According to content marketing research by Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute, “content marketers use an average of 13 tactics for B2B marketing”, and the use of social media was admitted by 87% marketers, making it the most popular tactic among all.
Similarly, Oktopost analyzed over 100,000 posts across various social networks which revealed interesting social statistics. For instance, they found that over 80% of leads can be attributed to the professional networking site, LinkedIn (which also, ranks the highest).
Gathering Social Leads
The use of social media continues to rise, not just for business to consumer marketers, but also for business to business (B2B) marketers looking to generate sales leads.
So, how can lead generation be done effectively via social media?
Actually, it’s not very different from consumer marketing. With ad formats that enable marketers to go beyond engagement metrics, objective-based advertising, and Twitter cards, social media marketing is promising for the attainment of goals—even for B2B companies.
Here are some smart ways you can speed up the lead generation process via social media.
Focus Your Efforts
Instead of creating a bunch of profiles across all social networks, focus your efforts on key channels; a maximum of two to start. The social media channels you select will depend on your target audience.
For example, if you’re looking to target female entrepreneurs, Pinterest would be a good place to start. If, on the other hand, you are looking to target seasoned business professionals, LinkedIn would be a good option. Likewise, if your audience is the youth or teenagers, networks like Snapchat or Instagram would be an ideal choice.
With the help of case studies or social media tools for demographics, find out where you target audience plays and shift your focus to them.
Develop and Share Useful Content
One of the best ways to generate leads is to provide your target audience with content that matters. You’re not going to jump into direct link-building just yet. First you have to give before you can get.
Useful content translates into helpful articles, infographics, inspirational images and videos, webinars, podcasts, and even whitepapers.
With this information, you are going to build and maintain an image that represents you as an obvious “expert” in your field. Businesses, or more like potential leads, only want to hear solutions from experts. This is why they are more willing to get in touch with you. With the help of useful content, you can make a home in your audience’s heart and influence them from within.
Build a Strong Network
Remember that we want to focus our lead generation efforts by targeting a specific audience base. By this, I mean that it’s always best to focus on a specific crowd rather than picking out leads aimlessly.
The problem with a “mass appeal” approach is that it will give you a small percentage of useful leads while all the rest will be labeled worthless. This is something to consider while generating content, as well as the step that comes after it—one-to-one marketing.
Once complete, the next step is to build connections—the trickiest part. Naturally content marketing will connect you with potential buyers—and connections always leads to higher chances of conversion (i.e., potentials to actual buyers).
Additionally, you can engage in discussions and perhaps offer guidance on forums such as LinkedIn and Quora. It will help you increase visibility and add credibility to that expert image of yours.
Any good marketing strategy always employs analysis at its tail end. This is helpful in determining whether or not you want to invest in social media marketing, and if so, then where.
How you measure “success” (e.g., subscriptions, visitors, sales, etc.) will depend on your objectives and what you consider a lead.
As I mentioned earlier, generating B2B leads is a lot like consumer marketing. You pick an audience, focus your efforts, target their needs, wants, and interest, provide a solution, and get in touch.
While these methods and tactics work well on social media, they are not nearly as important as how well you are able to position your product or service in the minds of potential businesses. And that, of course, requires sound marketing talent.