There are a lot of benefits to social media marketing, but the one that carries the highest ROI is direct lead generation. At the end of the day, who cares how many likes you have? Who cares how many followers you have? Who cares how many favorites your posts receive?
What we really care about is leads. How we can turn social engagement into real leads in our marketing funnels. That’s what we are going to look at today: the 6 ways to generate quality leads via social media.
Method #1: Run Competitions & Giveaways
When executed correctly, competitions and giveaways are the single quickest way to double your leads. HubSpot reports that one out of three people will exchange their email address to enter a contest or to get a giveaway.
A successful giveaway will include the following four elements:
- A compelling prize your audience actually wants
- Bonus entries for referrals (plugins like KingSumo Giveaways makes this easy)
- Guaranteed bonus incentives for all non-winners (something you can give for free)
- Extensive promotion to relevant audiences
While giveaways are more about selecting the right prize, contests are more about selecting the right competition criteria. It’s important that users have a viable way to compete that is relevant to your business.
Research shows that the age of people who are most likely to enter competitions or play social media games are in their 30’s, and you’ll get the most leads if you make it easy to access contests from mobile phones. (Source)
Real Results & Takeaways: Contests
By running weekly, targeted contests, London Drugs increased their Facebook likes by 600%, and as a result, Facebook has become their number one method of online traffic referral. Because the prize was $250 gift cards to their store, the people who entered were those that would be interested to buy from London Drugs in the future. Bingo.
Source: Felix Albutra
Planned carefully, as London Drugs did by offering gift vouchers to their store, social media competitions can reap rich rewards by increasing qualified leads fast.
In another example, Fatherly joined forces with Skinny Mom to offer an attractive “beginning of the year” fitness contest; the prizes were exactly what the target audience of both those companies would be attracted to.
Advertised on high traffic websites, the landing page got 57,100 views and boasted a whopping 86% conversion rate, so that 49,000 people became prospective customers.
If you have a large social following, promoting your competition or giveaway is just a matter of sending out recurring social notifications throughout the giveaway duration.
If you have a smaller following, giveaways offer a great target for both paid advertising and joint venture promotion. You will most likely increase your social followings significantly while running the giveaway.
When the giveaway closes, it’s important to have an effective lead follow up series in place to turn giveaway entrants into qualified leads and customers.
Method #2: Plan A Twitter Chat
Twitter chats are live events centered around a topic and usually moderated by a host. Some people run them as one-off events and some people run them as recurring events on a weekly or monthly schedule.
Participating in Twitter chats, whether as the host or simply a participant, is a way to engage with people who are interested in the chat topic. With enough participation, your chat can generate some viral buzz that results in media coverage.
What makes Twitter chats so popular are their accessibility. Anyone can host or join Twitter chats. They are good for B2B, B2C, and for any discussion around one particular topic. Currently, the easiest way to find existing Twitter chats is through TweetChat.
Real Results & Takeaways: Twitter Chats
One great example comes from SolarCity. When the company launched its non-profit initiative Give Power Foundation, it wanted to increase digital engagement around the launch.
By starting a Twitter chat, the foundation earned 2 million impressions and 600 tweets in under an hour, resulting in thousands of new followers and hundreds of new leads.
Source: Yeves Perez
Another example comes from Nathalie Lussier, who hosts a chat every Tuesday about building an email list in 30 days. People who engage with the chat can then click on this landing page and become a new lead for her business. During her first ever challenge, she pulled in 3,000 new subscribers over 30 days.
Source: 30 Day List Building Challenge
Twitter chats can benefit businesses in a number of ways:
- It helps build your authority in a topic areas, particularly if you sustain a recurring chat
- It’s an easy way to partner with other, bigger brands and tap into their audiences
- It’s a great way to get in front of people interested in a specific topic and quickly generate new leads
In order to make a Twitter chat convert, it’s important to have a compelling, effective lead magnet to offer participants, partner with other audiences for maximum promotional reach, and provide legitimate value during the chat.
Method #3: Share Content That Grabs Leads
Let’s talk about basic content marketing. Create content. Share content. Get traffic. Get leads.
Effective social media marketing revolves around a diversity of content. You can’t simply post a never-ending stream of blog posts and expect any sort of audience engagement. But you should be sharing your blog posts and leveraging your social audience to drive traffic to your blog. And once people get to the blog, you have full freedom to turn them into leads.
There’s a right way to do this and a wrong way. When you are doing it the right way, your blog posts:
- Provide value to your target audience
- Have a catchy headline that demands attention
- Sport an attention grabbing image
- Feature snippets targeted at each social each platform
- Are written with lead generation in mind
45% of marketers say that blogging is their number one form of online marketing. It works when it’s intentional. But if you do not understand your target audience on each platform, writing and sharing blog posts will not work to get more traffic or quality leads on social media.
Real Results & Takeaways: Lead Generating Content
Have a look at these two posts from writer Aaron Orendorff; they are for the same spot, but presented differently on each social media platform in order to maximize results:
Optimize each blog post presentation for what works best on each social platform.
In another great example, we see how Weight Watchers publishes video recipes directly to Facebook. Viewers can then click through to the website to download a copy of the recipe, where they provide their info to Weight Watchers (turning them into a lead).
Just make sure you are creating content that users are interested in and following it up with lead magnets they are REALLY interested in.
