Social media is a tremendous tool for any business that wants to turn its inbound marketing campaign into a long-term lead-generation strategy. The best businesses use it to integrate their inbound marketing efforts with their sales and growth strategy.
Here are the five crucial steps your business needs to focus on for turning your social media marketing into sales leads.
1. Know, like and trust
The old sales adage of how prospects must know, like and trust you takes on an entirely new dimension when it comes to social media. Due to the vast distances between customers and companies on social media, it is even more important to use social media as a tool to generate sales.
B2B Technology Marketing Community stated that 61 percent of B2B marketers list their greatest challenge as generating high-quality leads. Without a long-term social media management strategy, you will probably struggle to get prospects to know, like and trust your company. That is why social media is a long-term game that can take at a minimum six to 12 months to start seeing results.
The good news, as The Annuitas Group reported, is nurtured leads make 47 percent larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. When your company spends the time to nurture leads, it does not have to convince a prospect of the value of your services.
Non-nurtured leads spend less because they first want to test you. Nurtured leads have already done that.
2. Traffic generation
Once you generate the trust, you can ramp up the traffic to bring in multiple leads. The best way to increase traffic is through creating dynamic content on your website and throughout social media. It is one of the reasons why companies that blog generate 67 percent more leads than companies that don’t.
Blogging is a great way to generate traffic. However, if you want to create traffic that converts to sales leads, use your blog to send traffic to webinars. According to a study by the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs, 61 percent of B2B marketers rate webinars as the number-one content-marketing strategy for their business.
They do this because webinars hold your audience captivated for a longer time. Think about the power of Google Hangouts. Hangouts can be as short as a few minutes or as long as eight hours. The choice is yours.
If your idea is to generate traffic from people you know, like and trust, then spending more time helping them with their problems is a great way to do this. Nothing achieves this more effectively then webinars.
3. Lead scoring
The next step is to start scoring prospects who come through social media. Customer relationship management (CRM) solutions have proved to be one of the easiest ways to score leads. Many CRMs like Salesforce, Sugar and Zoho have lead scoring built into their platforms.
Not surprisingly, 84 percent of companies that have a CRM use lead scoring to determine the quality of leads. Using lead scoring helps you understand the effectiveness of your social media marketing strategy as well as where your sales team should focus their efforts. If you receive too many low-scoring leads from a specific social network, it indicates you need to switch your social media strategy. Furthermore, your sales team can then effectively convert more leads than the marketing team generated.
If you don’t know the score, how can your business win at lead generation?
4. Conversion point
Speaking of knowing the score, when exactly should you turn a prospect in the marketing funnel into a potential client for your sales professional to convert?
Generally, the conversion point starts with email subscribers from your website. That is because email is almost 40 times better for lead generation than social media.
Companies that are able to make the most out of their inbound marketing efforts add email subscribers from the traffic they generate. Those subscribers are all potential clients. Email is a great way to stay in touch with them and connect with prospects so they move forward with you when they are ready.
Note: Do not just use email to generate leads. Email is another nurturing tool. It is just as effective with current customers as prospects when used correctly.
Therefore, also focus on turning your customers into advocates through email campaigns. This way you can leverage the relationships you built already for additional referrals and repeat business.
Finally, your company needs to automate the social media marketing process wherever possible because having to do everything manually can be a beast for your marketing department. The more you automate the process, the more you can increase your leads. Gartner Research documented that companies that automate lead generation see a 10 percent or more increase in revenue within six to nine months.
As I stated earlier, it is vitally important for businesses to generate trust with their prospects. By committing to a professional social media management strategy, you give your sales force the edge they need to connect with prospects who are ready and willing to buy.
Therefore, spend your time focusing on creating the content and relationships your prospects deserve from you before they are ready to purchase. That will make the close that much sweeter when they move forward.
In the meantime, let us know how you use social media marketing to generate leads for your business in the comment section below.
Michael Jenkins is the CEO and founder of Shout Digital Marketing Agency, which formulates a social media marketing strategy for businesses to produce leads.