All businesses need an ongoing supply of qualified leads. Social media marketing is widely recognized as an essential tool for lead generation. Most businesses now have Facebook, Twitter and other social media pages and achieve varying degrees of success with these platforms. Some business owners and social media managers don’t leverage social media in a way that’s really geared for lead generation. If you want to use leads from social media you need to keep certain guidelines in mind. Social media monitoring can help you do this more effectively.
Focus on the Right Platforms
To get the results you want on social media, you need to concentrate on the social media sites where your customers are active. Social media monitoring helps you locate your audience and see where they spend their time. If you’re targeting a youthful audience, for example, you might focus on Instagram and Snapchat. LinkedIn is indispensable for B2B marketing. Facebook covers every demographic. Search different platforms and seek posts, videos, Stories and other content that reveal the presence of your target audience.
Share the Most Relevant Content
Content is one of the most important components of a lead-generating strategy. Social media monitoring helps you identify the kind of content your customers and prospects value most. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you monitor social media for your content strategy.
- Pay attention to the type of articles, blog posts, photos, videos and other content that your audience engages with the most. Let this drive your content strategy. Posting cute cat photos may get you lots of likes and shares but if your business is in the online security field, it won’t get you targeted leads.
- Look for questions and problems. Aside from the major social media sites, look at platforms such as Quora, WikiAnswers and others. You can also search discussion forums in your niche. In some cases, you might actually answer questions to direct people to your business. However, simply tracking these discussions can tell you a lot.
- Follow news stories. New developments in your industry are important to you as well as your customers. In addition to following the original stories, pay close attention to what people are saying in response to these developments. Creating your own content on relevant topics shows your followers that you’re up to date.
- Monitor keywords. Tracking keywords will help you locate questions, news stories, threads and other discussions of interest to your prospects. Focus on keywords related to your own business, competitors, industry, location, products and activities your customers are likely to search for. Pay special attention to keyword phrases that start with “How can I find…?” “What’s the best…?” “Have you ever tried…?” “Where can I buy…? and other phrases that indicate someone is anxious to buy something.
Track Your Competition
It’s quite fruitful to pay attention to what people are saying to and about your competitors. What do their customers like and not like about their products and services? You can use this information for your own purposes, including:
- Get ideas for offering new products and services. This could be something a competitor currently offers or something their customers are asking for.
- See what kind of customer services your competitors offer and how well customers are responding to it.
- Look for complaints and criticism of the competition. Spy on competitors’ social media campaigns, both paid and organic. Using the right tools, you can gauge their results.
Find Influencers and Leaders in Your Industry
Finding influencers is an indirect but powerful way to generate new leads. As you search for keywords and discussions in your niche, pay attention to influential individuals who repeatedly turn up. These may be bloggers, vloggers, podcasters, social media influencers or anyone who your audience admires and looks to for advice.
When you identify influencers, look for ways to build relationships with them. Follow their blogs and social media pages. Comment on and share their content. You might even invite an influencer to take over your Instagram page or YouTube channel for a day. You might also interview him or her for your own blog or podcast. These tactics will help you tap into the influencers’ audience which can be a great source of new leads.
Social media monitoring or listening provides you with valuable insights into your audience. One of the best ways to find new leads, however, is to go beyond monitoring and to actively participate in conversations. When you encounter a question about where to find a certain business or service, you can post a reply with an offer. When doing this, however, be sure to stay within the site’s TOS. For example, a discussion forum might not allow blatantly commercial offers. You can get around this by making more generic replies. The prospect can look up your credentials in your forum profile.
One aggressive but powerful strategy is to poach your competitors’ dissatisfied customers. People who are complaining about a business are excellent prospects for an alternative offer. For example, someone might post a tweet complaining about poor service from their cell phone carrier. A competitor might swoop in and talk about how much better they are.
When contacting someone on social media, a discussion forum or question & answer site, you’re bound to encounter skepticism. Most likely they see you as a stranger who’s trying to drum up business. You can build instant trust by making a special offer such as a substantial discount, free trial or sample of your work. You can handle prospects in a manner similar to email marketing opt-in offers. If you do email marketing you could even mimic the offers on your opt-in page such as a free white paper, e-book or another gift.
Social Media Monitoring: a Powerful Way to Generate Leads
Monitoring social media is one of the best ways to find the most qualified leads for your business. It helps you narrow down your search by pinpointing the leads who are actively searching for what you’re offering. Using the right social listening tools can help you improve the quality of your leads and make more sales.