As of 2021, 78% of people use social media to buy from brands, and 76% use it to recommend brands.
But consistently generating leads from social media can still be challenging for businesses. So, is social media worth the time marketers invest into it for lead generation?
We decided to ask the experts – 204 marketers who are using their social channels to generate leads.
In this piece, we’ll share their opinions on whether social media lead generation is worth the time, and how you can maximize your time investment and use social media to source high-quality leads.
31% of marketers spend 10+ hours generating social media leads
Although the time spent on social media lead generation varies greatly, most marketers agree that this task takes thoughtful investment (like any other lead generation effort):
- 35% of marketers invest 4-6 hours per week
- 16% spend 7-9 hours per week
- 31% spend 10 hours or more on social media lead generation per week – and nearly half of those marketers (14%) dedicate at least 13 hours per week
Social media brings in over 20% of leads for 4 in 10 marketers
But are the results that social media generates worth the time spent? Based on the lead percentages that 204 marketers are generating from social, and the long-form responses that the vast majority of marketers gave us, the answer is yes.
- 20% of marketers get 16-20% of their leads from social media.
- What’s more, 43% generate more than twenty percent of their leads from social media.
- In fact, 15% of marketers share that over 35% of their leads are from social channels.
As Richard Clews of Pants and Socks told us, “We can directly attribute about 10-15% of our total sales to social media lead generation efforts, largely involving working with micro-influencers. The ROI for social channels, for us, is outstanding. Only email marketing delivers better results per dollar spent.”
And as Cindy Walker of Moms Coupon Affair shares, “We are always working hard to figure out what resonates with our customers and helps us reach new ones. Social media lead generation is definitely time-consuming, but we think the value it brings to our business is incomparable.”
Why is social media lead generation worth it?
Exactly why is social media worth the time? Let’s dive into some of the detailed reasons marketers shared below:
Lets you learn about and connect with your audience
In the words of Patrick Smith of Fire Stick Tricks: “Social media lead generation efforts are totally worth it. Apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok have millions of users. So, targeting social media for lead generation means that companies can deliver their content to a massive audience pool.
“Social media also allows brands to identify their customer base and tailor content according to their likes and dislikes,” notes Smith. This, in turn, helps increase leads and conversion rates.
PrimetimePokemon’s Anders Rydholm shares similar thoughts: “I’ve found that one of the most effective ways to generate leads is through social media. Using analytics and surveys, I can learn a lot about my audience, and that helps me tailor my marketing efforts to target them more effectively.
“In addition to providing me with a wealth of information about my audience, social media also gives me a chance to demonstrate my relevant knowledge and expertise to that audience.”
And as Chris Mitchell of Intelus Agency told us, “Social media lead generation gives companies a view of prospective customers like they’ve never had before. With platforms like LinkedIn, companies can leverage interests and shared experiences to connect with prospects and customers in a way that is simply not possible in other channels. Plus, social media allows companies to use data to improve marketing campaign performance.”
Carter Reum of M13 adds, “Leads that are generated from social media are definitely worth the effort. In the digital marketing age, social platforms are right at the top of ways to interact and engage with potential customers. You have a captive audience when it comes time to announce a new feature or an offer. That can be essential when it comes to generating quality leads.”
Builds valuable credibility
Equally important is the fact that your audience is less likely to trust you if you aren’t on social media.
GoodHire’s Mike Grossman explains this well: “Even if you have decades of experience, one thing is for certain: if leads can’t find you when they search for your business, they’re less likely to put their trust in you.
“When there are fewer touch points available throughout the lead nurturing process, leads won’t be able to research your business and become familiar with what you do. As a result, a potential partnership can seem more risky.”
The solution Grossman identifies? Consistent social media presence. “By refining your social media presence, leads can learn about your history, your products or services, and your people. All of this makes them more likely to get in touch.”
Lets you foster relationships and show expertise
Most of all though, social media helps with lead generation by positioning you directly in front of your target audience.
