The basis of a successful B2B company is high-quality lead generation. For this reason, sales and marketing teams look for ways to improve inbound marketing. Lead generation through social media is quick, cost-effective, and relatively easy to implement.
Social media grows exponentially. Yet, some B2B companies remain skeptical of its effectiveness to generate new leads. Why to reconsider social media as a lead-generation channel:
- Of those who use the internet, 76% of Americans use social media
- In as little as six hours a week, 66% of marketers see lead-generation benefits with social media
- Social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing
- Social media lead conversion rates are 13% higher than the average lead conversion rate
If you’re not sure where to start, here is a list of the effective ways to use social media for B2B lead generation.
Unlike email, direct mail, or other traditional marketing tactics, social media allows for two-way conversation—making it a natural companion of content marketing. Gating certain content is a means of capturing contact information for potential customers.
If you are not familiar, gated content is any sort of content that lives behind a form that requires visitors to provide their contact information in exchange for your eBook, whitepaper, webinar, etc.
However, as with most marketing strategies, there are pros and cons that come with gating your content. The benefits of putting your content behind a form include:
More leads: Obviously, if you don’t collect visitors’ contact information, you’ll know very little about who they are, what products they’re interested in, or how to reach out to them in the future.
Nurture opportunities: Because someone reads a piece of your content doesn’t mean they’re ready to buy. Add these readers to your email lists and nurture them until they’re ready to make a purchase.
While there may seem to be no downside to gated content, here are some things to be aware of:
Reduced lead quality: As mentioned, a lead that comes from gated content isn’t always sales ready. It is frustrating for sales reps to receive an influx of leads who don’t want to buy.
Reduced readership: Publicly available content will receive more visits and reads than gated content for obvious reasons. If your organization prioritizes brand awareness, gated content might not be the tactic for you.
Balance is the key to successfully using gated content. Use social media to promote some gated content and some public content.
Top of the funnel content like blog posts and infographics perform best when they aren’t gated. Bottom of the funnel content like webinars, eBooks and data sheets perform better when gated.
Most current social platforms offer advanced targeting capabilities that keep advertising costs down and generate high-quality leads. If your marketing team doesn’t already run a paid social program, consider these statistics.
- 59% of marketers believe paid social is more effective than organic social
- Over 50% of B2B marketers rank social media as a “very” or “somewhat” low-cost ad option
- Marketers see a 25% lift in conversions for paid social media compared to organic social media
To begin, first analyze your customers and prospects to compile buyer personas. Buyer personas are profiles of your best customers. Identify who your best customers are and what traits they share. For example, do they have a specific job title, in what industries are they employed, or do they come from companies of a certain size?
After you’ve identified your buyer personas, create highly specific content, offers or promotions, and target your ads accordingly. The more specific you get, the more success you’ll have.
For example: If you have three buyer personas—a sales rep, a sales manager, and a VP of sales—run three different ads targeting each persona with their specific needs, preferences, and buying habits.
Engage your Prospects
Use social media to facilitate and promote a research study. Ask your target audience important questions about their day-to-day activities, their biggest pain points, the tools they use and more.
Collect their contact information as a requirement of the study. This serves three purposes. You collect the contact information of potential buyers, you gather important insights about your prospective customers, and you get user-generated content for future use.
Once the results are in, compile a report and send it to participants. This also establishes your brand as a thought leader.
Offer Free Trials
Offer a ‘freemium’ version of your product and promote it using social media. Free trials naturally generate leads on their own. Social media expands the reach of your campaigns and amplifies your success.
When you offer a free trial of your product or service, it proves value to the customer, improves adoption rates and, if your product is good, it sells itself.
Best-in-class software companies report a 60% conversion rate following a free trial.
To see the most success with this approach, offer features that allow users to see the benefits of the product without offering the entire set of features.
For B2B companies, this approach is most successful using LinkedIn, where professionals are accustomed to seeing overt advertisements and are actively looking for products and services.
While social listening is not typically thought of as a lead-generation strategy, it should be.
With social listening, you don’t need to wait for prospects to come to you or seek out your product. Instead, you can listen to conversations between prospects and offer up your product as a resource.
Social listening is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a process of listening to online conversations between customers or potential buyers to gain valuable brand and industry insights.
Here are three quick ways you can implement social listening today:
Set up Google Alerts: Get emails every time Google discovers a new mention of your brand, industry or competitors.
Monitor hashtags: Track keywords and hashtags using built-in search features. These should include mentions of your brand, but also keywords that indicate someone is ready to make a purchase. For example, a cell phone service provider might monitor the words ‘dropped call’ or ‘no service.’
Invest in a social media management tool. Many come with advanced tracking capabilities that allow you to listen to customers, track competitors and automate social media reports.
Social media is a ready-made B2B lead-generation tool and should be part of any inbound marketing strategy. As with most marketing tactics, the better you define to your target audience, the more successful your efforts will be.
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