Editor’s note: This post was written by our wonderful Paper.li publisher, Ann Smarty. She includes many insights that are helpful to small businesses and entrepreneurs wanting to have success on social media.
According to a collection of statistics from Iron Paper, by 2015 a full 54% of B2B marketers had used social media to directly generate leads (a following statistic attributed most of these to LinkedIn). That only covers those connecting to other businesses; for B2C companies you can expect an even greater return.
Hubspot spoke about this back in 2013. They found that they were able to more than double their success in generating marketing leads through inbound marketing – including social – than with all the conferences, trade shows, floor displays, real-life advertising, and even PPC.
But I am probably preaching to the choir here; we all know the power of social media. So how can you improve your own leads? It is much simpler than you might be fearing. All it takes are a few new aspects to be added to your already running campaign.
Incentivize Both Clicks and Engagement
Believe it or not, you don’t just want one or the other. Clicks drive traffic which take leads and turn them into conversions. Engagement generates further visibility, which bring in more leads. The two cycle into one another, and so failing to corner both will leave you with an uneven marketing structure that helps no one.
You should be incentivizing both clicks and engagement in equal measure on your social profiles. There are plenty ways to do it, but some of my personal favorites that have been shown to give great results are:
- Hashtag campaigns that encourage people to share their experiences, anecdotes, or even jokes and puns. Local hashtags are working best when it comes to awareness. Research local events, charities and small businesses and use hashtags to attract their listeners. Use local directories to find those: DirJournal, Yelp and others.
- Contests that ask people for user generated content, such as photos that can be retweeted/reposted/reblogged and double down as effective visual content;
- Setting up a voting website and engaging your customers into creating their own wishlist will give you lots of insight into what your audience needs and likes
- Just asking! Calls-to-action can be a simple and powerful way to get people to comment, re-share, and click all in one post. If you don’t ask, don’t be surprised if they don’t respond.
- Give special offers for followers who share content. Have you ever seen those “Pay with a like or tweet” ebooks and webinars on blogs? These are fantastic, and you can do it with other things as well (giving points on services, discount codes, etc).
Paper.li tip: Use the Paper.li “Newsletter” feature to re-enforce your calls-to-action and contest promos.
Take Advantage Of Paid Advertising On Social Platforms
Social advertising is some of the most effective social marketing available, and for a very reasonable price. Add in the ability to better customize those campaigns, and it is no wonder it has become so popular.
But don’t underestimate other platforms and their advertising. Twitter is a bigger investment, but it is more open and public. Instagram and Pinterest are still newcomers, but it means you have less of a crowd to fight through with your featured content.
Paid ads are a must on social networks. So narrow down your focus and put your money where your mouth is.
Further reading: A Brief Guide to Facebook Ads
Hold Tweetchats To Connect With The Industry
Tweetchats are effective for generating both the clicks and engagement. Anyone who has watched the insane engagement gained through these live Twitter chats knows they have some serious force behind them. By hyping up and then having a conversation, you will gain followers, visibility, and (yes) leads.
Try getting some interesting guests or using some timely and trending topics to reel people in. Give them plenty of notice, and consider starting a bi-weekly, monthly, or even weekly chat. By making it consistent you can potentially create a list of regular leads that bear fruit.
Aim For Authority, Not Popularity
A couple of weeks ago one of my Twitter accounts (a personal, quiet one) was added by a celebrity – which is fine, I see no reason why a celebrity couldn’t add my sleepy, barely updated personal account. But I couldn’t help but wonder: why?
Taking a look at his profile gave me my answer when I saw his high number of follow backs. He was using a well-known tactic of casting a wide net and pulling in as many return follows as possible. His name carries recognition and so people are happy to hit that follow button.
My issue with this kind of thing is that it is technically fruitful, but not actively so. You are getting followers who will probably never bother to respond to anything you say, retweet you, or go to your side. These are not leads any more than they are valuable social likes.
You should not be aiming for popularity if you want social lead generation. You should be aiming for authority, and showing people that you are one. Be more selective, and your efforts will probably bear more results than if you randomly add people to your list.
Do you have a tip for generating leads on social media? We would love to hear it, so comment below