It’s as Ian Turner from Gentleman Haircuts says: “The beauty of social media lead generation is that it allows you to start a dialogue with your prospects, before they even become customers. You’re able to engage with people who are interested in what you have to offer, and start building trust and a relationship.
“Social media also helps make your marketing much more authentic, by allowing you to show your personality online and establish yourself as an expert in your field. This helps build loyalty to your brand and encourages new customers to buy from you over a competitor.”
Melanie Musson of HomeInsuranceReviews.com has also seen success with building relationships on social: “Even now, at the beginning of our social media effort, we’ve experienced results. Social media lets us interact with our audience personally. These relationships are different than ones we’re able to build on other platforms. Relationships lead to familiarity, which has turned into conversions for many.”
Stephen Light of Nolah Mattress asserts, “Building a unique, valuable, and authoritative brand voice on social media can help you reach millions of potential buyers with little upfront cost – the same can’t be said of every channel.
“Social media is one of the strongest ways to directly connect with your audience, and is the single most cost-effective way to engage with consumers in a more intimate way, allowing for brands to build the authentic relationships that make for high-quality leads.”
And as Nick Drewe of Wethrift shares, “If you truly understand your target audience, your lead generation efforts can come with pretty amazing returns. With social media, you can interact with your audience in a more authentic way than basically every other marketing channel, because social media can be less overtly promotional. Genuine engagement with your audience, while consistently providing value and highlighting your expertise, is a recipe for steady lead generation.”
In short, social media delivers meaningful lead generation results because it:
- Directly connects you with your audience, helping you engage them better.
- Helps showcase your expertise and build authority in your field.
- Helps you meet your audience’s expectations, as they want to see you on social media.
Invest your time in several lead generation methods, including social
So far, it’s clear that social brings in leads.
But how about other lead generation tactics? Should you invest more time in channels other than social media?
Curious, we asked our respondents the same. And, it turns out that organic social media is almost shoulder to shoulder with other lead generation tactics, when it comes to generating high-quality leads. Here’s what we learned:
- Marketers gave content marketing a 4.25 out of 5 for high-quality lead generation, making it the most effective lead gen channel.
- They gave organic SEO a 4.07 rating for lead generation, making it the second-most effective channel.
- Website optimization scored an average rating of 4.05 for generating leads.
- Referral marketing scored a 3.83 out of 5 for lead generation effectiveness.
- Organic social is almost equally as effective as referral marketing, coming in fifth with a rating of 3.82.
The consensus? Social media lead generation is worth the investment, assuming you concentrate on the organic aspect most.
But that doesn’t mean you focus on organic social alone. Instead, be sure to improve other lead gen tactics too, especially the other four highlighted above (and invest in content marketing most).
As Brian Bram of Home Gym Strength asserts, “Social media can indeed drive leads, but remember that social is just one component of an effective overall marketing strategy. For best results, it should be used in conjunction with several other methods, such as search engine optimization and content marketing.”
Directly combining these channels can also be effective, especially for B2Bs.
As Colton De Vos of Resolute Technology Solutions shares, “In my experience with B2B marketing, social media works best when it accompanies a larger inbound marketing or lead generation strategy.
“By sharing blog posts on social media you can increase exposure to your content and potentially engage the visitor with call-to-actions on your site. Similarly, social media lead generation works well for soft offers such as webinar registrations, signing up for a free assessment, or downloading a guide or case study – as opposed to a direct sell of a service or product.”
In short, social media works best as the thread that ties multiple lead generation methods together, rather than used in isolation.
If using social, be prepared for the efforts needed
Of course, regardless of how you use it, there’s a lot that goes into generating leads from social media. If you think that simply creating social media profiles and posting any content is the answer, think again.
From identifying your niche to encouraging engagement, there’s a lot that you need to do.
For one, “You need the knowledge, tools and time to identify your target audience. You also must have a thorough understanding of what campaigns have worked before, and tools in place to measure metrics like engagement, follower growth, and page views,” as Amelia Munday of Custom Neon asserts.
“If you are targeting the wrong audience, using the wrong platform or posting content with no strategy or KPI in place, your campaign is likely to flop.”
