Marketers agree that social media should play a part in shaping their company’s image. Yet, many struggle to see how they can leverage social media to generate qualified leads and ultimately boost revenues.
Social media isn’t just another tool to round out your marketing strategy. It has become the most cost-efficient method of driving sales. It boasts a user base of billions in one compacted medium that makes it easier than ever to pinpoint your most probable buyers — and to do so without leaving your desk.
While simply generating user activity can help, it isn’t the same as generating leads. Companies need to realize that likes, shares, comments and followers aren’t guaranteed to transition into sales, but they will if nurtured correctly. There are five ways a business can improve its lead generation efforts by utilizing social media.
1. Know Your Customer
If you don’t know who you’re selling to, it won’t be easy to appeal to them. People use a variety of social media networks for very different purposes. Many B2B clients may be accustomed to buying and selling via LinkedIn. In contrast, consumer brands see the most gains by Instagram and Pinterest users reposting product pictures.
The key is to know which social media platforms your customers use and why. Many use a multitude of different websites daily. Your goal is to learn which services provide you with the most opportunities to reach customers and then adapt effectively to speak their language.
2. Share Engaging Content
Anyone with a social media presence knows they must distribute a steady stream of content to be seen and heard, yet an astounding number of them fail to realize their content should be interesting to their target audience. Surveys show that social media users are deterred by excessive promotion updates with empty messaging.
Instead of getting lost in the clutter of their news feeds, offer users something that will spark their enthusiasm. This will not only retain existing followers so that they’re still around when you do share an occasional promotion, but also attract new followers who wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to your marketing.
3. Follow A Timetable
Be strategic when deciding the timing and frequency of social media posts. Don’t lose sight of your long-term goals — identify when and why you want to create buzz, and use those conclusions to form a schedule. It’s ineffective to carelessly post material at random intervals. Keep your company’s calendar in mind as well as the times your audience is most active online. You want to maximize positive exposure and, more importantly, convert that exposure into sales. For example, it might be a good idea to make a daily post for several days leading up to a product announcement.
4. Listen Closely
Consider yourself lucky if your competitors aren’t already taking advantage of social media marketing. If you’re in such a fortuitous position, don’t waste any time in establishing a lead. But if they have indeed made inroads into your customer base, it’s easier than ever to catch up. While social media makes a company more visible to customers, the same characteristics make it just as visible to competitors. Keep an eye on their actions in order to improve your own.
5. Improvise When Necessary
As time passes, the strengths and weaknesses of your strategy will become evident. Make sure to critique both the good and bad to improve your efforts as you move forward. If people stop giving as much feedback to your posts, maybe it’s time to revise your outreach. Repeat your successes and treat your setbacks as learning experiences. New forms of social media are sure to emerge and the popularity of existing websites is bound to shift. Adjust your actions accordingly.
Applying these principles to your efforts will help your business take advantage of one of marketing’s most valuable tools. More generated leads mean more sales and referrals for your team. When the buying process is made more enjoyable for customers, you have built priceless relationships that will pay off long into the future.
Frank Paterno is VP of Marketing at IntelliConnection, a lead generation and marketing automation service. Prior to IntelliConnection, Frank worked at both MCI and Arthur Andersen. He received a degree from the State University of New York at Geneseo. He is currently the VP of the Greater Alpharetta Technology Network.