5 ways to utilise social media in lead generation

Businesses have long known of the benefits of building brand awareness through social media. However, not all brand stewards view the same effort in the context that matters most: lead generation.

Instead of only emphasizing activity metrics, such as likes, comments and shares, refocusing strategy to convert those numbers into tangible leads will generate higher revenues — and do so by using the cheapest tool known to marketers.

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Here are five proven steps to turn social media followers into dependable leads:

1. Research your audience

The purpose of marketing is to appeal to a target audience. But how will you accomplish this without knowing a great deal about them? You need to learn your customers’ preferences to attract their attention — and eventually — their business.

Read more: How social media (using the power of mobile) can help you win at Omni-channel

Social media has become a diverse set of channels. For example, people tend to use Facebook for personal reasons, while LinkedIn is primarily intended for business users. A business may find their customers are focused on one platform or use an assortment for different reasons.

By knowing where potential customers spend their time online – and why they use each form of social media – businesses can customize their efforts to break through to new customers.

2. Distribute valuable content

When customers engage on social media, it’s safe to say they aren’t constantly looking for advertisements. They want to enrich their lives. By creating relevant content for social media followers, businesses can offer something useful while still getting their name out in front of prospects.

Read more: Every interaction is a ‘Moment of Truth’: why your customer experience strategy is so important

Many marketers apply the 80/20 rule: 80% of media outreach should be informational, only 20% used for self-promotion. Customers often complain about excessive advertisements, and crossing that line can turn away casual followers who could have been potential leads. It’s important to find the right balance for your given audience.

3. Listen closely

Effective social media marketing is a two-way street. When done correctly, users will interact with the brand rather than simply remain spectators. This provides a priceless forum for direct feedback that was once only obtainable through costly studies and focus groups.

Discussion pages can take the role of public customer support, creating a sphere for other users to find answers to questions/complaints and reinforce praise for the brand. The public element allows brands to tackle criticism head-on and reassure other customers of their quality.

If neglected, negative feedback in the social media age can take on a life of its own and spread like wildfire, so businesses must be attentive to the customer dialogue.

4. Use time to your advantage

Timing is everything — especially in social media. Any given user could be following hundreds or thousands of people whose postings compile their busy news feed.

With so many others competing for virtual real estate, content providers must be strategic if they want their messages to cut through the noise. Users are more likely to interact with brands on certain days and times, and even when specific events take place.

Read more: 7 massive ways mobile has changed brand awareness on social

Marketers find it effective to spread updates over a period of time rather than post a great deal of information at once. They should also be mindful of company developments – such as new product offerings – and schedule promotions accordingly.

5. Fine-tune your strategy

As your lead generation strategy develops, you will likely find some outreach attempts are more successful than others. Some postings may influence others to share your name widely and deliver fresh leads, others may fail to gain traction.

Take note of your successes and failures and learn from both. As you continuously engage with your user base, you will grow to understand their interests better, thus enabling you to cater to them more effectively.

With the growing number of people utilizing social media, it has never been so easy for businesses to directly connect with consumers. The overall convenience allows companies to reach out with ease. Meanwhile, potential leads enjoy entertaining content, which will nurture a stronger bond between the business and their audience. Following these five principles will help brands establish long-lasting relationships likely to result in future sales.

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