Lead generation is one of the toughest, but most essential parts of sales and marketing. It can’t be done as a one-off or even on a semi-regular basis.
[tweet_quote hashtags=”#Selling” ]No, lead generation is not a project, but rather the constant process every sales force needs to survive. [/tweet_quote]Identifying quality potential buyers is what keeps the sales agents productive and efficient. While there are many strategies for lead generation, one of the most economic and powerful tools that businesses can take advantage of is social media. In the past decade, social media has exploded, becoming an entity unto itself and now playing an integral part in the daily lives of individuals and businesses. Whether it’s learning the interface or just selecting from the sheer number of options, approaching social media as a lead generation tool may seem daunting at first, but here’s some tips to make it simpler.
Social Media Network Resources
These days it seems like almost every business has a Facebook page and many are also carving their way into Twitter and LinkedIn, but lead generation shouldn’t exclusively be tied to these three mega-channels because niche channels like Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, and SlideShare also offer valuable interactions with potential leads in different ways. The key to knowing which networks are the best for an individual business is knowing what audience is trying to be reached. Do the research on where potential clients are spending their social media hours, whether it’s LinkedIn forums or Twitter chats, and focus on those areas.
Reaching out to more people on the networks is also easier than ever, with Twitter lead generation cards and Facebook’s social ads and objective-based advertising becoming increasingly sophisticated and simpler to use.
Regardless of the industry, people are driven by quality and, especially for social media, shareable content. Developing a content strategy is integral to any online marketing efforts and teams should strive towards content that is educational, entertaining, inspirational, and drives people to click-through and share.
Listen and Engage
Technology and a wave of renewed social responsibility has changed the way customers, especially those in the millennial generation, want to interact with companies they patronize. In other words, customers want the companies to listen and engage with them and social media is so far the best way to do this. Using tools like Twitter Search, marketers can get an idea of what people are saying in conversations that are contextually relevant to products or services they’re trying to market. For instance, following the hashtag “new puppy” can give a company selling pet products hints about which people to follow, to create/publish content that answers specific questions/issues, as well as find influencers in the social media sphere to build relationships with.
Engaging with customers can take many forms, but social media is particularly suited for disseminating calls-to-action. Make posts that leave open ended questions that give fans the opportunity to respond. The information learned will help identify what kind of incentives, contests, or promotions fans or followers want to take advantage of. Always respond quickly and positively to questions, letting fans know they’re important.
Don’t Be Pitchy
While it may seem like the perfect time to give the home run pitch to a captive audience, social media platforms are not the best place. People are constantly bombarded by advertisements and being overly self-promotional is an excellent way to drive all those potential leads away. Use the social media to build relationships with fans, offer them advice and expertise, occasional rewards, and eventually all they’ll really need to use the product is a nudge in the right direction.