Also, as Alon Cohen of code[RELIABLE] shares, “You need to have the right image and text combination, along with the right targeting, for social media lead generation to work. However, that is not enough. You need to have a good follow up system in place to interact with the leads that do not convert right away.”
Most of all, “understand that social media is a tool, and like any tool, it’s not going to be effective if you don’t know how to use it,” points out Ann Young of Fix The Photo.
“Social media lead generation is worth the time you put in if you’re willing to learn about each platform and what makes it unique.”
Young doesn’t just talk the talk, but also walks the walk. At Fix The Photo, for example, Young writes, “we’ve seen our conversion and retention rates skyrocket since we began focusing on social media marketing.
“With every bit of effort we put in on social media, we’re learning more about our target market — what they’re looking for in a product like ours, how much they know about the industry, and how they like to communicate with brands.
“That kind of data is invaluable because it helps us continually improve our processes as well as develop new strategies for reaching potential customers.”
With that, let’s look at the tactics that can help you succeed with social media lead generation in the next section.
17 proven tips to get more leads from social media
Now that you know that social media lead generation is worth the time, how can you maximize the time you spend? Our experts’ advice can be divided into the following 17 tips.
- Pick the right channels
- Create and refine your lead generation strategy
- Nail your niche
- Understand who your audience is
- Create customer personas
- Create value-packed content
- Partner with micro-influencers
- Encourage user-generated content
- Focus on building relationships
- Plant the seeds of engagement
- Be authentic
- Showcase your expertise
- Take the community-building approach
- Employ social listening
- Use social media sponsorships
- Host giveaways and referral campaigns
- Be consistent
1. Pick the right channels
The right platform can bring you highly qualified leads. For our respondents, for instance, some of the favorites are Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Let’s look at the numbers:
- 79% post on Facebook with the intent of generating leads
- 72% publish on LinkedIn for attracting leads
- 63% share on Instagram to source leads
- 56% post on Twitter for lead generation
- 16% post on TikTok for lead generation
- 12% focus on other platforms, such as YouTube, Pinterest, and/or Reddit
But posting on which platforms delivers the best results? It turns out:
- 34% of our contributors say LinkedIn is the most effective social network for lead generation.
- Facebook is another extremely effective social channel for lead generation. It was also named by 34% of marketers as the most effective channel.
- Instagram comes in third, with 24% naming it the most effective channel.
Keeping all this at the forefront, the first step is to do your homework.
As Sanket Shah from InVideo suggests, “Ask yourself: what platforms are worth putting the time in, based on where your audience spends most of their time and what demographics you’re going for?”
Ian Turner of Gentleman Haircuts makes the same point. “Before you even think about what platform you’re going to use, start by really getting to know your customer base. Are they more likely to be on Twitter or LinkedIn? Do they respond better to quick video clips than blog posts?”
On the other hand, PhotoAiD’s Natalia Brzezińska recommends “understanding social media platforms in terms of demographics, interests, and content; know which channel is a good fit for your audience.
“For example, if your target audience is mainly composed of young people under the age of 19, you can successfully generate leads through TikTok, but not Facebook,” Brzezińska explains.
- Research social media platforms to understand who uses them.
- Find out which social channels your audience uses. To accomplish this, survey and interview customers.
2. Create and refine your lead generation strategy
Going all in without a lead generation strategy is a surefire recipe for wasting your time.
What’s more, “Social media lead gen efforts are worth it only if you’re clear about who your customer is and what their pain points are,” warns Karen Miller of KMW Content. “If you don’t approach it with a clear strategy, it’s not effective or helpful.”
In other words, you need a plan to generate leads. “Lay out what your goal is and how you’re going to get there,” Gentleman Haircuts’ Ian Turner outlines.
“Then detail the steps that are going to get you from point A (knowing your audience) to point B (having leads in your inbox) — and make sure that each step is measurable so that you can track success!”
Feeling stuck? Here’s a 3-step blueprint that Colton De Vos from Resolute Technology Solutions shares:
- Don’t be everywhere at once. “Decide on your ideal social channels where your leads are.”
