Even today, social media still receives a bad rap in some marketing and sales circles. The primary reason: The way marketers often use social media (brand awareness, community building) lacks quantifiable metrics. Sure, you may think you’re generating quality leads with social media through Twitter conversations and posting fun photos on Facebook or Google+, but the pressure is on to definitively measure success. (And we’re not talking about counting retweets or likes.)
The clearest path to illustrating success is to share content that results in conversions on your website. Writing blogs and creating downloadable eBooks, guides and whitepapers that you can share on social media, provides measurable results that help you prove success and optimize your strategy when you aren’t reaching your goals. Plus, our own research shows that it increases a new lead’s engagement with your brand.
So if you’re building a new strategy for B2B social media or need to reset your current strategy, here are five tips to help you generate quality leads with social media:
- Focus on sites your buyers use: Most B2B companies (65%) say they’ve acquired a customer through LinkedIn, followed by Facebook (43%) and Twitter (40%). But each company can have unique buyer scenarios. As a general rule, start with the big four social networks: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+. See which of these sites are producing the best results for you and then focus your efforts there. After that you can look for other social media sites that your buyers may use.
- Create quality content you can share: Your social media accounts are only as powerful as the content you create for sharing. Regularly writing blog posts, including evergreen posts that can be shared more than once, is required for social media success. Because social media visit-to-lead rates are generally three to five times higher than general visit-to-lead rates, you have a greater opportunity to capture leads if you’re sharing your own content.
- Post landing pages without regret: In addition to blog posts, you should regularly share landing pages that result in instant conversion. An eBook or whitepaper that’s good enough to be featured on your website is good enough to be shared on social networks. You can get away with sharing landing pages once a day on Twitter and a couple times a week on other networks, like LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook, without offending your followers. (And if you’re content is good enough, followers may want you to share landing pages more often.)
- Share relevant content from other sources: While it was once standard to share more third-party content than your own, that rule is more flexible when you’re creating quality content regularly. (I’ve seen 80% company-produced content and 20% outside source content working successfully for brands that take content generation seriously.) Still, industry news sites and blogs can fill the gaps in your own content generation. This keeps your streams fresh and regularly updated so that when you do post your content, people will be paying attention.
- Nurture the leads: Once a social media visitor becomes a lead, don’t let that lead just sit in your database without additional contact. Social media leads are more likely to open your emails and visit your site in the future, anyway, so stay in touch by setting up lead nurturing campaigns before they convert. You can also add them to a lead nurturing campaign a few weeks after the initial conversion, but the sooner you provide that lead with additional content, the better.
Bonus Tip: Brochures, press releases and new stories about your company won’t get you very far in social media. The content you share should be informative and problem-solving... without mentioning your brand. The visitor is already on your branded social media account or blog. If you bombard them with company messaging, you’re not going to generate leads that you can build a relationship with and potentially nurture into a customer.
Are you making content an significant part of your social media strategy? Tell us how it works for you in the comments below.