They call it "buzz." When a movie, product, service, or public whatever finds itself the topic du jour around the watercooler, it is said to be generating buzz. These days, Social Media outlets are the tip of the spear when it comes to buzz propagation, with its wildfire speed and exponential growth curve possibilities.
Even though digital technology has given "buzz" a high-octane boost, it still comes down to hundreds of quick decisions: to share or not to share? Sometimes we find the urge to share irresistible. At other times, it's the last thing we would inflict on our social media friends. One way to make an attempt at "viralizing" your social media posts is to crank out huge volumes of them. But that can backfire, as you might imagine. What other ideas are there?
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A large number of "likes," "re-tweets" or shares is good. No question that more followers on social media is better than few. However, is the supposed attention you're getting on Facebook (have you created your Facebook Business page yet?) actually resulting in qualified leads? Are your tweets getting you contacts with interested buyers? Now for some social media marketing ideas, or how to turn those Likes into Leads.
It's been around a long time because it works. The raffle / door prize / enter-to-win drawing idea. It's a tried and true method of gathering handfuls of leads in a short time, but be careful. The last thing your sales team needs is a inbox full of unqualified, uninterested names and email addresses. Make your incentive relate well to your actual product or service. If you're an outdoor equipment supplier, don't give away a 72" TV. Better to offer things that help bridge entrants into your business like free upgrades, extended warranties, big discounts on your product or a year's supply of what you sell.
Also, beware of requiring a re-tweet or share to enter the contest. Social media outlets usually frown on the practice of asking people to share things. Neither should you expect as many leads from a landing page that takes people outside of the social media platform. Having to switch attention to your branded page makes it obvious that your main purpose for the contest is to grab their info. But it does tend to filter your leads down to the really interested ones.
Try different formats, designs and questions to find one that seems optimal. Too many fill-ins and you'll lose people. Too few and you won't get enough data to be successful.
Filter your leads by offering content that is situated behind a "wall," requiring the viewer to fill in their email address or other contact info before access is given. If you have authored something, or can create original content that your leads might find helpful or interesting, use a landing page with fields for contact information to link to the content. It's usually better to give online access rather than simply downloading your content to the viewer's computer- if feels less intrusive.
And by the way, don't post an insanely long link address on your feed. Go to https://goo.gl/ to translate your 100-character link to a cute little 13 character one.
An interested person will either willingly enter their info, knowing exactly why you're asking for it, or they will enter a faux address that will need to be cleaned up. Even so, the fraction of visitors that enter an actual email address in exchange for your document, video, webinar, e-book or coupon is going to be more than zero. More than you'd get if you didn't offer gated content at all! And, if you've built rapport through your social media marketing activity, the chances are much higher that readers will become leads.
Social media marketing can give you a much more specific focus on the kinds of leads you want than the normal kind of post. Twitter allows you to find people who are followers of competitors or have interests in corollary topics. If you make wedding cakes, for example, you might want to target women of a certain age who follow bridal shops or who are part of a dating network.
Facebook offers you a long list of interests that their users have posted on their spaces, or clicked on. You can actually zero in on people who like sports, are male, get their hair cut at a well-known national chain salon and follow one or more jewelry stores. The odds are that they'll need a special wedding-day hairstyle, so give them a coupon!
LinkedIn is great for targeting companies, or finding decision-makers therein. Propose a white paper, or connect with someone in the company and invite them to connect with you.
Use your social media strategies in coordination with other marketing efforts, cross pollinate when possible so you can leverage your generosity with a white paper or contest giveaway.
Geotargeted social media search
If you're a local business with a brick and mortar presence and would like to connect with your immediate neighbors, social media can do that too! Say you're a dry cleaner and you want to spend some ad dollars on discounts for locals. Tools like Hootsuite enable you to send a message out to accounts in a certain radius, or use a search-based approach. You could offer your discount coupon to everyone who searched for "dry cleaner" in your zip code, city or county.
Targeted social media listening
There are tools available that will harvest twitter feeds into a stream that you can mine for ideas or respond to conversations. Learn what people are saying about your industry or product in general. Understand their questions or objections or what they like / don't like about relevant topics. While this eavesdropping may not yield as many direct qualified leads as other tactics, it rounds out your overall expertise in approaching social media as a lead generator. If nothing else, you can learn from other companies' mistakes.
Host a hangout or webinar
Once you’ve identified your buyers' pain points and matched them with a solution you can provide, invite them to a Google Hangout, or other online gathering. This provides a real-time connection with people who are interested in your product and are actively looking for more information or training. Other ideas include a customer service session with Q&A from participants, and panel discussions with experts in your field. Of course, publicity for your event goes out on your social media feed.
Social media is a personal approach to lead generation, so don't treat it like you might some other ways of advertising. It's about conversations, nurturing and invitation. There are enough nuances to it that some larger companies have added a social media manager to take care of their social media presence. There are definite do's and don'ts, so do further research and add social media to your marketing arsenal.