Everyone and their brother is asking questions about social media. How do you use it? How do you get the communities to engage? How do you track it? How do you measure ROI? All valid questions but one of the questions we like to ask is — how do you get leads from social media?
After all, if your marketing isn’t generating leads — it isn’t working.
Here are five advantages social media has as an inbound marketing tool to drive leads for your business.
You’re able to segment them. Before you do anything, you need a plan and you need a marketing strategy that includes all the appropriate social networks. The strategy should include the creation of target prospect personas. The physical profile for exactly who you want to attract with your marketing.
Social media allows micro segmentation. This means you are able to select, down to the specific person, exactly who you want to see your message. LinkedIn actually allows you to advertise to a specific company, to specific people at that company and to create specific messages to specific people. This is very powerful and highly efficient targeting. If you deliver the right message to the right people at the right time, your chances of securing that account are very high.
You want to educate them. Once you find your target prospects on social media, then you are able to work to educate them. Remember, social networks come with their fair share of tools to block out you and your company’s message. Try to sell them and you will find your company shut out of the conversation. But lead with educational content marketing and prospects will flock to you. Position you, your people, and your company as a thought leader, find something provocative to say and educate your prospects on an issue that demonstrates your company is a leader in your industry.
The result of this effort drives new visitors to your website. Once on your website, your new prospects need to have a similar educational experience and be presented with even more educational content, blog posts, videos and webinars. Once on your site, if your educational content is compelling, they turn from anonymous visitors into new leads for your business.
You want to convert them. As business owners our goal is to generate leads. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen with some thought and a solid conversion strategy on your website. This means you need to create content pages for targeted keywords and landing pages that convert visitors into leads for your business. Landing pages need to be simple and direct. Eliminate any extra navigation. Show your visitors a picture of what to expect when they request the download. Give them a few bullet points highlighting what they will learn if they invest the time to download your materials. Keep your form short. Long forms scare people away. A solid landing page should convert between 20% and 40% of the visitors into leads.
You want to nurture them. Just because someone downloads a whitepaper from your website doesn’t mean they want to speak with one of your sales people. Don’t make a mistake and turn that lead (remember it’s a person) over to your sales team. Instead nurture them. Take care of them. Educate them gently by emailing them reminders that even more great educational information is available through your company. No matter what your sales team says or does, no one buys until their pain becomes acute.
Start by sending a series of three personal e-mails. Recommend a few relevant blog articles. Then suggest they consider joining you for an upcoming webinar, and finally, perhaps a video might help them with an issue some of your other clients are dealing with. This approach is much less threatening and far more in line with the new buyer behavior.
You want to track them. Marketing is a science. You have to know which social media sites are overperforming and which ones are underperforming. Facebook might not have been your first choice, but it might surprise you. With more than 1 billion users, Facebook advertising is excellent at making personal connections with prospects. On the other hand, Pinterest, Twitter or YouTube might be better for connecting with your target prospects. If you don’t track it, you will never know. Once you find out which sites work the best, double down on those and leave the underperforming sites behind.
You want to turn this into a scalable, replicable, systematic Marketing Machine that drives leads into your business day in and day out. Social networking has become so important that some of our clients are actually seeing more website traffic from social media then they are from Google, Yahoo and Bing combined. It’s time to stop ignoring social network sites and embrace them as a core component of your inbound marketing program.
To learn more about inbound marketing, social networks and how you can generate more leads for your business, download our Tip Guide titled, 4.5 Ways to Drive Leads with Social Media.