- Establish a consistent brand. “Decide what you stand for and what you want to talk about on social media.” (More on this in a bit). Make sure you gather your brand voice and visual identity guidelines too. This’ll help you build a consistent brand.
- Decide your publishing schedule. “Post with a frequency that makes sense for your business and your available resources.” In other words, settle on how often you’ll post, and at what times.
Another important step here is to “make sure you have a clear view of the lead journey after the lead gets generated,” as Tuff’s Ethan Broder advises.
“It’s really easy to get sucked into a tactic that generates volume, but not quality. By constantly checking in on lead quality, you can double down on tactics that are driving highly qualified leads.”
And once your strategy is ready, stick with it. Don’t change it every other week in the name of refining it. After all, every tactic that you try needs time to show results.
In the words of Khamis Maiouf from Book of Barbering: “The best way to make sure you’re getting the most out of your social media presence is to have a plan and to stick with it no matter what.
“That doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind about how you want to use social media for your business. Try one strategy for a few months, evaluate what worked and what didn’t work, make adjustments, and then move on from there.”
3. Nail your niche
The best way to build an audience and generate leads via social channels is to talk about something specific. Say, customer experience in SaaS, or writing tips for business professionals.
Having a defined niche helps people remember you better. When they see you talking about one topic regularly, they associate you with it. Eventually, they start viewing you as an authority on the topic.
Of course, you can’t pick any niche and call it a day. Instead, choose to talk about a topic that is:
- Relevant to your business
- Interests your target audience
Take Gong, for example. They share sales tips, which are relevant to their audience (sales professionals) and related to their software (as it shares customer insights with sales teams).
Having a defined niche will not only help you attract high-quality leads, but also help you decide what to post about.
4. Understand who your audience is
Essentially, this is the biggest pillar for both developing your social media lead generation strategy and nailing your niche.
Don’t consider everyone your target audience, though. “If you’re trying to appeal to too broad of an audience, you won’t see the same results and your ROI will be lower,” Colin Toh of Headphonesty observes.
“While it can be tempting to try to cast this wide net, ultimately you won’t be getting the right leads or the right audience engaging with your content. Once you’ve niched down, you can hyper-target an audience who are the right fit for your product or service.”
Pinpointing your audience is also vital so you can:
- Create more audience-resonating content.
- Identify the best times to post on social media.
- Use lead generating campaigns that your audience will love.
To elaborate, knowing your audience helps you “talk about their problems, use their language, and engage on their terms,” as Stephanie Powell from Stephanie Powell Creative puts it.
“Show them you legitimately understand them and have the solution to the problem they’ve been Googling.
“Don’t get lost in the little details of how you do what you do. They don’t care– they just want a solution. If you suffer from insomnia, chances are you don’t care how someone can solve your problem. You only care if they can help you sleep,” explains Powell.
5. Create customer personas
Knowing your audience isn’t enough. Instead, document all that you know – a hat tip to Chris Mitchell from Intelus Agency:
“Create well-documented buyer personas and buyer journey maps, and use that information like your North Star to create social content that is guaranteed to align with their goals, objectives and challenges. Once you get that content strategy operationalized, start using data analytics to optimize the strategy for maximum performance.”
Targeting more than one buyer persona? “Always segregate your target audience into different customer personas,” advises Petsolino’s Sherry Morgan.
“Doing so allows you to personalize your content for each customer group, which makes your content relevant for them.
“By letting your audience know how you understand their pain points and how you plan to address those, you will greatly improve your engagement and conversions.”
6. Create value-packed content
Next up, decide what content you’ll create. This will help you build your organic social profile, which is the most effective way to generate leads on social.
3.82 is the rating experts give organic social media for effectively driving leads.
This is followed by social media ads and social media partnerships with others (influencers, ambassadors, and affiliates); they get an average rating of 3.70 and 3.67, respectively.
To recap what we’ve already covered, having a niche to focus on is key. You should also be aware of the voice and tone to use when creating the content.
