It is an open secret that social media has taken over every aspect of our lives and changed the marketing landscape forever. However, many B2B marketers still doubt social media’s effectiveness as a lead generation tool.
Perhaps they believe it’s difficult to ascertain metrics for their marketing efforts, maybe they don’t know how to put together a solid strategy, or maybe they’re just unsure about how to generate sales on a social media platform .
B2B marketers very often recognize the importance of social media in the B2C realm but usually don’t see it as a viable lead generation channel in their respective industries. In fact, a recent study revealed that more than 70% of B2B marketers were disappointed with the ROI of social media for goals like increasing brand awareness and generating leads.
With this in mind, today’s post requires you to put aside your hesitations and join us as we teach you how to turn your social media channels into a quality lead source.
Listed below are some of the best ways to start generating leads from social media:
1) Optimize Your Profiles
The simplest method to generate leads on social media is to optimize your business page profiles. It includes steps such as a compelling call-to-action, making your contact information accessible, linking to your website, and making your value proposition obvious.
It may seem like simple but yet it is crucial to implement. For if potential clients don’t know what you want them to do or how to reach your business, they’ll never become a lead.
This could be broken down using the big three platforms for B2B: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
- Business Name: While this will typically be an easy choice, it’s important to remember to go by the name that your customers and prospects will most associate with your business. Not only does this make sense for consistency and brand recognition reasons, but this name can impact whether or not your Facebook business page shows up in Google search results. So be sure that your business name and the URL match.
- Vanity URL: Facebook now lets you choose your own vanity URL. When you create your business page, your URL looks like this example:
But as soon as you get 25 “likes,” you are eligible for your own unique Facebook URL, which would turn the above example into this:
For most companies this will be your business’s name. If you include special characters, hyphens, or a variation of your company name, this page will be much harder for customers and prospects to find.
- Call-to-Action Button: Facebook gives business pages the option to include a CTA button. The seven options include Book Now, Contact Us, Sign Up, and other options. The best part is that you can send the link to a page on your business website. We recommend sending visitors to a free trial form, a form to contact sales, or some other sort of clear offer.
- About Page: Facebook provides businesses a place to list their address, phone number, hours of operation, etc. Ensure to complete all this information. Not only is it helpful to visitors, but it also boosts the pages SEO value.
Listed below is an example of an ideal business Facebook page. Their business name and vanity URL are the name of their company, they have included a “Sign Up” CTA, and their “About” page is complete.
- Your business profile should be compelling and inviting but yet professional. Your profile should compel clients to want to learn more about you.
- Profile/Header Images: An ideal Twitter profile image should be some variation of your logo including color, size and how it will look on different devices. Knowing that your image is something that your followers recognize you for, hence it is important to keep it consistent. Your header image, on the other hand, should be changed fairly regularly to match your marketing initiatives.
- Pinned Tweet: Twitter allows you to pin important tweets to the top of your feed without losing them among your other tweets. If your goal is lead generation, this tweet should contain a CTA and a link back to your business site. Consider pinning a tweet about gated content or a free trial.
- Open Your DMs: Make sure your direct messages are open to the public. That way, if customers or prospects have questions, they can come to you directly. Prepare responses to common questions ahead of time.
- Hashtags: Tweets with hashtags tend to generate double the engagement as compared to tweets without. However be careful not to use too many hashtags to avoid being mistaken as spam. Your marketing team should develop a strategy as to which hashtags to use etc...
Below shows an ideal Twitter account. The bio is direct and short with a link back to the business site. Take note of the use of a pinned tweet with hashtags too.
- Images: As with both Facebook and Twitter, your profile and banner images can have a big impact on the success of your page. Make your profile image some recognizable variation of your company logo and be sure to mirror your header image with current marketing initiatives.
- SEO: LinkedIn company profiles are often indexed by search engines. Be sure that the first few lines of your company description are compelling and contain your target keywords, as this text will often be used as Google’s preview text. LinkedIn users can browse the platform using keywords, meaning that this optimization will help get more eyes on your profile within the platform.
- Showcase Pages: LinkedIn offers the ability to create separate pages to showcase products, brands or initiatives. These pages live at the top of your profile in prime page real estate. Use these to help out with your lead generation efforts.
2) Listen to What’s Going On
Social listening is the process of monitoring your customers or prospects on social media to gain valuable insights.
With social listening, you can join in on conversations, make recommendations, and guide prospects toward your brand’s solutions on social media. Here are a few quick ways you can start listening today:
- Set up Google Alerts: Once this is set up, Google will send you a notification via e-mail every time your company, brand, or any other keywords you want to track are mentioned on the web. Here’s how you create a Google Alert.
