You’ve heard, time and time again, the value of social media marketing. Hell, you likely created a few accounts back in the day. You started with enthusiasm, but this fizzled as you saw little return on investment.
Now they lay dormant, last online… a long time ago.
In that time, you’ve seen new competitors hit the market. You’ve seen them do wondrous things with social media. They’re giving you a run for your money, and chipping away at your profits.
It’s time to get back into social media marketing.
You can’t deny the value it has in delivering business leads. You can’t avoid it, either, as more and more customers create accounts. This guide is a deep dive for all those small biz owners ready to make social media work.
In this guide, you’ll learn about the most important platforms to be on. Then, discover a handful of powerful techniques for lead generation using them. Finally, you’ll get a few resources and bonus tips to double your potential ROI.
The Worthwhile Social Media Platforms
Almost every website and app has some form of social media elements. That doesn’t mean you should be on every one of them. Instead, you need to refine your selection so you’re not wasting time and resources.
Social Platforms for Lead Gen
The important platforms to be on are as follows:
- Facebook — Reach more than 2 billion people globally, plus get access to Instagram
- LinkedIn — The ideal social platform for B2B leads, and a perfect channel to show off your expertise
- YouTube — The largest video platform, a perfect avenue to tap lead gen through video marketing
- Twitter — Instant comms with huge impact when you take part in discussions and outreach
- Reddit — The largest forum-like platform, this is where you’ll go to reach niche communities
- Yelp — Get reviewed and build online rep using the Web’s largest business review platform
- Pinterest — A massive content sharing site, and also great for community building
Of these, at least create accounts for Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. These three gives your business the largest reach. Plus, efforts overlap when repurposing content between channels (more on that later).
Getting Good with Social
Social media marketing doesn’t work when you aren’t familiar with the social platform. And, no, you don’t need to buy a $297+ marketing product to learn them. All you need to do is lurk and become part of the community.
Each platform has its own in-jokes, groups, and memes. So you don’t make a fool of yourself, lurk until you get a broad idea of how users use the platform.
- Community trends
- Popular users
- Post formatting
There are nuances for each platform you won’t “get” until you’re using it. Learn by doing, create an account and start engaging with others. And, explore the platform with an alt account if you don’t wish to appear amateur.
Spend a good week learning the basics.
Lead gen through social get easier once you’re set up and comfortable with the platform. Likewise, you’ll grab the branded names before someone snipes them!
Now, let’s get onto the good stuff…
Generate Business Leads with These Strategies
It’s worth noting, as you move through this list, the value of commitment. Most lead generating strategies take time to mature. Bouncing between these strategies never provides enough feedback to maximize your efforts.
Pick one of the strategies below and use it for a month. Then, move onto the next while maintaining the prior efforts. In a year’s time, you’ll have enough data to refine your use of strategies — delivering better returns.
That said… here are 11 ways to generate leads using social media.
1. Give Something Away
Giving something away is one of the easiest and quickest ways to spur engagement. Yet, what’s given away needs to be relevant to users. You don’t want to attract freebie hunters, who throw off the data.
Try giving away the following:
- Premium content (something people would pay for)
- A lower-tier product or service (to make a good impression)
Think of this as a loss leader as you’d find in retail stores. This strategy gets people talking and sharing the giveaway. You can then funnel participants into a list later used in campaigns (with permission).
- Pick an offer from what does well at your business
- Post a picture, hashtag, and submission form
- Promote and run the contest, then pick a winner
You could also use the participation for a review or quote. The quote/feedback could turn into a great testimonial used in campaigns!
2. Get Active in the Community
People buy from people they trust. A good way of building trust is by sharing your expertise. What better way to do so than in the public, on social media?
Here’s how you can get active:
- Search Google for users and online groups related to your industry
- Join and begin interacting with users, leaving responses to discussions
- Share something great, answering a big question held by many
Your repeated helpfulness will build your brand and authority. Later on, you can drop a link to your business offers. A person having gained from your engagement may find it beneficial to become a customer!
