First, let’s understand what lead generation means. Leads are, simply, potential customers who have shown some interest in your product or business and have provided (or you may have got through other mechanisms, legal of course) their contact information which you can use for follow-ups. The problem is that many companies do not understand the potential of a lead turning into a customer. Many unknowingly neglect these leads and jump into costly marketing methods.

When it comes to social media, most marketers/ business development executives have a fixed attitude. The instance they think of social media they immediately associate it with brand building. What they do not understand is that the power of social media goes beyond ‘brand’ building. How many have purchased something after seeing an ad on Facebook for instance? The answer is people are tempted to buy products through social media more than we are aware of.

The truth is that social media is more than just a way to grow your brand and connect with your current customers. It is more of a power tool that you realize. When done correctly, you can use the popular social media sites/services like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest to generate real leads for your business. And the sweet side to all of this is that social media lead generation is cost-effective and produces visible results.

Studies show that,

  • Social media marketing has reduced marketing costs of businesses by 45%.
  • By utilizing social media for lead generation, revenue increased of businesses by 24%

No way!’, you might say, but the truth is these numbers are very promising. The bigger question is: how do you use your social media marketing campaigns and turn them into lead generating machines? Up to now, you have been using it for customer service and brand building.

Before moving onto the tactics of generating leads, some basics will help you in the long run. Simply understanding these will be a considerable advantage over you competitors. Selecting the Right Channel is the number ONE point you need to be very careful about from the start in attempting to generate leads from the wrong social media channel. Getting this step right is crucial as this is all about identifying your customers. With over two billion users, it is easy to assume that Facebook is the go-to choice for the majority of B2C businesses. However, there may be exceptions like, for B2B marketers, 44% have lead generations through LinkedIn, while 39% have done it using Facebook. Twitter comes in third place with 30%.

Now let’s see the tactics for generating leads through social media.

  • Running Contests — The thing about contests is that the prize up has to fulfill two critical criteria. First, it has to be valuable enough (worth spending the their time on and a prize worth the effort) that people will be interested in entering the contest. Second, it has to be relevant specifically to the people who shows the highest potential to become your customers. The downside is that the leads you get aren’t always the most qualified because you will have many freebie seekers. Regardless, it is a good way to gather essential details.
  • Treating Your Page Like a Website — This tip is mostly related to Facebook. You need to stop treating your Facebook Page as a way to only get ‘Likes’. Changing your page to a lead generating tool will directly impact the type of content you post, the kind of ads you run, the contests you create and even the tabs that you set up.
  • Using Social Media Advertising — The truth is organic social media posts can be targeted only to a certain extent. Social media advertising takes the targeting of leads to a whole different level, making it possible to collect leads from focused groups of potential customers. Using highly specific target audiences to promote gated content is an excellent way to maintain advertising costs low while guaranteeing the leads you collect meet desirable criteria. Beyond simple targeting, social media advertising has evolved to include specific social media lead generation tools like ad formats specifically designed to help marketers collect leads directly to social networks. This applies to all social media advertising platforms.
  • Special Offers — Who does not loves freebies? (remember the free uber rides?) You may want to consider hosting giveaways on social media. Campaigns of this type are something people enjoy sharing on their social channels, and by merely including an entry/registration form, you will have the opportunity to capture essential lead data. Do not forget to add a way for entrants to share the offer through their social channels letting participants spread the word among their community.
  • Track Brand Mentions — Are you monitoring what people are saying about your company on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? If not, you are missing out on an easy but great resource to get leads. That is why it is crucial to have some social media monitoring/listening tool setup that let you track the conversations, and never will you lose out on a missed opportunity. This method is also a great way to track your brand’s impression on your customers.

Change the way your business uses social media today. Stop thinking of these powerful tools only as tools for branding and customer service. You are sure to get more value by using them to generate leads.