Let’s be straight; lead generation on social media is no easy task. Take an honest look back on the life of your company’s social media accounts, and consider how many new customers truly came through Twitter, Instagram, Snap or Facebook. Often, not many. Companies tend to focus on fulfilling their brand awareness or customer service objectives via social, and overlook the opportunity to create, nurture and convert actual leads.
There are several reasons why most companies are stuck in neutral with their social media lead generation, but none more obvious than the fact that they rarely invest in the time it takes to find the right prospects. Too often small and medium-sized businesses are told that just by tweeting, or posting to Facebook they’ll reach new audiences. Content may be king, but this is simply not true.
Yes, there are thousands of potential customers out there using social media, but you still have to go and find them. Once you do find them, you have to relate to them on their terms. Social media is saturated with advertising, but nobody wants to hear a pitch or feel spammed while scrolling through their feeds. There is no way around it – communicating on behalf of a brand takes an investment of time, effort, and expertise. We know you tell your customers that you’re on social media to interact and converse, but let’s be honest…you are ultimately there to build your business. This means generating leads so you can close sales. You can’t afford to wait while they find you…
Strategic thought, effort and energy is required, as you wade through the noise to find qualified prospects. Social media channels offer a plethora of targeting options that allow you to talk directly to your customers – so think hard about who your existing and ideal customers are. Where are they, and what do they look like? Think about their likely behaviours and design your communications strategy on social to speak to them directly. In-depth targeting will clear away a huge proportion of the clutter before you’ve even started, increasing your conversion rate from the get-go.
Your company has a brand and voice of its own, but corporate tone often translates as cold and impersonal in the casual space of social media. By mirroring the conversational way a potential customer interacts with his or her friends, you’ll be more likely to get the lead.
Many social media channels, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, all have instant search tools baked in so you can find out who is talking about your market niche. The trick is to cast a net just wide enough to find enough valid prospects, without dragging in the waste. Once you find them, there’s still more work to do. If you’re going to jump into someone else’s conversation and not be dismissed as a spammer, you need to earn it. How? Do your homework. Look at what they’re last few tweets were about, read the last post on their blog, and look at the pictures they’ve been posting. Once you’re armed with this information, you’re ready to finally reach out and start the conversation.
Hey you’re almost there! You’ve found them, researched them, and are ready to start the conversation. But where to start? Keep it simple. Too much too soon, and you’ll get yourself blocked. Too little, and you’ll be ignored. It’s here that you can build a rapport by acknowledging that you’ve done your homework, and you get them. They’ll feel like a social media celebrity, and the conversation will flow from there on in. Don’t lead with sales talk; interact in a genuine manner and provide assistance, advice or chatter related to what they are interested in at that given time.
Especially if you’re selling a service, you’re going to need to close the sale by phone or email. Don’t expect the potential customer to come right out and ask for pricing or a meeting. Ask for their phone number or email before the conversation has peaked and while interest in you is still high.
So, you’ve probably noticed there is a trend here – an investment of time and attention to detail is essential. Businesses too often find themselves in a downward cycle of social media neglect that starts with getting too busy to interact with supporters, which leads to boring content. Boring content leads to a disengaged audience, and a disengaged audience does not convert. And when social media doesn’t drive sales, it doesn’t demand investment. Without investment, you can’t reverse the trend.
Want to learn more about how to create, implement and measure your social media activity? Download our Social Media Strategy Whitepaper.
Author: Sandra Moffatt