Method #4: Send Facebook Ad Clicks To A Lead Magnet
As we discussed, the basic content marketing funnel uses blog posts to get visitors and lead magnets to convert those visitors into leads. With Facebook Ads, you can skip the blog posts and send people directly to the lead magnet opt-in page.
With the right ad copy and image, this is probably the most scalable way to get leads day in and day out. Facebook’s platform allows for some of the most advanced ad targeting online. You can target by demographic, geographic region, job description, or topics of interest. Plus, Facebook’s audience is huge, and the longer you run an ad, the smarter it gets about who to target.
There are 3 essential parts to a lead-converting Facebook Ad:
- Compelling ad copy
- The right image
- A lead magnet your audience really wants
Copy can be short and to the point. It can be long and in-depth. It really depends on your audience. Images, on the other hand, seem to consistently take the biggest part of the pie, as 75 to 90% of an ad’s performance are traced to the image of the ad.
And the thing that seems to work best is real, custom images that look very different from what you might find on a stock photo website.
Real Results & Takeaways: Facebook Lead Ads
Let’s break down the above ad from AppSumo.
- Ad copy speaks to a specific audience goal: financial freedom
- Image is Appsumo’s founder making a weird face – it’s unique and unexpected
- Lead magnet is roadmap to reaching the audience’s goal of financial freedom
It’s not complicated. It’s not something you can’t do too. If you use Facebook’s Lead Ads you don’t even need to create a landing page. Facebook will fill in the user’s information when they click the ad.
If you use any other ad type, you’ll need to create a landing page to catch click-throughs. A landing page will let you re-enforce the promise in your ad without the space limitations of the ad itself.
The following example of an effective ad is from Marketo. On the left is the Facebook ad, and once it’s clicked, the viewer is directed to the landing page on the right. Notice the consistency between the ad and the landing page. It’s important that users feel like the landing page is an extension of the ad they just clicked on.
If you haven’t tested out Facebook Lead Ads yet, now is the time to get started.
Method #5: Create Twitter Cards
Twitter cards are basically tweets with chutzpah: they are tweets, but much, much better.
Not only are you allowed a 140 character message, but you can also include images and videos. Granted, you get all that functionality with a normal tweet, but there are some major other beneficial choices, like:
- A preview of your content with the summary card
- Preview of your content, with a large image
- Play video and audio right from within a tweet
- If you sell apps, people can download them directly from Twitter
Twitter cards can be used for free. They are best for businesses wanting to:
- Attract attention to get website clicks or conversions
- Increase app installs or re-engagements
- Get more video views
Twitter cards get higher clickthrough rates than Facebook, perhaps because the platform is not yet as saturated with advertising as Facebook is.
Real Results & Takeaways: Twitter Cards
In this quick case study, Tripcase wanted to increase downloads for it’s free app. Using Twitter cards where viewers could install the app right from the tweet, they experienced a 25% increase in downloads and a 30% lower cost to install compared to other channels. (Source)
Understand your objective for using Twitter cards, so that your tweets are targeted.
The following example is a Twitter player card; it allows the viewer to play the video directly from the Twitter feed:
The main difference between a normal tweet and a Twitter card is the addition of one specific action viewers are encouraged to take. For Twitter player cards like the example above, the aim is to get people to watch the video.
Method #6: Use Influencer Marketing For Accelerated Growth
Imagine you’re a new brand selling a unique type of brooms. You decide to run social media ads which show the benefits of the brooms you sell. You get a few enquiries and sell a couple.
But you have a friend who runs a popular Instagram account on cleaning hacks. Your friends shares a hack incorporating your special broom, and suddenly, you have 2,000 new people visiting your site and several hundred new sales overnight. Your brooms rock.
That’s a simple example of influencer marketing. It can be as low-key as partnering with a niche blogger or as flashy as hiring a national celebrity to pitch your product.
Real Results & Takeaways: Influencer Marketing
Convince and Convert says that for every $1 you spend on influencer marketing, you’ll generate about $6.50, and that this technique is growing at a faster rate than other strategies.
So long as there are people in your industry who may be viewed as a connector, celebrity, authority figure, analyst, activist, expert, insider, agitator or journalist, you can network with them to influence their audience in favor of your brand.
In one marketing campaign, Lagavulin partnered with Nick Offerman, well known as the ultra masculine, anti-government, whiskey loving Ron Swanson character in Parks and Rec, to create a 45 minute video in their “Release My Tales of Whiskey” campaign, where Nick Offerman simply sits in a chair next to a fire, contentedly nursing a whiskey. (Source)
It worked because their target audience could relate to the influencer:
Knowing your target audience is key to finding the right influencer, as well as the best marketing channel in which to influence.
In another example, Bigelow Tea joined forces with industry bloggers to promote their products and encourage healthy living. For example, Ashley Thurman, the owner of Cherished Bliss, added iced tea recipes made with Bigelow tea to her blog:
While sometimes payment will be necessary to run influencer campaigns, if you have a big enough audience of your own, you can often enter mutually beneficial partnerships with similarly sized audiences that don’t require you to pay a dime.
Alternatively, certain influencers will be open to promoting your product in exchange for a free copy of your product. The influencer market is something of a Wild West environment right now, so you really never know what sort of opportunities will spring up.
Conclusion: Get More Leads
Hopefully this post has given you some clear strategies for turning your social audiences into real leads for your business.
Social media can be an incredibly effective channel for lead generation, and these six strategies are some of the best options available for most businesses.
If you’ve succeeded in generating leads with any of these strategies or another strategy, let us know in the comments!