Now? Kick things off with a strong understanding of what constitutes valuable content, and what type of posts to create for your platform of choice.
“Your content must be able to pique the interest of your readers in an engaging way,” says Benjamin Stenson of Norsemen.
“Also, remember to create different content for each social media account. Avoid using similar content on all your social accounts, because that might not yield expected lead generation results. Quality content that speaks to your audience is the key to successful lead generation.”
Unsure if the content you’re planning is going to be valuable to your audience? Here’s the litmus test that Stephen Light of Nolah Mattress recommends:
“Every time you post, focus on providing value over pushing for sales.”
- Is this something that’ll get my attention?
- Is it providing me value?
- Does it sound like a sales pitch?
This works because “your target audience is scrolling through social media in the hopes of being entertained, learning something interesting, or maybe just scrolling for the sake of it.
“To capture attention and stand out within a sea of content, providing genuine value is key. Give something real to your audience – don’t grab at them in hopes of gaining. If your content is always a sales pitch, you won’t gain the authenticity and connection with your audience that social media can provide.”
What types of content should you create?
With the basics out of the way, here are some of the best content types for social media growth:
“Customer testimonials show potential leads that other clients have benefited from using your products and services,” comments RevenueGeeks’ Elisa Bender.
“This adds to your authenticity and demonstrates your brand value. When people know others have had positive experiences, they become more likely to buy from you.”
“Sharing testimonials of how customers have benefited from your products is proof of your brand’s value. It even improves your brand’s reputation, thus, increasing leads and overall sales,” adds Fire Stick Tricks’ Patrick Smith.
Daniel Carter of Skuuudle agrees. “Customer anecdotes and testimonials provide the social evidence you need to obtain new leads. I believe two out of every three individuals are more inclined to purchase anything after watching a testimonial that shows how a company, product, or service has benefited someone similar to them,”
“Images, as I found, are one of the most engaging forms of material on social media,” opines Adam Wood of RevenueGeeks.
“Tweets with photos get 18% more hits and 150% more retweets than tweets without images. Creating picture shares for social media platforms can be a successful technique.”
The best part? Images can help you tell captivating stories visually. As Wood continues, “They are an excellent method to present a visual tale about what potential attendees can expect to learn from [you].”
Janet Patterson from Highway Title Loans, on the other hand, considers images “clickable content.” Patterson shares: “Brands are constantly competing for attention in the online world. Companies should post sharp images with exciting captions to grab the user’s attention. In our case, this clickable content redirects leads to our website, where we can target them effectively through email marketing.”
Video: Most effective for lead quantity and engagement
Lastly, create bite-sized videos. According to Curran Van Waarde of CallScaler, “A video is more effective than text on social media. It adds an element of creativity, originality and ease when communicating.”
No wonder: 3.76 is the average rating marketers give videos (posted by the brand) for the quantity of leads driven. It’s also the social media post type that got the most 5 out of 5 ratings for lead quantity.
Videos posted by others who represent brands (such as ambassadors and influencers) got the second-highest rating for driving the most leads, with an average rating of 3.51.
Other highly-rated post types for lead quantity include:
- Posts about sales and offers that brands post (Average rating of 3.46)
- Images others post but represent you (Average rating of 3.38)
- Images posted by businesses (Average rating of 3.33)
To create winning videos, Van Waarde advises “Keep them entertaining and engaging, as people watch over 5 billion videos every day. But yes, videos definitely give us a break from text information, and can be quite fun too.” What’s more, Van Waarde strongly believes that videos are only going to gain more traction.
No matter which content format you create, though, “do not talk about your brand all the time,” suggests Charles Cridland of YourParkingSpace.
Instead of taking a self-centered approach, share value-packed content, including others’ content that you curate: “Regularly share news and other content related to your industry. This will build the perception of your expertise and eventually ensure more interaction with your content. As a result, you’ll earn more impressions in the threads of your followers.”
7. Partner with micro-influencers
Another effective tactic to win at social media lead generation is to try influencer marketing.
The key, however, is to find and collaborate with micro-influencers who have engaged audiences.
