Social media is a valuable tool for B2B companies. The following are the five most effective social media practices to boost lead generation.
- Establish your strategy. Is your social media campaign truly designed for lead generation, or is your strategy going to include content aimed at nurturing prospects through the funnel? Will it include content to simply create awareness, build an audience, and/or nurture existing customers? No particular strategy is necessarily right or wrong. The strategy you do choose, however, will determine the types of content and messaging you use and the frequency with which you post and engage your audience. Before you begin posting, you need to first determine the goals you want to accomplish with social media and then develop the strategy to do it.
- Understand where your prospect lives digitally.You should acknowledge the fact that there are clear winners in the social media space. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, to name a few, are currently the big boys on the social media block. The majority of your prospects will be present here, but beyond these no-brainers, where else do the buying personas within your prospect profile live? Are they on blogs? Do they read blogs for a particular industry? What about online magazines? You need to understand where your buying personas spend their time socially and create a presence there as well.
- Link your media spaces together and automate the process. When I publish a new blog post, it automatically uploads to my Facebook page, updates my LinkedIn status, and sends a tweet out to my followers. There is no manual work involved on my part. I can post once to my blog, and it flows to all other entities through the RSS feed and other automated tools. An automated process saves time and ensures that your social media posts are timely and accurate.
- Integrate your campaign and repurpose content. If your editorial calendar requires a monthly newsletter that needs unique content, in addition to consistently keeping fresh content on the blog and a daily tweet, then you have put a tremendous burden on yourself for content creation. A better approach would be to use one article to meet the giant content demand. Maybe the article could come from a video, which was then transcribed into a finished piece. That article could be a blog post, which could also be also the primary piece of content from a monthly newsletter. Key quotes from the same article can be copied and pasted as tweets. From the average 300-500 word article, you can extract enough quotes to keep twitter updated for a while. By taking one piece of content and repurposing it through different media, you significantly reduce the content burden while fulfilling all content needs. Furthermore, integrating the campaigns ensures that prospects engage with your company through their preferred medium or channel but at the end of the day, they all receive a consistent message.
Recognize the medium. I remember back about fifteen years ago going to trade show events and sales lead sharing meetings with other sales representatives. At those events, I would mingle, talk, and engage with people in a physical, real world way. How did I behave? At a trade show meeting during cocktail hour, I did not just announce my sales pitch upfront; that would have turned people off immediately. In this setting, it was more appropriate to listen and watch. Sales representatives used their eyes and ears in proportion to their mouths. They asked good, open-ended questions to start conversations and lead people down the path that hopefully ended up in a sales cycle. Social media is the same way. If you blast out your sales message or tweet how great you are, insisting that people should buy from you, then people will tune you out very quickly. You need to communicate thought-provoking questions and thought-provoking content in order to start a digital conversation. More than just indiscriminately posting, you need to listen, find out who is responding, and understand what kinds of questions people are asking. Having knowledgeable people responding and connecting with prospects online and starting a digital conversation will lead to a physical, real world interaction. This is ultimately how you convert social media into actual revenue.