Other ways to interact with the community include:
- Sponsoring groups or a cause
- Creating something for the community (eg. a helpful tool)
- Attending meetups, events, and conferences
What you’re doing is marking your presence. As people notice you, they’ll become attuned to your message. Plunk a promo in there and you’ll get leads!
3. Create Video Content
Pictures are great but a video is better because it adds flavor. With video, people pick up on your mannerisms and tone. You’ll create a following because of your personality and ability to entertain/educate.
Video content is easy:
- Take out your phone and attach it to a tripod
- Sit in front of a wall with lights facing you
- Spend 5 to 10 mins talking about something in your business
- Edit the video, removing boring bits and add a few title cards
- Render and upload it to YouTube
- Bonus: Apply YouTube optimization to rank better
And like that, you have video content for your social platforms. You can then repurpose the video for other platforms supporting video. Or, embed it in content and share that link in a status update.
Try these with video content, too:
- Interview interesting people in your industry
- Get testimonials and use cases for your offers
- Create tutorials and helpful guides
You could even transcribe the video for blog content. Or, strip the audio and re-upload it as a short podcast. Each variant becomes another piece you could share with your social media followers.
4. Live Stream
Live streaming is video content on steroids because it’s unfiltered. There isn’t a disconnect between you and the audience with live streaming. Because of this, the audience picks up on the nuances that’ll turn them into fans.
Where could you live stream? Try:
- Facebook Live
- LinkedIn Live
There are a million things you can do with your live stream. A good example is answering questions held by the community. Or, sharing your expertise and providing helpful suggestions when using your goods.
There are neat ways to reuse live streams, too:
- Clip snippets and reuse for individual status updates
- Repackage the live stream into a webinar
- Gate it and create an “in” community of the most loyal followers
You can explore live streaming using a webcam for about $50. Or, use your phone and the live streaming features built into social apps. Announce the date to build hype or do it out-of-the-blue, you’re bound to get some viewers!
Attach a call-to-action in and at the end of the video to funnel leads.
5. Mingle with the Influencers
Influencer marketing is likely the future of online marketing. People trust influencers and hold onto every word they say. A mention an influencer could send tons of people to your profile or site.
Like in business — create relationships:
- Begin following influencers in your industry
- Engage in their discussions and make yourself known
- Send a private message or connect via LinkedIn if it’s professional
Your connection with influencers rubs off on your brand. People following influencers will port their attention your way by association. You can then leverage that to build a community.
Try one of these with influencer marketing:
- Run paid campaigns having them promote an offer on your behalf
- Interview influencers and create round-up content for followers
Try using BuzzSumo or browse Twitter lists to get a start.
6. Funnel Followers into Lists
It’s that whole “power of the email list” thing you hear about. In this case, you’ll funnel social followers into your email marketing lists. By dripping great content and promos, you’ll turn leads into customers.
Here’s how it can work:
- Hold a contest or promote a great piece of content
- Funnel users to a landing page, optimized for signups
- Follow-up with an introductory email
- Drip content, promotions, and discounts
You can also reuse the email engagement in social. Try polling followers and turn their responses into content. Or, see if people will submit testimonials.
That brings us to…
7. Tap User Generated Content
User-generated content is exactly as it sounds.
People love talking about themselves, it’s why many take to social media. Yet, few have a big platform to reach others in their communities. Why not give them the platform by letting them submit content or “take over” your feed?
Here’s what you’d do:
- Put out a call saying you’d love if people submitted a story
- Collect the best ones and publish them on your site (with their permission)
- Share the content across the social channels (bonus points if it’s video)
Users seeing their work promoted will join in with the promotion. They’ll also get their friends helping to promote the content. That gives you reach and leads!
8. Scratch an Itch (or Back)
Explore something trending others lack the resources in trying. This could be those off-the-wall experiments left unanswered. Or, having a laugh and playing into the community memes.
