There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t hear one of the following complaints about generating leads using social media:
The Instagram algorithm has changed.
Facebook just want our money.
‘They’ are deliberately penalising small business owners.
But the reality is, that today’s social media platforms provide an amazing opportunity for us to reach our customers. While the platforms may change and adapt and yes, even charge us occasionally, when used strategically can help increase your sales.
In this guest article, Ashley Davis, founder of Skyline Social, shares exactly how we can all generate more leads using social media.
Imagine having a system that consistently and predictably generates new leads every day and every month for your business…
With social media you can create such a system and it’s easier than you might think.
In this article, I will show you:
- What you must do before you start any lead generation campaign
- How to generate leads on social media even if you’re not sure what to offer
- What are the best social media channels to start generating leads
The foundation to making sure your social media lead gen works
Before you start generating any new leads for your business using social media, there are three questions you need to be able to answer:
- Who are you targeting?
- What is your offer?
- Where can you find them?
The first two questions are critical.
All too often, people tell me that they’ve tried generating leads on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. but it hasn’t worked for them. When I look into their campaign it’s either because their targeting isn’t specific enough or their offer isn’t good enough.
Once you know who you’re targeting and what you’re offering, you can move onto the final question “where can you find them?”. Finding them is the easy part and that’s what social media can help you with.
Create an awesome offer
Regardless of what platform you use to generate leads (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.) you need to have an awesome offer. Without an awesome offer, no amount of money you invest in advertising is going to work.
What is an awesome offer?
It’s definitely not a “free consultation”.
An awesome offer is a piece of content that provides immense value to those in your target audience, in return for their contact info (usually their name and email address).
Some popular offers include:
- A free guide
- A free checklist
- A free video
- A free webinar
The more value the offer provides and the more targeted the offer is, the more leads you will be able to generate.
What if you’re not sure what offer to use?
If you don’t have an awesome offer, or you’re not sure if your offer is good enough, can you still generate leads? The answer is, believe it or not, yes!
I run campaigns (both for ourselves and clients) all the time, testing new offers before the content has even been created.
In the advertisement or message that you use to get in front of people, all you need to say is something along these lines:
I’m thinking of creating a blog post [or a video, checklist, webinar, etc] on [title of the content you think will be interesting to your target audience]. Is this something you’d be interested in? If so, reply with your email [or click “sign up”, etc].
This simple technique works surprisingly well. If what you’re offering matches what your audience is interested in – you will generate leads.
On Facebook & Instagram, you can use something called “Facebook Lead Ads” to get this offer in front of people without needing a landing page. Just type your message and people will click on a “sign up” button if they’re interested. On LinkedIn and Twitter you can do something similar.
Top tip: I only recommend testing your offers if you’re not sure what offer will work or you don’t yet have any content with landing pages set up. Once the test works, and you generate some leads, I recommend you switch your offer from a “I’m thinking of creating….” test, to a real offer with a landing page integrated with your email software.
Let’s start generating some leads
When you know who you want to target and what offer you will use, it’s time to get out there and start generating some leads.
What social media channels you choose for lead-generation, will largely depend on who you’re targeting and your budget. For most businesses, I’m 99% sure your target audience will be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and/or Instagram.
When you’re thinking about what social media channel to use for lead generation, they all have different pro’s and con’s.
Here’s a quick comparison so you can decide what channel will work best for your business:
We’ve found Twitter lead-generation works best when you have targeted one-to-one conversions with your potential customers.
- You can generate leads without spending a penny on paid ads
- A great way to engage and start building new relationships with prospects
- Easy to find your potential customers through Twitter searches based on job titles, keywords in their profile, location, etc
- Great for finding leads if you’re targeting people in a big city, nationally or internationally
- There are less people using Twitter compared to Facebook (which means eventually you might run out of people to reach out to)
- Difficult to generate leads if you’re targeting a small location such as a small town (as there might not be enough reach for your niche)
Facebook & Instagram
I’m putting these together because they are owned by the same company and you can very easily advertise on both channels using the same advertising platform. Facebook & Instagram are by far, in most cases, the best channels to generate leads right now.
