Social media marketing is today’s richest source of leads for savvy marketers. With millions of people actively using social media every day, these networks are essentially a huge database of leads ripe for the picking.
What’s more, your potential leads have already packaged and segmented themselves for you. Social media groups, lists, profiles and information pages reveal significant details like age, sex, marital status, hobbies and career aspirations. So, gleaning valuable demographical information on your leads, such as age, interests and business connections, couldn’t be easier. Oh, and let’s not forget that promoting across this vast and powerful online resource is completely free!
However, most marketing teams are only skimming the surface of social media’s bottomless potential. Here’s how you can embrace the full depth of social media and generate high-quality leads that will convert to sales.
1. Tailoring Is Key
You wouldn’t necessarily address your CEO in the same way you’d chat to your neighbor, so why apply the same content for vastly diverse social media sites?
Every social media site is different; LinkedIn is geared for networking professionals, Facebook is a community forum, while Twitter is a micro-blogging and social messaging service. As such, messages for each site demand a distinct tone, content details and even different numbers of words or characters. Furthermore, groups and pages in the sites will also have diverse aims and styles.
Therefore, writing one generic message for Facebook and syncing it across all the social media sites may be the quickest option but it’s certainly not the best one. Get to know the audience on your chosen platform and then tailor your messages specifically to suit them.
2. People Are Listening
These days, more and more people are using tools to ‘listen’ to social media updates. When writing new content, think about which tools your audience will be using to find your posts. For example: many Twitter users use hashtags to search for specific topics so please make sure to tag selected keywords to help these users find you. ‘Hashtag etiquette’ is still evolving but basic rules should be followed, such as only tagging tweets that add significant value to the discussion and never using more than three hashtags per tweet.
3. Check the Clock
Timing is the key to success. In fact, the timing of your posts is almost as important as the content itself. After all, there’s no point in writing first-class stimulating text if there’s no-one there to read it!
Research by organizations like Infographic and Buffer has revealed that you can increase your click rate by 200% just by posting updates at the right times. Once again, it’s important to differentiate between the needs and typical behavior of users on the sites. For example: people are more likely to read your updates on Facebook’s social network on a Saturday but business orientated LinkedIn is accessed more frequently during working hours. If you’re an international organization, don’t forget to check the time zone in your target region – it’s futile to post at the optimal mid afternoon slot in your country if your audience is snoozing in bed on the other side of the world. Schedule your updates, posts and tweets at favorable times for your audience.
4. Clarity Is Crucial
Timing may be vital but you’re not going to generate any leads if no-one understands your posts! Admittedly, this can be challenging when you have tight limitations on words or characters. Think carefully about every word and try to cover the four key “W’s” (What? When? Who? Where?) that relate to your update. Include all your key points and always include a link to your website for full information. Remember that the Internet is global so, unless you’re an internationally renowned organization, many social media users won’t know anything about your product or service. Therefore, don’t just use your brand name and expect readers to identify you. Also, don’t overlook important details like adding the time zone if your post has an online event or a deadline related to a specific time.
5. Join a Group
Or better still, join many groups! There are literally millions of groups on LinkedIn and Facebook and hundreds of these could be related in some way to your organization, product or service. Despite this, most marketers only belong to a handful of groups – most of which aren’t even related to their business. Search for groups that are related to your organization’s vision or products and join the most relevant ones. You can even target and join specific groups for a new campaign and leave once the promotion is completed. Once you’re a group member, don’t dive straight in with your market pitch. Listen to the dialog, discover the ‘hot topics’ and issues driving the discussions and tailor your messaging to fit the conversation. People are much more likely to listen and respond if you portray yourself as a genuine member of the community with an interesting message to convey rather than a sales person trying to exploit the group for financial gain.
6. Use Your Colleagues
Imagine if your promotions could reach the extended social networks of all your colleagues. Even if you work for a small organization, it would dramatically expand your market reach. Encourage all employees to get active on social media and then use their profiles to post messages to connections via personal updates, groups, events and pages. Online marketing is no longer limited to marketing professionals. In fact, social media users are more inclined to listen to the technical expert or graphic artist than a sales or marketing manager. Post your messages via your colleagues’ profiles and your IT manager could turn out to be your best online marketer – just remember to get his or her permission first!
7. Don’t Get Stuck on One Page
Your page that is! There are 900 million interactive platforms (pages, groups and events) on Facebook. Even if a small percentage of these are relevant to your organization, the potential is astronomical. So why limit yourself to promoting on your corporate page to people who know, and are probably using, your product or service already?
Follow these seven simple steps, use all your resources wisely and your viable leads will increase exponentially. Thousands of people can be reached and hundreds of posts created out of one or two well-written messages. For example: you can easily create 120 posts on LinkedIn with just two messages – simply mobilize four user profiles to post these messages across 30 different groups. This increases your market reach and, if you’ve targeted your groups and tailored your messages well, dramatically improves your chances of generating convertible leads.
The benefits of investing wisely in strategic social media campaigns are vast and indisputable. However, with multiple user profiles, hundreds of social media sites and millions of groups and pages, it is extremely challenging to ensure that your campaigns are successfully utilizing all the available resources.
Avoid overlooking valuable aspects by constantly reviewing the four fundamental elements of any social media campaign – what, who, where and when. Consider what you are promoting, who you are targeting, where you are going to reach your audience and when you will post your updates. You may also wish to employ a platform or tool that enables you to view all your campaigns, messages, posts and user profiles on one single page. A calendar view of your campaigns will help the marketing team track, monitor and edit what messages are scheduled, when they are going out, where they are being posted and who will view them.
Ultimately, a successful social media campaign must be carefully targeted, specifically tailored and utilize all available resources. To ensure your campaign doesn’t just ‘skim the surface’ of social media, it should be executed over an extended timeline, utilizing at least four user profiles and dozens of relevant groups. Employ all of these strategies and you will generate significantly more quality leads that can be easily converted to valuable clients.