“Influencer marketing on social media is truly one of the strongest lead generation tactics,” insists Wethrift’s Nick Drewe.
“Leveraging the engaged following of an authentic personality who doesn’t have direct ties to your brand can offer a sense of humanity that draws leads in.
“By partnering with influencers within your niche, you’re humanizing your brand – their audience trusts what they have to say about your product or service far more than what your own messaging says about it.” Smaller influencers tend to be even more authentic and trusted, and they are also more accessible to brands than bigger names.
8. Encourage user-generated content
Like Drewe, Benjamin Rollins from Axon Optics also commends influencer marketing. But Rollins speaks in favor of user-generated content (UGC), too:
“For us, these have been highly effective for us to increase our reach and foster trust with our audience.
“You also need a strong social media profile or page. That way, when people learn about you through influencers or content that people they know have shared, they can find out more about you on your profile and form a favorable impression, which increases lead conversions.
“Fortunately, user-generated content and influencer content also make great organic social media posts and can complement the typical engagement posts.
“We use a lot of user-generated content in our social media posts. We’ve found it can increase lead conversion rates when people see that other people are having a great experience with our products.”
9. Focus on building relationships
“Build genuine relationships with your prospects and audience,” advises Jonathan Aufray of Growth Hackers. This is extremely important for driving qualified leads using social media.
“Share relevant, interesting and insightful content with your community without feeling needy. Don’t forget that social media should be social – building rapport is crucial to generate qualified leads.”
Cindy Walker from Moms Coupon Affair adds, “You can’t just make a post and forget about it — you have to be willing to talk with your audience.
“Make sure you’re around to answer questions, respond to comments, and start conversations with your followers. That’s how you get people to trust you enough that they’ll want to do business with you.”
Finally, Brosix’s Andreyana Kulina advises, “Identify the relevant niches for your business and participate in private groups on social media.
“In these groups, you can share content and build relationships with other group members. Since these groups are focused on specific areas, the quality of conversations is higher and the group members are more prone to checking out your product.”
Similarly, Andrew Dale of CloudTech24 shares, “Joining a social media community is the best method to stay in touch with your customers. You boost your visibility and reach by engaging your social followers in their existing activities. This eventually creates a community of loyal clients, which can make a significant impact.”
10. Plant the seeds of engagement
“Actually interact with the people that follow you,” recommends Willis Aybar of Studio 87.
When people see a business is active on social media, they tend to interact with it more. But it’s your job to engage first and encourage engagement as well.
“When your audience gets used to taking micro-actions with you that prove to be enjoyable and beneficial, they’ll be more likely to take the actions to turn into paying customers, too,” Tasha Booth observes.
One good way to engage is to “Send a unique DM to every new follower, preferably in video or audio format to separate it from all the spam DM’s people tend to receive,” as recommended by Aybar.
What’s more, create content that encourages engagement. “Consistently create opportunities for people to respond to you and your content,” Booth suggests.
“Use calls-to-action, respond to comments and DMs, and use interactivity tools on the platforms (like polls and question boxes) to build a back-and-forth relationship with followers.”
Examples of engagement-encouraging content include polls, and videos. Interestingly, we learned that:
Video is the highest-rated content type to drive engagement.
On average, our respondents give videos they post a rating of 3.91 for engagement, on a scale of 1 to 5. Like with lead quantity, more people gave videos a full (5 out of 5) rating for engagement than other post types.
Other content types that garner the most engagement include:
- Interactive posts (polls, contests, shoppable posts, etc.), posted by your brand: Average rating of 3.63
- Images posted by your brand: Average rating of 3.58
- Videos posted by others who represent you (affiliates, influencers, ambassadors): Average rating of 3.56
- Posts related to sales and offers posted by your brand: Average rating of 3.45
11. Be authentic
Another important tip is to be authentic, as it attracts leads. “Most consumers can tell when a brand is trying to sell them something, and they don’t like it,” points out Denis Leskovets of Office Consumer.
It’s why Leskovets says it’s essential you “focus on giving customers helpful information that they can use in their everyday lives.