- Monitor hashtags and keywords: As mentioned in the Twitter sub-section earlier, most of us are familiar with the power of hashtags. Therefore as marketers you need to research the hashtags that your customers are using. For example, a conferencing software might track the use of #meeting, #videoconference or similar keywords.
- Invest in a social media management tool: Although it’s not necessary to purchase a social media tool, it can be of great help for big companies. Most of these tools have scheduling capabilities, hashtag tracking, competitor analysis, and much more.
- Join message boards: Many social media platforms have forums or message board capabilities. This allows B2B marketers to hear what customers and prospects are saying. These groups are often broken up by industry, job function, software users, and much more. Join in the conversations, answer questions, and offer your product as a valuable solution but in a more subtle manner.
- Follow your competitors: Keep an eye on the competition — not just to see what they’re doing, but also to see what complaints their customers have. This can assist you to generate ideas for your own content, campaigns, and much more.
3) Prioritize Social Selling
Although social media is typically a marketing responsibility, that doesn’t mean your sales team can’t or shouldn’t get involved. In fact, 90% of top-performing sales people now use social media as part of their selling strategy.
The extent to which you involve your sales team is entirely up to you and your company, but its best to start small. Remind your reps to monitor certain message boards, answer inquiries left on your business profiles, and join in on customer conversations.
Provide the support your reps need in the form of guidance and the content they need to convert prospects into leads.
Do note that not all social platforms were created equally. A platform that works for one company might not work for yours. Be sure to test them all, analyze your results, and tailor your social selling strategy accordingly. Check out these B2B Sales Rep’s Guides to see a breakdown on the three biggest platforms (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn).
4) Gate Your Content
As you should know by now, social media is a perfect outlet for content marketing. Unlike traditional marketing channels, social media allows for two-way conversations with clients and prospects. But if you don’t gate your content, you have no way to collect leads.
If you are unfamiliar with the term, gated content is any type of content that exists behind a form that requires visitors to provide their contact information in exchange for your resource.
As always, there are pros and cons to gating your content. The benefits of putting your content behind a form include:
- Increased leads: Not gating your content essentially means giving away your valuable resources for free and hoping that the reader appreciates it enough to come back and fill out a form. By requiring site visitors to give you their e-mail address, you’re almost guaranteeing more leads for your company.
- Increased nurture opportunities: Just because someone views your content doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ready to buy your product. Rather than crossing off this type of lead, add them to your e-mail lists and nurture them until they’re ready to make a purchase.
While there may seem to be no downside to gated content, here are some things to be aware of:
- Lower lead quality: As previously mentioned, a lead that comes from gated content isn’t always ready to take the plunge and make a purchase. It can be frustrating for sales reps to receive an influx of leads who don’t want to buy.
- Reduced readership: Publicly available content will definitely receive more visits and reads than gated content. If your organization prioritizes brand awareness, visits or reads, gated content might not be the tactic for you.
As with most marketing tactics, the key to successfully using gated content is to find a good balance. Be sure to serve your followers a good mix of gated and ungated content.
5) Hyper-Personalize with Buyer Personas
Most social media platforms offer advanced targeting capabilities that keep advertising costs low while generating high-quality leads. Consider these statistics:
- 59% of marketers believe paid social is more effective than organic social (source)
- Over 50% of B2B marketers rank social media as a “very” or “somewhat” low-cost ad option (source)
- Marketers see a 25% lift in conversions for paid social media compared to organic social media (source)
Firstly, analyze your clients and prospects to compile buyer personas. Buyer personas are basically detailed profiles of your target customers. Think about who your best customers are and what traits they share. For example, do they have a specific job title, work in a particular industry? Are they a specific age bracket or gender? Do they have children or disposable income?
Once you’ve identified your buyer personas, create highly specific content, offers or promotions that target these buyers accordingly. The more specific you get, the more success you’ll have.
6) Give Something Away
Social media contests or giveaways are a great way to expand reach, increase brand awareness and to generate leads. It is recommended to conduct sweepstakes or giveaways that can only be entered once a prospect provides their contact information.
Remember to be super targeted with the paid promotion of your contest. For it can be tempting to advertise a large audience but more entrants doesn't necessarily mean better leads as none of them may be sales qualified. This defeats the purpose of holding a social media contest. Only target people you feel may have a genuine interest in your product.
You could also limit entrants by choosing a prize that only your target audience would want to win.
7) Offer a Free Trial
This method is relatively straight forward: Offer a freemium version of your product and promote it via social media. The free trial tends to generate leads on its own. However, social media can help expand the reach of your campaigns and amplify your results.
To see the most success with this approach, you must offer features that allow users to know the benefits of the product without offering the entire set of features.
For B2B companies, this approach is most successful when using LinkedIn, for it is a platform where professionals are accustomed to seeing overt advertisements and are actively looking for products and services.