Community Management, Content Marketing, Guest Posts, Social Media Strategy, Blogging and Content Creation, Social Media Marketing

Can Social Media and Lead Generation Coalesce?

By now, we all know that social media is a fantastic tool for gauging the audience and communicating with previous and current customers. But, can it also be used to lure in new customers? Can social media marketing be paired with other lead generation tactics to create new business opportunities? My initial response was, ”mmh, maybe”.

Recently, I was asked to speak about “Social Media for Driving Leads.” At first glance, it felt as though I had been asked to open a jar of pickles with my feet – there are so many better ways. social media lead generatio 150x300 Can Social Media and Lead Generation Coalesce?After giving it some consideration and thinking about social media as a lead acquisition tactic, I suppose that it’s plausible. However, I will still contend that social media is best served as a method for retention and engagement, while social media marketing can be utilized to garner new leads and revenue.

If new, qualified lead generation is your objective, here are three strategies to employ within social media marketing.

1. Create – Develop Amazing Content Always. No matter what your marketing goal, people will always gravitate toward terrific content. Content that educates, entertains, inspires, enlightens and/or enrages has magnetism. By creating a content strategy for your social media program, the process for creating new content becomes much easier. Give your current contacts, followers and fans something they’ll want to talk about and share. In doing so, you’ll no doubt add some to the roster.

2. Listen – (Or at least eavesdrop). I recently introduced Twitter Search to a social media novice who sells pet products, specifically those for puppies and kittens. She was shocked to see how many people were using the words “new puppy” in their tweets. It also came as a great surprise to her how often these mentions just continually rolled in, minute after minute. The trick, then, is what to do about it.

Given a set of conversations that are contextually relevant to a product or service you provide, you could: a) follow those people, b) create and publish content that specifically addresses their issues/questions, c) identify other influencers within social media circles with whom you can create relationships, d) all of the above.

So what do you think? … The best answer in my humble opinion would be “d”. They are all viable options given the scenario, but show caution in exhibiting just one of these. Simply following an individual might not be enough (and could seem a bit creepy and intrusive). Creating new content can be ineffective if your real targets don’t know that it exists. Finally, developing relationships with other influencers is always preferred, but be sure you have the authority over your message so it doesn’t get muddled.

3. Engage – Spur On Those Already in Your Camp. This is going to sound like a Yogi-ism, but nothing is truly viral until it actually is. Developing a program with the intent of growing your base exponentially is often times wishful thinking. However, there are a few things one can do to encourage existing fans to spread the word.

First, ask open ended questions to allow fans to provide answers for all (their friends) to see. By eliciting feedback and input from your loyalists, you may draw in others with similar interests and needs.

Second, develop incentives, contests and promotions only available to current fans and followers. Make the incentive great enough that others would want to join.

Finally, simply take part in the conversation yourself. Similar to asking questions, be proactive in commenting on your fans status, retweet their posts where it makes sense, and share information they have provided. Giving kudos, providing your own feedback and thanking your customers in this public forum not only serves your current fans well, but it solidifies the legitimacy of your brand in social media by making it human – a trait to which every company active in social media should aspire.

Tactically speaking, there are several methods of generating new business leads and prospective customers via social media marketing. Facebook, Twitter and Blogging are great for B2C companies. For B2B relationships, Jason has created a great presentation on using LinkedIn. No matter your marketing goals, consider social media as primarily a public relations, retention and customer service tactic. The new business you derive from it are simply gravy.

How do you or your clients use social media marketing for lead generation?

  • http://chadswaney.com/ Chad Swaney

    Great summary of what social media IS and what it IS NOT. It isn’t about directly correlating your social media content to X number of new customers–it is about being part of the conversation. Maybe we could get through to traditional marketers if we started explaining it in terms that make more sense to them: Social Media is a brand awareness campaign, not a direct response campaign.

    • http://www.offmadisonave.com/ Chris Sietsema

      Thanks, Chad. Great comment. I’ve found that it helps to explain SM as largely a public relations tactic. Lead gen is definitely possible, but primarily at the campaign level. It’s not necessarily about always creating new relationships, but rather nurturing the ones you have.

  • http://chadswaney.com Chad Swaney

    Great summary of what social media IS and what it IS NOT. It isn’t about directly correlating your social media content to X number of new customers–it is about being part of the conversation. Maybe we could get through to traditional marketers if we started explaining it in terms that make more sense to them: Social Media is a brand awareness campaign, not a direct response campaign.

    • http://www.offmadisonave.com Chris Sietsema

      Thanks, Chad. Great comment. I’ve found that it helps to explain SM as largely a public relations tactic. Lead gen is definitely possible, but primarily at the campaign level. It’s not necessarily about always creating new relationships, but rather nurturing the ones you have.

  • http://chadswaney.com/ Chad Swaney

    Absolutely, right. I can’t help but think of the “I’m a Mac” ads, which, I would argue, were designed primarily to preach to the converted–to validate the self-righteousness of Mac fanboys (I must convess that, as a Mac fanboy, I always feel a devilish tinge of superiority when I see the ads).

    Social Media is also about connecting with your current customer base more than about generating new, immediate, direct sales.

  • http://chadswaney.com Chad Swaney

    Absolutely, right. I can’t help but think of the “I’m a Mac” ads, which, I would argue, were designed primarily to preach to the converted–to validate the self-righteousness of Mac fanboys (I must convess that, as a Mac fanboy, I always feel a devilish tinge of superiority when I see the ads).

