There are three false assumptions businesses make about social media lead generation, assumptions that stand in the way of getting more business, in the way of getting social media leads, and in the way of getting conversions:
1. Conversions miraculously happen without a call to action
2. Social media is an online thing, thus relationships and conversions only happen online
3. I must guard my privacy, so I should hide my contact information and lock down my social networks
Let’s set the record straight.
1. Conversion depends on your website, your sales team, your customer service. Social media marketing will generate leads, but there has to be a solid conversion mechanism in place to close the deal.
2. Social media marketing is not an isolated marketing field, functioning independently from all other marketing. It will help you build relationships online but you will need to have a process to move those relationships into your sales funnel, into your other marketing conversion processes.
3. There is a difference between personal privacy and business privacy. If you are in a sales role, you can’t be too private because people won’t be able to contact you. Make it easy. If you have a website, put a phone number and email address on every page so people can easily contact you. The higher the ticket price, the more someone will want information before they check out. Invite them to talk to someone directly.
The 7 Steps to Social Media Lead Generation and Conversion
Now that we’re past the assumptions that hold us back, let’s look at the 7 steps to social media lead generation and conversion:
1. Know what you want.
What will help you make progress toward your goal? Is it more email newsletter subscribers? More visitors to the website? More strategic partners? More coffee meetings? More networking events? All of the above?
Take it one step further – make these goals specific, measurable, timely and realistic. Here’s a small business example: Each month we will add 200 new contacts to our email newsletter list.
2. Figure out what social media can deliver.
How many of those 200 email addresses can you realistically collect from social media activities? Don’t worry about how, just set a social media goal. Example: I will invite x number of people to sign up for our email newsletter each week, which should give us Y number of subscribers each week.
3. Establish the sales process that your social media leads will go through.
Now it’s time to look at how this will get done.
- From Facebook, how will you collect email addresses? What content on the website can you use to send people there and compell them to act?
- If you make a valuable contact on Twitter, how will you pass that contact on to the sales executives? Will you enter that contact into your CRM or will the sales person do it? Whichever it is, make sure you keep track of your new contacts.
- Have you chatted a few times with a great potential strategic partner? Ask to talk on the phone to get to know each other better, or ask to meet for coffee. Don’t let social media become the dead end!
4. Ask – Always have an ask.
Asking doesn’t necessarily mean asking for a sale. There are many ways to ask and not sell:
- Ask for permission to give more information and give your phone number or email address
- Offer to help with additional info and link to a tips article you wrote
- Offer to do a demo
- Ask what else they tried
- Ask if they’re interested in guest blogging
- Ask to chat on the phone
- Ask about their day
The ideal response in social media, whether it’s a response to a tweet, to a blog post or to a LinkedIn post, has 3 parts:
validate + state + ask
It is very hard to not respond when asked. People answer questions that aren’t even directed at them. It’s how we are. So if you want a dialogue, you have to ask.
If you want leads you have to take people to your home base. So don’t forget to link them to your website. And if you want reasons to link your audiences to your website, start a blog. Content drives traffic, traffic generates leads.
6. Make yourself easy to find
Social media privacy is not friends with the salesman. It is wise to keep private about many things but if you’re selling something make it easy for your audiences to reach you. Have your business phone number and email address on every page on your website. Add contact information to your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles. It’s easier to filter through spam than recover a lost lead.
7. Follow-up, follow-up and follow-up some more
Everyone is overwhelmed with communication these days. Just because they don’t respond to your tweet that doesn’t mean they’re ignoring you. And by the way, tweets are fairly unreliable communication. So use them to make contact but move to another means of communication as soon as possible. And graciously follow up.