“We also go out of our way to make sure we’re building relationships with the people who comment on our posts and share their stories with us. This way, they feel like they’re being heard and seen as more than just a number.”
Another good way to show your authenticity is to bring the humans behind your business to the front.
Voice.com’s David Ciccarelli speaks in favor of this. “For B2B service providers, encourage your founder or CEO to be active on LinkedIn. This could start with a post per week, and develop a more disciplined schedule of a daily habit.”
“Begin with simple text posts on the CEO’s personal LinkedIn profile, then add images and eventually experiment with video.
“In my experience, I’ve grown from merely posting links to other articles which get nearly no engagement to sharing videos that receive likes, comments, and thousands of views. The telltale sign it’s working is when LinkedIn appears in the ‘how did you hear about us?’ field during the registration process.”
12. Showcase your expertise
“Your leads will be more likely to buy from you if they know that you’re an expert in your field,” notes Springboard’s Roger Huang.
An effective way to establish expertise is “by sharing helpful tips and advice” on a particular topic related to your business.
Doing so will assist you in earning your audience’s trust and confidence, says Huang: “You would be amazed how many businesses don’t put enough effort into showcasing their expert-level knowledge and building that trust and confidence via their social profiles and communities.”
13. Take the community-building approach
“My number one tip for efficiently using social media for lead generation is to create a community,” highlights Ansar Hammad from Entire Looks.
“Instead of just throwing your brand or your latest marketing message out there and hoping that it catches on, establish a community where people can connect with each other, and they can see that they’re not alone in their experience of your brand, product, or service.”
The idea is simple: “create a sense of community and belonging with your potential customers,” Fix The Photo’s Ann Young chimes in.
For example, Young shares: “We’ve created a social media presence that offers customers the most value in terms of what they’re looking for — from free e-books, to helpful articles, to interactive quizzes that help them get to know us and our work better.
“We have found that this approach helps us connect with our audience in a way that allows them to resonate with our brand and makes it more likely they’ll want to do business with us in the future.”
Such a community approach comes with a lot of benefits.
For one, it helps you build relationships. As Hammad puts it: “Build relationships with people who are interested in what you have to offer and get them involved with your business, so they not only become familiar with you but also bring other potential customers along.”
Other than that, community building helps you:
- Understand your audience better – their interests, struggles and so on.
- Get instant feedback. For example, if you’re launching a new product feature, you can ask for beta testers from the community you’ve built.
- Grow word of mouth. If you’re offering the most value to your community members, they’re very likely to spread the word about it.
Philip Pages of PostPurchaseSurvey.com supports this mindset: “Lead generation involves creating helpful content and building a following. By giving first and attracting amazing people, you’ll naturally draw in people who are interested in what you’re building. “
14. Employ social listening
Social listening involves reading through your target audience’s conversations on social media to understand what they’re talking about, how they feel about it, and so on.
According to Diggity Marketing’s Nathan Hughes, “listening to the requests, comments, queries, and feedback that your audience has on social media is an excellent way to generate leads.
“Listening to the audience’s requests has always stayed an old yet effective leaf in the book of social media. That’s what Wendy’s, Burger King, and Dominos have always done and Netflix continues to do.”
Hughes shares they use social listening for their business too. “We listen to any niche-related requests the audience has on social media handles and send in our replies.
“As much as it might seem self-promotional, making your reply creative, quirky, and humorous with short testimonials is more likely to attract attention.
“Sometimes, this trick might even help you to gain the spotlight across the world. The audience will likely acknowledge that whatever you’re trying to pull off is marketing. But they still love the way you do it, helping you generate leads.”
In short, social listening helps you:
- Better refine your audience profile
- Better understand your lead’s struggle (you can also share your solution where relevant)
- Jump in on relevant conversations
15. Use social media sponsorships
Like influencer marketing, sponsorships help you tap into other creators’ engaged audiences. Each time you sponsor, though, make sure the audience is relevant to your business.