    Social Media is also about connecting with your current customer base more than about generating new, immediate, direct sales.

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  • apierno

    Interesting Guest post by @sietsema on @jaybaer ‘s blog about Social Media and Lead Gen – http://tinyurl.com/lxpocr

  • http://brandconsultantasia.wordpress.com/ Marcus Osborne

    Hi Jay
    I enjoyed reading your article and found it thought provoking. Essentially, for me anyway, you reinforced the fact that Social Media, and in particular Twitter is so new that we are all learning as we go along. Even the tool itself has not quite settled down yet.

    I also believe that companies have to review their organisational make up because to make the changes you recommend, (and I agree with you) requires revolution not evolution. For instance the taking part in the conversation is critical but who will do it?

    Certainly old mass economy tactics such as positioning (please see my blog for my obit for positioning) are no longer relevant in the SM market.

    Other key points that I would like to make are:

    Social media is not the silver bullet marketeers are always looking for and if you have a crap product, SM is not going to fix it.

    (Chad, I chuckled at your comments re the MAC ads, were we seperated at birth?!)

  • http://brandconsultantasia.wordpress.com/ Marcus Osborne

    Hi Jay
    I enjoyed reading your article and found it thought provoking. Essentially, for me anyway, you reinforced the fact that Social Media, and in particular Twitter is so new that we are all learning as we go along. Even the tool itself has not quite settled down yet.

    I also believe that companies have to review their organisational make up because to make the changes you recommend, (and I agree with you) requires revolution not evolution. For instance the taking part in the conversation is critical but who will do it?

    Certainly old mass economy tactics such as positioning (please see my blog for my obit for positioning) are no longer relevant in the SM market.

    Other key points that I would like to make are:

    Social media is not the silver bullet marketeers are always looking for and if you have a crap product, SM is not going to fix it.

    (Chad, I chuckled at your comments re the MAC ads, were we seperated at birth?!)

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  • http://YourWebsite Greg

    Great post.

    P.S. Is there a “print” button around here somewhere?

    Thanks,
    Greg

    • http://www.offmadisonave.com Chris Sietsema

      Thanks, Greg. Just under the “Share This Post”. There is a print icon you can select.

  • Greg

    Great post.

    P.S. Is there a “print” button around here somewhere?

    Thanks,
    Greg

    • http://www.offmadisonave.com/ Chris Sietsema

      Thanks, Greg. Just under the “Share This Post”. There is a print icon you can select.

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  • http://www.L2soft.com/ Ryan Lou

    Great tips. Sadly, there are an increasing number of programs that let you buy twitter followers now.

    If only more marketers realize that building a following on twitter requires you to engage the community.

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  • http://www.L2soft.com Ryan Lou

    Great tips. Sadly, there are an increasing number of programs that let you buy twitter followers now.

    If only more marketers realize that building a following on twitter requires you to engage the community.

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  • http://twitter.com/expansionexpert/status/3227534583 Lizette Pirtle

    http://bit.ly/19FPHO Social Media and Lead Generation

  • http://twitter.com/expansionexpert/status/3227778863 Lizette Pirtle

    RT @tweetmeme Can Social Media and Lead Generation Coalesce? | Guest Posts | Social Media Consulting – Convince & Con… http://bit.ly/KNPtU

  • http://twitter.com/happybrands/status/3228364551 Ramesh Tahiliani

    Social Media and Lead Generation http://bit.ly/YmLfK

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  • http://twitter.com/chrisaahrens/status/3234078271 chris ahrens

    Can Social Media and Lead Generation Coalesce? Convince & Convert http://bit.ly/xuycO

  • http://twitter.com/njmaki/status/3237729405 Jonathan Maki

    RT @chrisaahrens Can Social Media and Lead Generation Coalesce? Convince & Convert http://bit.ly/xuycO

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  • http://twitter.com/dansandercock/status/3304996919 Daniel Sandercock

    Can Social Media and Lead Generation Coalesce? http://ow.ly/k0Qc

  • http://twitter.com/whitehorsepdx/status/3370033653 White Horse

    @jaybear: Great overview on how social media helps with lead-gen. #B2B http://su.pr/206eYY

  • http://twitter.com/beckland/status/3370280027 Jamie Beckland

    RT @whitehorsepdx: @jaybear: Great overview on how social media helps with lead-gen. #B2B http://su.pr/206eYY

  • http://twitter.com/chett12/status/3428314806 Amanda Matchett

    Can social media marketing be used to lure in new customers? http://ow.ly/kHNE #SMM

  • http://twitter.com/rssirteubal/status/11050184350 Ignacio

    Can Social Media and Lead Generation Coalesce? | Blogging and Content Creation | Social Media Consulting – Convinc… http://bit.ly/aiHjMi

  • http://twitter.com/rssirteubal/status/11050184350 Ignacio

    Can Social Media and Lead Generation Coalesce? | Blogging and Content Creation | Social Media Consulting – Convinc… http://bit.ly/aiHjMi

  • http://www.matizmo.co.uk Jake Coventry

    Nice article. Really interesting point – “No matter your marketing goals, consider social media as primarily a public relations, retention and customer service tactic. The new business you derive from it are simply gravy.”

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