- Prop up people in your community you think deserves the attention
- Leave recommendations, suggestions, and feedback
- Highlight your audience and best customers
It’s the, “you scratch my back, I scratch yours” type of thinking. By doing good to others, the goodwill returns by way of lead gen. People like being a part of a community if it’s positive and fun.
9. Try a Paid Campaign
Social media platforms collect a lot of user data. The platforms then turn around and give advertisers incredible access to this data. With ads, you can target the most niche members of your community.
An example campaign on FB looks like this:
- Import your customer list to create a lookalike audience
- Add the creative, copy, and link to a product page
- Refine the targeted selection
- Set a budget and run the campaign
Your message is now delivering to people based on any number of factors. This could be their location and demographics to age and interests. Your campaigns speak to the audience, delivering exactly what they want.
You can also do this on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and others. Start small and split test the campaigns until you see a good ROI. Then, once it’s looking good, dump more money into the ad budget and collect those leads!
10. Empower Your Employees
Give the controls of your social media to your employees. Create an account for every employee that would like to be social. In doing so, you now have more presence on the social platforms — creating new lead funnels.
What could the employees do on social for you? Consider:
- Customer support and retention
- Content sharing and promotion
- Community moderation and engagement
Set a policy on how employees use social media when representing the business. But otherwise, let them get out there and make connections. Give them the tools needed to funnel engaged parties back to the business.
You could also:
- Let employees create and share content on the business blog
- Shoot videos and upload it to the company’s YT channel
Everyone becomes a marketing agent when they’re given the chance!
11. Be Local
Don’t lose sight of your local customers when getting online. Get active in the community and turn offline interactions into online engagement.
- Attend and live blog local events
- Take and share photos and videos of meetups
- Interview or get user content from walk-ins
Paid ads on a local level are powerful. Why? Because you’re not up against mega businesses targeting everyone online.
Find people via:
- Local search filters
- Facebook or LinkedIn events
You could try starting a local business group, too. This lets you become the local authority while building great business connections. With these connections, you can do cross promotions and joint venture ships.
Scaling Your Lead Gen Efforts (The Bonus Tips)
Scaling your lead generation strategies is simple. How so? Well, because you have verifiable data to drive your decisions.
Lead Generation Optimization
Optimizing marketing campaigns happen when you do the following:
- Analyze the data and feedback
- Create variants for split testing
- Removing under-performers, investing in what works
An example includes placing resources in landing pages with the goal of email opt-ins. Or, doubling down on video if you notice YouTube acting as a better social platform for leads.
Here is what you’d do:
- Set goals in Google Analytics
- Change one element (eg. “buy now” vs “add to cart”)
- Send traffic and leads to each version of the page
- Measure conversion rates and choose a winner
- Repeat steps 1 through 4
Before long, you’ll have refined the lead generation strategy. A small uptick in conversions, when scaled, will create huge profit margins.
Social Media and Lead Automation
Your second scaling opportunity is in automation.
Automation lets you plan and pre-populate social media campaigns. Automation also streamlines the lead generation and conversion funnel. The time saved gets reinvested in social media participating and business doings.
Explore tools like:
…or some of the others in our list of SMM tools.
Populate your social feeds with content you found well-received via analytics. Then, add a few promotional posts in-between informational updates. But, make sure you’re participating during normal hours — to add the human effect.
Will You Finally Commit to Social Media?
It’s time to revive those dead social media accounts.
Get to work by learning the platforms and their nuances. Then, pick a strategy and commit until you have ample data to drive decisions. Afterward, scale the efforts by reinvesting resources and exploring new, challenging strategies.
And, if you’re still having trouble getting business leads with social… let’s talk.
We offer a multitude of online marketing services you’ll find rewarding. Give us a call, 800-651-7181, or see our services for the details. We’re ready to grow your business online… are you?