be addressed at a more opportune time.

10.    Consult Your Audience
As mentioned earlier, social media promotes two-way conversation. Therefore, you should not hesitate to consult your audience and ask for their input so you can come up with a constant stream of relevant content. Ask them how you can help. Check their comments and queries, and read between the lines to identify both their stated and implied needs. Post content that directly addresses those needs.

The key to success in social media is pretty straightforward. Listen more than you talk. Be sensitive to the needs of your audience and address those needs by directly responding to comments and posting relevant content. When you reach out to your social audience in this manner, you’re more likely to succeed in generating quality leads.

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