Social Media has much to offer for generating “buzz” and branding. But lead generation is an important part of the Social Media landscape which transforms your social presence. Social Media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and SlideShare gives users fantastic experiences in generating leads. This process is not easy and is not cheap, but if used correctly, will give results that are worth the effort.
Social Media and Lead Generation
Most organizations are using Social Media to connect with consumers and potential customers. Marketing has taken so many dramatic steps to provide better communication with people. Business-to-Business (B2B) marketing has recognized the value of Social Media so much that vendors have decided to use Social Media to reach as many as 75% of their clients. In 2011 84% of B2B marketers have used Twitter as a marketing tool. (1) Social Media strategies are a given for B2B marketers. Content in corporate websites has changed to accommodate marketing which gets organizations in tune with their potential client base and at the same time helps with current customers. Prospects seem no longer a far-off dream that can’t become customers.
The nature of this new marketing structure is excellent for nurturing leads. High-pressure is a thing of the past as Social Media allows getting prospects in an informal way. This also helps the organization stay on top of industry trends as employees are reading about potential clients’ needs. This puts a sales agent in a better position to make the sale.
This sways us into an area of prominence I call “Social Marketing” and has become its own area of expertise in many organizations that value the brand. Examples are Coca-Cola and McDonald’s. Big brands, yes, and they have used Social Marketing to develop new ways of reaching new and old customers. They have implemented Social Media to a new level. This is often called peer-to-peer influence marketing.
Peer-to-peer word of mouth (now Social Media sharing) is strong and trusted because people are not putting their reputations on the line by telling someone they like a product.
Which Social Platforms
You want exposure and all social platforms should be considered. This can be a time consuming process, however there are four I feel are the most important: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and SlideShare. Lead generation is the goal and each of these social platforms has their own distinctive attributes. Using all four helps you branch out. A good rule is that 70% of your potential clients will buy from you or one of your competitors.
Here are some parameters to follow:
Inbound marketing is not enough. Combine your efforts with outbound marketing. Paid promotion helps.
Create good content with solid offers.
Be clear as to what you want when your audience consumes your content and engages with your brand.
Social is a two-way street. Mix up your message with content and offers.
Create a call to action.
Creating content that interacts is crucial.
Use of Business Focused Content
Growing your followers is essential because it increases your visibility. Your updates will be seen by current customers and potential clients. Encourage employees to share company news and insights. There have been several ideas about the policy of employee use of Social Media. I am an advocate of allowing employee participation. This extends your reach.
Other sources come into the mix such as company pages of industry peers, commenting, and sharing industry updates. Content can be created from these sources which will give you an edge in the industry. Realize the value of content because it is your ally for being an industry leader that solves problems. With this in mind, you qualify business prospects, give insights, create a source of information that attracts connections, share a position as a thought leader, and increase reach.
A large portion of B2B sales is time and money spent building your network. Part of this money spent will be for ads on the social platforms. Most of social is at no charge, but not all. Inbound is not enough, so outbound marketing is a must for success in your overall sales plan. Explore what the social platforms have to offer. Be aware of the changes that take place in this area. Facebook has, for instance, changed their ad structure several times in the previous two years. The social platforms are very good at notifying the space of these changes. Take note how they do their notifications with press releases and policy statements. You, yourself, can use these examples to structure your publicity.
Social Media opens new horizons for content creators and marketers. By using the platforms you’ll see at once how leads are generated for your business. Your presentations will be tailored to your leads using both paid and earned media. Don’t neglect your blog posts, email campaigns, and infographics.
Use the various channels to promote your content and develop within your organization an understanding of your goals. Position and promotion are keys for your marketing machine to work. Your goals should be on increasing awareness, demonstrating products, sharing knowledge, and humanizing the organization. Optimize your content to better reach your target audience (potential customers) and you’ll have greater results at generating even more leads.
( (1) How B2B Marketers Use Social Media: New Research, published April 24, 2012. socialmediaexaminer.com