Melanie Bedwell of OLIPOP shares that sponsorships can be a powerful way to acquire leads via social content that your audience already consumes and loves:
“Consider sponsoring social content or YouTube channels that are popular with your target audience. This will allow a well-known content creator to talk about your product or service, giving you credibility. When you employ these lead generation tactics on social media, you should see the amount of leads you generate explode.
16. Host giveaways and referral campaigns
Giveaways are a super useful tactic for growing your brand awareness, attracting leads, and increasing word of mouth.
Onclusive’s Sean O’Neal advises: “Run contests on your social media channels. Not only will this increase your chances of generating leads, but it can also create a positive image for your brand.”
“Participants can share the positive experience they had with your brand, which could help your brand establish trust,” O’Neal points out.
“For the contest, you can encourage your audience to like, share, and follow. It’s the easiest way to generate leads.”
Sep Niakan of Condoblackbook adds to this: “Running competitions, for example, helps raise brand recognition as it generates social media leads. Businesses can reap major benefits from contests by obtaining leads, and participants will share their great experiences with friends and coworkers, creating a viral influence.
Carter Reum of M13 adds to this: “Social media presents a situation where your customers can rapidly help spread the word about your product. Incentivize your loyal fans to tell their friends by fostering a community and rewarding referrals. It can be a win-win for everyone.”
You can also ask customers to directly tag their friends who’d likely be interested in your brand.
This method is known as a social media referral campaign, which can “be a terrific method to engage your social media following,” says David Wurst from Webcitz.
“A fantastic example of a referral campaign is Marketo’s annual event, Marketing Nation Online,” Wurst points out.
“All participants were urged to recommend their friends via social media in order to be entered to win an Amazon gift card. You can make enticing offers, such as gift cards or cash incentives, to both the referrer and the referees.
“It might persuade your clients to refer you to their friends and family. With social channels connected to your marketing platform, you can build up a referral campaign across key social networks and considerably increase your consumer base.”
So, don’t sleep on social media referral campaigns!
17. Be consistent
And finally, it’s important you be consistent in terms of the strategy you’re implementing, as well as regularly showing up and engaging your audience.
“You also need to be consistent with your brand image and messaging,” adds Anders Rydholm of PrimetimePokemon.
“A lot of people seem to think they have to do something very different on social media than they would in their normal business operations — but that’s not true. Social media is not an island unto itself, it’s an extension of your existing marketing strategy. If you’ve already established what your brand looks like, talks like, sounds like… then don’t change it. This will make it easier for you and will also help establish your company as trustworthy.”
The take-home message? “Keep up with questions and comments, and showcase your expertise in the trending topics for your niche,” Lindsay McCormick of Bite notes. Answer and ask questions – whatever it takes to keep the conversation going and send users over to your website where, hopefully, they convert.
Bobby Klinck summarizes it well: “Don’t post and ghost. People will remember you as someone who gives value, so they’re more inclined to check out your brand and do business with you.”
Put simply, “when you post content on your page or a group, you need to engage. Respond to comments, prompt more discussions by asking questions, and share your knowledge.”
Summing things up
Social media lead generation is worth the time, as long as you follow the best practices we’ve covered.
Andreyana Kulina of Brosix sums things up: “Social media is always worth it, however, it is not as easy as it looks. Getting meaningful leads requires a detailed plan that includes your target audience, how exactly you are planning to reach it, an analysis of strengths, opportunities and obstacles, and detailed goals.”
Start by understanding which social channel is best for you, identifying your audience and niche, regularly creating relevant content, and engaging with followers.
And if you’ve just started investing in social media lead generation and aren’t generating leads right away, don’t give up. It may take time for the lead generation engine to start running, as Ravi Davda of Rockstar Marketing shares:
“It can take some time to get your first few social leads or clients. This is usually months, but I’ve also heard stories where it took people over a year to get their first client from social media. Build your network up, post consistently, engage with others, and be known to show up. Once you’ve done this, it also takes time to manage on an ongoing basis. I usually spend 1-3 hours per day on LinkedIn. Be prepared to put this investment in.”
Want to learn more? Dig into social media lead generation tips that 66 other marketers share.