The Search Guru President & Founder Leslie Carruthers recently spoke at a 10,000 Small Businesses Event sponsored by Goldman Sachs.
During this CEO MeetUP event in Cleveland, Leslie leveraged her experience as a seasoned internet marketing professional to share the top five ways to use social media to drive business leads:
- 1. Paid Social Advertising
- 2. Social Listening (aka prospecting)
- 3. Target > Engage (aka pitching)
- 4. Earned Media (aka Word of Mouth)
- 5. Leverage Content > Build Your List
Spoiler alert: this is NOT your standard “why you need to be using social media” article!
We get it – your goal as a salesperson or business owner is to bring in new business, and you don’t have time to sit around composing Twitter posts, right?
If you can relate to the sentiment above, we recommend that you stick around and keep reading, because this post was made just for you!
Today, we’re going to recap Leslie’s 10KSB presentation by highlighting some of the top marketers who are using social media the right way, and laying out in plain terms how it’s possible replicate their results for your own business or brand.
Here are the top 5 ways to drive leads via social media.
1. Paid Social Advertising
Paid social advertising is highly undervalued and underinvested, accounting for $5 billion in missed opportunities!
There are several ways businesses and brands can take advantage of paid social advertising, including:
- Promoting posts by sharing links to great content, leading to more likes and follows.
- Using purchased lists to target those most likely to convert, creating new leads.
Paid social advertising can be leveraged on nearly every social media site such as Twitter and LinkedIn, but it can be especially effective on Facebook.
- Retargeting: Target those audiences that you feel are likely to convert, based on specific behaviors (e.g. targeting audiences who have visited specific pages on your site, or those who did not fill out a lead form).
- Lookalike Audiences: Target audiences that have similar demographics, interests, and buying habits to those of your past customers.
- Custom Audiences: Target both current clients and leads by uploading contact information from a company list or purchased list.
2. Social Listening (aka Prospecting)
It’s tempting for businesses and brands who are new to the world of social media to want to jump straight into tweeting, posting, and sharing content. But this eagerness often leads to those marketers missing out on a key opportunity: learning more about audiences via social listening.
Social listening includes searching through social media platforms to uncover Twitter lists and chats, Facebook and LinkedIn groups, blogs, and more that are relevant to your business, following those users who participate, and seeing what they have to say.
Find users in your target demographic with a social footprint you can read through, and learn what their biggest pain points and needs are. Now’s the time to listen and learn!
Our top recommended tools for social listening include:
- 1. Synthesio: measure the sentiment and reputation of your brand in the eyes of your customers to better engage.
- 2. Hootsuite Insights: understand the conversation happening around your brand, respond to comments and follow trends.
- 3. Twitter Lists: monitor influencers, industry trends, and even competitors.
- 4. Brandwatch: monitor brand mentions, sentiment, and trends.
- 5. Refollow: find the right people, manage, and measure.
3. Target and Engage (aka Pitching)
Now that you have a list of those users who are active online and who match your ideal target audience, it’s time to reach out to them in a smart way, by offering to help with the specific problems you saw them mention on their social platforms.
Find opportunities to be a connector, help people out, and share your knowledge, opinions, and experiences. Even consider doing some free work for potential clients to build up their trust in you!
For example, Nina Mufleh wanted to work at Airbnb. She created a full website analyzing the global tourism market, with insights into where Airbnb’s next market should be.
Social media is unique because it allows you to reach out to individuals without requesting or paying for email or phone numbers. Use this to your advantage!
To make the most of your social engagement with your audiences, make sure you:
- 1. Re-tweet and share.
- 2. Comment with value – don’t just suck up.
- 3. Look for opportunities to create value.
- a) Create content for them.
- b) Attend their events and buy their products.
- c) Direct message after a reasonable period of time.
- d) Send them referrals and suggestions.
4. Earned Media (aka Word of Mouth)
Now, it’s time for your company to shine by showing off what you have to contribute. Commit yourself to providing the highest level of customer service possible. Be proactive, open, and honest when problems arise. Eventually, you may notice your most loyal customers beginning to support you and stick up for you online, even in the midst of brand crises.
By being straight and proactive with your customers, you create an environment where customer ambassadors actually defend you against criticism, without you needing to step in. This is how Word of Mouth (WOM) helps you grow leads and grow your business.
Here’s an example: A hosting company – where a problem with a single server can make 200+ clients unhappy – is experiencing server downtime. Instead of covering up the issue or waiting around for the complaints to roll in, they decide to communicate openly about what’s happening. As a result, their clients actually jump to their defense on social media!
This is where the magic happens, as your current customers start to drive new leads for you. This goes to show that good customer service is even better for your social reach than many marketing tactics!
5. Leverage Content & Build Your List
Once you’ve made your way through the previous 4 methods for driving business leads, the rest is easy: create great content,promote it, and build your list!
One strategy that is sure to help your brand generate leads is by promoting “gated content,” meaning customers will need to input their personal contact information to gain access to it. Of course, you’ll need to make sure your free content is strong enough to persuade customers to hand over their information in exchange for this premium content!
Similarly, you can also drive leads by promoting valuable premium assets on relevant LinkedIn groups. One company successfully promoted their ebook via LinkedIn groups and email which drove $6,000 over their goal value.
Powerful social media statistics you can’t ignore.
A lot of businesses and individuals are still skeptical about the power of social media. After all, tools like Facebook and Snapchat are just for fun, right? How much marketing power can they really bring to the table?
If you find yourself with the same hesitations, take a look at these powerful social media statistics that just may change your mind:
- 72% of all web users are active on social media
- 26% look to social media when making purchases
- 33% prefer communication on social media versus the phone
- 46% of businesses say they acquired a customer from blogs or
Don’t even think about getting started before you’ve nailed down your target audience!
Before you can start building your social media strategy or driving business leads, you need to have a very clear picture of who your target audience is, where they hang out, and how you can best reach them.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Who are your top 3-5 customer types?
- Who is your ideal customer? In other words, who would you clone if you could?
- Which social media platforms does your audience use? Which will allow you to best tell your story? (Hint: “all of them” probably isn’t the answer!)
Once you have a clear answer on each of these questions, it’s go time: you’re ready to start leveraging social media to drive new business leads.
Make Social Media Work to Your Drive Leads
In the end, making social media work to your advantage is all about knowing yourself, knowing your prospects, and generating great content that does the legwork for you.
Do you feel overwhelmed by social media and unsure of how it can work for your B2B or B2C business? We have the experience and expertise to help you drive the right leads to your business. Contact us today to find out more!