Social media is critical for lead generation. It's a real-time, online and mobile communication tool where people can voice their opinions with friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances about what they love, hate and appreciate about a given brand. In fact, it's so powerful that companies can no longer manage their reputation on their own time and terms. Instead, they must actively engage customers through their customers' chosen social media channels and use those channels to generate new business.
One of the most common mistakes companies make is to assume that every customer uses the same social media website. They don't. There are far too many social media websites and forums to count. Each provides a different means of communicating with like-minded individuals.
Social media lead generation works when you thoroughly understand your target audience, have defined each of your buyer personas, and are leveraging the social media platform they rely upon. To help you master this new medium, here are 5 ways to target specific markets using social media for lead generation.
1. Content Marketing for Specific Buyer Personas
If you thoroughly understand your buyer personas, and know what social media channel they use, then producing focused content is a great way to generate leads. Start by defining who your buyer personas are and what they're interested in. Next, define what type of social media channel they use. Are they everyday consumers that use Facebook, Snapchat or Tumblr? Are they business professionals who rely upon social media websites that cater to business-to-business (B2B) markets the way that LinkedIn does? Facebook allows you to generate content by segregating your audience by interests, while LinkedIn allows you to segregate by market and industry.
2. Gated Content and Contests
Gated content involves using social media as a stepping stone to getting more content. You use social media as that first gate to promote a webcast, podcast, business whitepaper or new video. Prospects provide contact details to access this new content. This ensures that the prospects that have passed through the gate are most likely interested in your offering.
Contests are another way to generate leads through social media. You can offer a free trial of your product as an incentive to get prospects to move forward. Prospects can enter the contest by retweeting on Twitter, Facebook liking or any other social media sharing.
3. Content Calendars
Using a content creation calendar will help you plan your content in advance so that you're always ready for that all-important special event. This could include a trade show, conference, exhibit, concert, charity event or a future launch date for a new product or product upgrade. Define the type of buyer personas most interested in this future event. Define the type of social media channel they use. Bring in multiple internal resources to help make the content applicable to each of your buyer personas. Finally, track lead generation and adjust your strategy if needed.
4. Newsworthy and Trending Content
Planning content ahead of time is one thing, but taking advantage of newsworthy and trending content is another. You need both. Track your industry's recent events on Twitter and Google news. Keep abreast of what's happening in your market and provide content that educates. Avoid overselling yourself, your company or your offering. Focus on a common problem for each of your buyer personas and offer specific solutions.
5. Social Media Advertising
Yes, the click through rates on social media advertising is nowhere near as high as it is with conventional online advertising like Google's AdSense. However, it is improving and the information available to you is expansive. Again, you can target specific interests, or focus in on a specific demographic or unique segment of your market. You can then combine your advertising with some of our aforementioned ideas like contests or gated content.
Get involved with social media. It's a critical tool for today's digital marketing teams and it must be part of your lead generation strategy moving forward. Your customers use this platform to voice their opinions. Listen to what they have to say and be proactive instead of reactive.
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