Generating Leads through Social Media

“The lead generation process starts by finding out where your target market ‘lives’ on the web.” – Wayne Davis

Every company is constantly trying to gain new customers, and try everything possible to attract and arrest their attention. The good news is that there a lot more avenues for companies through which to search for new customers. Generating leads through social media is now something companies actively pursue, since social media and marketing through it is now an inextricable part of business success. According to the quote, the first rule of generating leads is to start where the target audience would be – and it seems now that most of them digitally live in social media. In order to generate leads effectively, the first step for any company would be to find out which social media platforms their target audience is using, and then find ways to show them the benefits of the company’s offerings, and service. Self-promotion will not help in generating leads through social media – customers want to see value and substance.

Using the power of social platforms to garner interest and generate leads would begin with creating engagement. Engagement is all about ensuring that a company encourages ‘conversations’ with its customers, while subtly engaging in some kind of self-promotion. However, customers must have a chance to respond, react, comment, and even complain to a company and only those companies that successfully allow for such engagement would be on their way to generating leads through social media, consistently. Not only does lead generation help a business gain from attracting more customers, generating leads through social media is also more cost-effective and results are assured. Research shows that businesses reduced costs of promotion and lead generation by about 45% and increased revenue by 24% by using social media marketing.

Many confuse lead generation with selling – it is not. Rather is it a meticulous process of gathering data and information on customers that will let companies know what their target audience needs, what products they could possibly require to meet those needs, their pain areas, what your company can do to alleviate their problems, and how your company’s products and service can convert the leads to paying customers. Companies today do not need to rely on old-fashioned techniques to generate leads. Everything today is online – quick, visible, and immediately accessible. It is a lot easier to collect, collate, and track customer data to understand which prospects would have a better chance at converting to actual customers. Sending out emails, newsletters, video marketing, gated content, paid ad campaigns are all great ways of generating leads through social media and other online platforms.

It is easier and simpler to generate leads through social media since people readily share loads of information about themselves, without any coaxing. In addition, the number of users on social media sites is overwhelming, and research shows that a minimum of 40% people interact via social media than face to face – which makes it the perfect platform to generate leads, and the more such leads enhance the possibility of getting more business. Generating leads through social media may seem relatively easy. However, not all social media platforms may be beneficial or useful for a company, and therefore it would be essential to choose the right social media platform for your company in order to generate the kind of leads required. This necessarily means that a company must do its ‘homework’ by  thoroughly understanding the target audience they would want to go after, and which ones would be most likely to ‘convert’. One of the social media platforms for example – has over a billion users – and it would seem like the obvious channel from which to generate leads, but this could be a faulty thought process. It is better to ascertain which platform your most desired audience prefers, and actively pursue them there.

As mentioned, generating leads through social media is all being able to engage the audience. Engagement happens only through active interactions. People seek answers and solutions all the time, while also trying to build new associations and connections. It is all about being mutual beneficial – hence it is a good idea to appreciate posts, comments, reviews, achievements, and other such activities of other people. The more interaction you can create, the ripple effect will ensure that more people ‘see’ you and hear of you, which could lead to actual buying customers. In addition, it is a good idea to interact with people who may have commented on your company’s social media pages, liked the content, or provided some constructive criticism. By engaging with such people, you would be able to create more relationships, leading to more people liking your brand / company / individual pages, and they would certainly remember to recommend your company to others even if they may not require to buy anything in the present.

As mentioned, everyone is on social media – including a company’s competitors. It is important to listen in on what people say about them, and what they say about themselves. The good news is that there are several tools to track one’s own social media accounts, and those of competitors. It would allow your company to view praise and complaints of customers on your competitors – learn from what customers say, and use complaints as an opportunity to connect with those customers and show them how your company can do things better.  Proactivity is critical on social media – its high visibility is both a boon and a bane. Remember there are other companies waiting for opportunities to steal customers – and if your company is not active, you could lose several such chances of gaining new customers.

As we said, generating leads through social media is all about providing answers to questions and problems that people may seem to face. It may not be possible to know or answer all the questions, however, churning out and publishing high quality content is a great way to be noticed. There is a sea of information, and this continues to swell at a phenomenal pace, hence the only way to stand out is by providing content that would help a majority of people, leading to trust and confidence in your company. People would be more likely to return, not just to read the content, but also to possibly find ways to connect and engage with your company.

While staying active on social media is the ideal situation, it may not always be possible. Companies are busy with several activities, and while generating leads through social media is important, operating it round the clock becomes tough. The good news is that there are several tools available that would help companies automate their processes. For example – in order to send out content for posting to several social sites, there are tools that allow for scheduling, and would post the content as per the timelines mentioned.

Engagement is the name of the game on social media, and is the best way to generate leads for your company too. Tools are available, which allow tracking of ‘conversations’ relevant to and for your company, staying updated on all notifications, and engage with those who may already be engaging with your company, or wish to start – be there, and build relationships. The more engagement a company / individual is able to build, the greater the chances of generating leads through social media, and sustaining them over time.

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