Social media is changing the way businesses generate sales leads. Social media promotes contacts with potential customers at a much earlier stage than more traditional lead generation tools. Initial contacts may have less to do with the product or service you sell than with the fact that a site visitor's friend shared a humorous YouTube video or an interesting blog post on your website or re-tweeted a Twitter entry you sent out. Because of the inter-connectivity and cross-site pollination promoted by social media, businesses can expect to see more of these embryonic customers visiting their websites.
Nurturing these early contacts with customers who do not have a current need for your services or products requires a different marketing approach than typical lead generation techniques. The trick is to snare the interest of these embryonic customers with a combination of helpful and interesting information, bizarre facts, humor and provocative videos. Rather than generating formal leads, the goal at this stage of contact is to encourage these future potential customers to keep returning to your website or Facebook page in the hopes that they will eventually develop a need for your services. The goal is to begin nurturing a relationship on which you can begin to build. The most effective way to do this without scaring off these early prospects is by offering access to quality information on your website or Facebook page without requiring access registration. At this stage of the game, occasional visitors are apt to go elsewhere to avoid sharing personal information. As these prospects return to your site for additional information, they will gradually become more comfortable and be willing to share their contact information.
Social media marketing can help you nurture these initial contacts into qualified leads and qualified leads into eventual sales. Using social media interaction to engage these embryonic customers not only plants the seeds of customer loyalty, it allows you to collect information that can be used to refine Internet content and better target this future customer pool. Social media allow businesses to interact and converse with potential customers on a personal level. The information gleaned from those contacts can be used to increase the relevancy of customer interactions. Combining this information with other web analytics like email click-throughs, web downloads and page visits can help you refine and target marketing efforts and gradually nurture early contacts into sales.
What are your experiences with generating leads and customers via social media?
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Photo Credit: Patrick Q