When talking about digital marketing many business owners’ first thought is social media. That’s understandable as most of us are registered on a social networking site and use them regularly.
However, there’s a difference when it comes to using social media for your business. In this post we break down how to generate quality leads using social media, and provide clear direction to the strategies you should be using.
An easy first place to start is to think about social media in terms of organic and paid. For your business, you’re going to be creating and posting content. How you distribute that content on social media can come down to two approaches – organic and paid.
Organic content is where you’re posting the content organically to the site, meaning you’re just posting it through your social media business page. This approach usually means your content is seen by the people who follow you, or come across your post in another way without you paying for them to see it.
Paid is just as it suggests, where you’re paying to distribute the content to more people. This approach means you’re using your own money to increase the amount of attention your post receives, past those who see it organically.
The key difference lies in your resources, typically money and time, and how you want to use them. If you don’t have money to run effective paid social media campaigns, then you need to invest more time into creating content that builds your following organically.
If you do have money for paid campaigns, you can run content or offers to your target audiences without building a following first. In this post we’re going to talk mainly about generating leads organically.
A large part of effective lead generation through social media is understanding which platform you should be using. Different groups of people use different social media platforms, and even further, they use them in different ways.
Think about the types of groups that use LinkedIn. The audiences on that platform typically skew towards older professionals who are building their network of professional connections. How about Instagram? This platform typically skews towards a younger demographic who are looking to connect and share with friends.
The platforms you use, and how you use them, can have a significant impact on building your business. You need to select the platform you use based on a few things:
What you should remember is that social media platforms weren’t created for lead generation. They were created as outlets for people to share and engage with other people.
This is important to remember, because most people who use social media platforms aren’t there searching for sales. This is called intent. Thinking about intent is important, as it means thinking about why people are using that platform.
Are they using them to check in with family and friends? Are they using them to search for content to entertain them or teach them? These are typically why people use social media.
This means your main priority when building your business presence on social media shouldn’t be to come in and post ads or offers. Why? Because the majority of people don’t care.
Most people aren’t ready to buy from you just yet. Even if they could benefit from what you’re selling, they aren’t actively searching for it at this moment. Meaning if you just come in and interrupt their happy social media time with an ad, most people will hate you.
So, what do you do instead of just posting ads for your products on social media? You shift your thinking.
To really get your message in front of your ideal customers, you need to get them to know, care, and trust your brand or business. Right now, most people likely don’t.
The path to having an audience who does know, care and trust your business is to build a community. Creating an engaged community of followers who follow your brand is how you succeed through social media.
To build this community, you need to provide them with a steady stream of value – typically with content. They need to be invested in your business enough that they feel like following you is worth their time.
If you’re a big enough brand, people may just follow you because your brand is part of their identity or they love your products. However, when you’re starting out you need to create that value through content marketing.
A steady stream of content will draw in people who find what you post engaging and valuable. If it’s valuable enough, they’ll decide it’s worth following you to make sure they can keep up to date and get more value. Do this long enough and consistently enough, and you’ll build a community.
I’m not going to go super in-depth with content marketing here, but read our other post to learn more about creating valuable content.
By creating valuable content over time, you’ll start to build your following of people who find what you post helpful or entertaining. You’ve started to do it. You’re building an audience of engaged, targeted groups of potential customers.
Hopefully, your community that you’re building is made up of people who would actually buy your products or services. This is where you can start to sprinkle in relevant offers.
Note that I said sprinkle. I didn’t say blast your audience with ads and offers. Sprinkling in offers means posting offers sparingly. It also means you should frame the offers in the light of being helpful to your audience.
Frame your offers around your desire to help your audience. For example:
“We understand the lead up to Christmas can be hectic, and you want to make sure your house is tidy before the family arrives for the holidays. We’re offering 25% off our cleaning services for the month of December to help get you ready for a perfect family Christmas…”
An offer may not even be a discount or coupon to purchase. It may be a gated piece of content you keep on your website that requires your audience to click-through and sign up. Each of these ideas are helping you generate leads in some way.
What’s important is to think about how valuable what your offer is. It needs to be valuable enough that your followers feel it’s worth their time to click away from their current social media spree, visit your website, and claim the offer you suggested.
If it’s not valuable enough in their eyes, they won’t even budge. You’re still disrupting their social media habits, which means it needs to be powerful enough to get them to take action.
As we just mentioned, to generate leads through social media you will need to direct them to a place where you can collect their information or make a sale. This is typically away from the social media platform, usually on your website.
As you sprinkle offers into your content mix, it’s important that you also include relevant calls-to-action where you can.
A call-to-action or CTA is a statement that prompts your audience to take a specific action or do something.
Claim 25% off our cleaning services by visiting our website.
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CTA’s are important because they give clear directions to your audience on how to claim or take part in your offer. You’ve proposed them a valuable offer. Now it’s time for you to give them a clear path to take you up on it.
On some social media platforms, your CTA may be easily added to the post with a link they can directly click. For example, on Facebook you can include a link in your post that directs people to your website.
On other platforms, you may need to provide clear directions on where to find a link to the offer. For example, on Instagram you can place links in your profile that you’d need to direct people to.
Another way to include CTA’s into your social media content is to encourage engagement on your post. You may ask your audience to leave a comment, tag a friend who would like the post, or something similar.
Engagement is highly important on social media because it helps to build your community. An engaged audience that follows you means they care about your business and what you’re posting. Also, based on the majority of social media algorithms, if you have engaged followers they will typically see your content more often.
Because our goal is to generate leads through social media, it’s important to have an engaged audience who will see and care about our offers when we sprinkle them in. Creating engagement doesn’t need to be hard either.
Like I mentioned, aim to include CTA’s on your valuable content that prompts your followers to get involved in your post. That might mean liking something, leaving a comment, or even sharing the post with other people.
You may even ask for your audience to get engaged and leave their own thoughts or suggestions. If you’re a restaurant, you may ask “Tell us in the comments what your favourite dish on our menu is!” or “What’s something you’d love us to add to our menu?”
We’ve covered a lot about the different strategies to generate quality leads using social media. One thing to remember is that social media is a great place to attract new people to your business and to nurture your customer relationships.
As you build your following online and more people interact with your business, you’re going to have a wider, more engaged audience. This means more of your target audience will trust your business and be willing to take you up on the offers and promotions you put out there.
Remember the importance of strengthening these relationships with your audience. Invest time in replying to comments, responding to messages and genuinely helping solve their problems. Each little interaction builds up the connections between your customers and your brand, and helps increase the positive perception of your business.
Although social media isn’t necessarily built for generating leads, it can be used to build stronger communities of potential customers. Take the time to build your audience by providing consistent value and don’t be afraid to offer them chances to become customers when the time is right for them.
Are you looking for a predictable stream of highly targeted leads to your business? Learn more about our social media advertising services.