When it comes to generating business leads via social networks, is never easy even with the openness of social media. Using social media to generate sales leads whether you are just beginning in business or are well established, can be demanding. Add in the fact that the older traditional forms of lead generation such as cold calling, trade shows and emailing are in decline, you may be scratching your head as to how exactly to find new customers. Two words – Social Networks.
What is lead generation using Social Networks? Generating business leads or sales leads via social media, is a solution that can help you engage buyers where they gather to source information and avoid you becoming another annoying, disruptive cold caller who still engages in disruptive practices. Before you start trawling the social networks looking for buyers, you need to identify your Ideal Customer Profiles plus define what the term lead means. Next, we will cover what lead generation is, why you need to spend 25-30% of your time on it, how you qualify sales leads, how you generate leads, and why social media lead generation is much more effective than other activities.
What is your definition of a Sales Lead?
This is important to justify your time and results when social selling etc. on the social networks. This definition might assist. A lead is a person (based on your Ideal Customer Profile) who has expressed an interest in learning more about your product or service.
Or put another way, instead of a buyer getting a random cold call from someone who sourced their contact information, they will hear from someone whom they already have had some communication with via the social networks.
An example could be, a buyer reads an article you published on LinkedIn pulse, they liked and commented on the article telling you how insightful it was. Now if they got a message from you about how you could assist them sometime in the future, it would be less intrusive and more relevant than if you had phoned them at random with no knowledge of whether the buyer cares about your product.
And from a social business perspective, the information you gathered from the interaction will help you personalize further social communication to meet the existing needs of the other potential customers.
So, What Is Lead Generation using Social Networks?
Generating business leads using social networks is a non-interruption process of attracting, engaging and converting buyer profiles into qualified sales leads by sharing content and insights.
In a nutshell, it is about exchanging value to attract people to your business. You want to provide them with enough quality content to get buyers naturally aware of your company so they gradually warm up to the brand enough to want to hear more from you!”
This is exactly what lead generation is: It’s a way of been seen and then being found useful to potential customers for your business and getting them on the path to eventually become actual customers.
Why is Social Lead Generation So Important?
By creating social awareness and natural interest in your business, it’s those buyers and prospects that are displaying an interest in you as opposed to you trying to interrupt to initiate a relationship with them. As more of the buyer’s journey is done online, this makes it easier and more natural for them to want to engage with you at the consideration point.
How Do You Qualify Someone as a Lead via Social Networking?
This is the part that requires patience, consistency and skill. So, we generally agree that a lead is someone (think buyer profile) who has shown interest in your company’s product or service. Now, let’s talk about the ways in which someone can actually express that interest on the social networks.
In reality, a lead is generated through content shared, consumed and the resulting interactions that you collect. The resulting information you collect could come as the result of someone liking your articles or conversations, a buyer requesting a connection on LinkedIn or just someone following you via your social media accounts.
Listed below are just a few of the ways in which you begin to qualify someone as a lead on the social networks. Remember, you need to nurture each lead as each person’s level of interest in your business, can vary. Let’s look at each scenario:
- Profile Views and Followers: At its simplest, profile views are like handing out business cards, this shows your social reach impact and ability to attract people to find out a little more about you. As one swallow never made a summer, one profile view from a buyer does not equal a lead. Instead note down or record profile views especially from potential customers. As you published and share more content, are you getting repeat views and interest. Also, check your followers on your social media accounts daily, which of them fit with your Ideal Customer Profiles or which are social influencers you need to connect with. When you think, the time is right, you can reach out to connect directly with them to start the lead conversion process.
- Likes/Comments/Shares: A bit like profile views and followers, you probably know very little about someone who has stumbled upon your profile. But if they find your articles, comments, conversation contributions and your profile pitch (make sure all your social media profiles are optimized) valuable enough, they may be willing to connect (and in so provide contact details/email address) to continue enjoying your insights. While people who engage with your activity may not seem like a lead source, it’s enough for you to know that someone has interest in your social activity.
- Content Engagement: This is the biggest magnet to attract buyer’s attention. People who engage (competitors aside) in the content you publish is an indicator that they have interest in your product or service. We are not discussing gated content that you publish on your website but rather the content you publish and share on the social networks. We will discuss content marketing for inbound leads in other articles. Publishing and sharing content on Twitter, LinkedIn including LinkedIn Pulse and Groups, Facebook, Bizsugar, Google+ Communities, Tumblr etc. is not only good for SEO but also for direct buyer engagement. The goal is to get people interacting and sharing your content to boost your social influence. Then the key is to collect data on who is liking, commenting or sharing your content. Some will be advocates you need to connect with while others are potential lead sources. In order to truly understand the nature of the person’s interest in your business, you will need to collect more information, enough information before you actually understand whether the person is interested in your product or service, and whether they’re a good fit (back to Ideal Customer Profiles again).
The above three are just general examples of generating business leads on the social networks. However, remember the mantra that a lead is only an opportunity to communicate with someone, so you will need to collect enough information in order to ascertain whether someone has a true interest in your product or service.
Putting these and other digital selling elements together, will allow you to use various promotional channels to link and drive traffic to your social media channels so you can start generating leads. With some learning , social selling training and dedicating 30-40 minutes a day to a social selling habit loop you could be your way to digital sales transformation, meaning engaging buyers in a more intelligent, meaning full way.