- The Facebook algorithm is incredibly smart. Facebook can auto-optimise your advertising campaign to help you generate more leads
- It’s the largest social media channel which means you can reach out to more people and scale your campaign up if it’s working well
- Powerful retargeting features. You can easily retarget people who visit your website, are a part of your email list, engage with your videos and so on.
- It works for almost any niche. Facebook has a huge audience and a scary amount of data on people. No matter who you’re trying to target, chances are you can find them on Facebook & Instagram
- You can start with a small advertising budget and scale up as, and when, you see more results
- It’s not free. You’ve got to pay Facebook money to get in front of people and generate leads.
- Can be complicated. It’s not impossible to learn, but using Facebook does have a bit of a learning curve. Plus, it’s always changing, so you need to stay up to date with whats happening and what works best.
Although LinkedIn is still behind in terms of active users and how their paid advertising platform works, they are constantly making changes and trying to improve (emphasis on the word “trying”). I’d say keep an eye on this channel, because it could get a lot better in the near future.
- You can use LinkedIn’s search features to find new leads for free. It’s not very scalable but it does work. I’ve picked up some really great clients this way myself.
- Email retargeting. If you’re b2b, you can upload your email database to LinkedIn and since most people use their work email for LinkedIn, it will usually find a lot more matches compared to retargeting your b2b email list on Facebook.
- Because a lot of people fill in all the info on their LinkedIn profile, there are a lot of really cool ways you target people based on “job title”, “seniority level”, “company size” etc.
- It’s expensive. Paid advertising on LinkedIn usually costs more compared to Facebook.
- It’s clunky. LinkedIn’s advertising platform is still in it’s early days. Right now, it’s nowhere near as powerful as Facebook’s advertising platform.
- Not that many active users. Although a lot of people (500+ million) have LinkedIn accounts, only a few (100 million) are active users. A lot of people create a LinkedIn account but don’t use it everyday (unlike Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). This could change in the future though!
What social media channel is right for you?
For most of my clients we tend to go with Twitter, Facebook & Instagram. In some cases, for certain audiences, I will use LinkedIn. As a rule of thumb, Facebook & Instagram will cost a little bit more but will generate more leads. Twitter will cost less, and will generate slightly less leads.
My recommendation is: if you have enough budget, go with Facebook & Instagram. If your budget is smaller, then start generating leads on Twitter first and then move to Facebook and Instagram as your business grows.
Once you’ve chosen your preferred social media channel for lead generation, the next step is to learn the “tactical” part of launching your lead-generation campaign.
I’ve created lots of free resources, guides, videos and walkthroughs to show you exactly how to do this. Just reach out to me and let me know what channel you’d like to learn about in more detail, and I’ll send over whatever you need.
What happens next after generating leads?
Don’t think that once you’ve generated some leads, you can sit back, relax and watch the money roll in (although that would be awesome, right?). Unfortunately, it doesn’t normally work that way. You need to nurture your leads so that they like, trust, and eventually buy from you.
This is very important, and you can’t skip this step!
Otherwise, you’ll just be generating leads without generating any sales.
So, how can you nurture your leads? There are lots of ways. I’m not going to go into too much detail now, but I will say as a minimum, you need a system to follow up with your leads, such as through email marketing, and a system to keep building trust, such as by sending them your latest and best content.
For example, with the leads we generate on social media, we enter them into an automated follow up email sequence with more content that provides value to them. Based on their actions and engagement, we eventually offer them a chance to purchase our “done-for-you” social media services, once they trust and like us enough.
So, there you have it. Start today and create a system in your business to generate leads and nurture those leads into paying customers!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic too:
- What is your biggest barrier to growing your business?
- How do you generate leads? Does social media lead generation work for you?
Please share your experiences below and feel free to ask if you have any questions.
About Ashley Davis
Ashley Davis is the founder of Skyline Social – a 100% virtual social media agency specialising in lead generation.
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