"I'm quite certain that Facebook isn't going to be relevant for us" said a sales manager I recently spoke to.
That's a bold statement, considering Facebook is a network that is regularly frequented by one in seven people on the planet. Sure, Facebook might not be the first place you turn to when looking for B2B leads and sales through social, but it can play an important role when used effectively.
Follow the steps below and you can start using social media for B2B lead generation right away.
Step 1: Know your audience
As is the case with so much digital marketing, your starting point for a successful social media lead generation campaign should be understanding who it is you're are attempting to engage with. This means creating a buyer persona.
Your buyer persona will be a fictional representation of the typical person you are trying to reach. It will tell you about the issues that concern them, the challenges they face in their roles and where they look to find answers. This should include the magazines they read, the websites they visit and the social networks you think they use. Use this to inform the social media content that will bring them back to your website.
Step 2: Conjure up some content ideas
If you want people to pay attention to you on social media it's best to make sure you have something of value to say when you’re on there. This means saying something beyond “If you’d like a quote give us a call and speak to an advisor.” If people wanted a quote, they would have visited your website and picked up the phone already.
Create content that your ideal buyer, as informed by your buyer personas, will actually get value from. Think about the common questions they will ask when your service is a solution, and the different formats people are consuming information in and how you can use each, from blog posts to infographics, eBooks to webinars. Leave no content path unturned.
Step 3: Create your premium content and build your landing pages
If you are to stand any chance of successfully using social media to generate new leads in a sustainable way then you will certainly have to use landing pages.
Trying to manually handle new leads through social media is ill-advised as it is a) time consuming b) difficult to execute and c) unsustainable in the long term.
You’ll need to create some premium content that people are happy to part with some details to access; industry reports, buyers guides and checklists are a good place to start. Once you have created the content you’ll need to create the landing page that it sits behind. Your landing pages are the shop window for your content and should be optimised for maximum visitor to lead conversion. Learn more about landing page optimisation in our 30 B2B lead generation ideas eBook.
Step 4: Identify the social networks you will use
This process can prove to be difficult if you don’t understand the social media landscape or you haven’t created your buyer persona with enough detail. Overcoming the first issue is relatively simple: read this Smart Insights blog post to get a good introduction to the issue.
When choosing your social media networks, you should remember these points:
One in seven people on the planet use Facebook at least once a month. Do not discount this network even if you are a B2B marketer.
LinkedIn company pages offer a great deal of customisation with many opportunities for lead conversion. Make sure you have everything in place to optimise your LinkedIn company page.
B2B firms, especially those in the engineering and manufacturing sectors [Note: Anecdotally, at least], will often find that YouTube is one of the top sources of social referral traffic.
Step 6: Create your profiles and optimise them for conversions
Creating your company profiles on the different social networks is easy, and is only the first step as you now need to ensure you have optimised them for lead conversions.
This isn’t a one time job either. There are many features and details that can now be added to your company pages, such as call-to-action buttons and response rates, that will help you bring in leads. Your pages require ongoing attention to ensure you are continually generating new leads through social media.
Step 7: Start writing blogs to support your premium content
If you’re thinking that once you have created your premium content you can simply keep sharing links to it on Twitter and LinkedIn then you are sadly mistaken. Saying the same thing over and over will get tiring very quickly, so you need to support the content with... more content. Ideally you will be doing this through your blog. So if you write an eBook about a specific topic, you can re-purpose segments of the eBook and turn them into blog posts.
The blog posts will then be shared across all of your social media profiles to drive new traffic to your website and to demonstrate your knowledge and authority on your industry. You might be asking “how does this generate new leads?” and the answer is simple: through calls-to-action like this.
Step 8: Write, create, share, repeat
You’re ready to go. Now you need to stay on top of the process and continue and create more content - blogs, tweets, videos, premium content and landing pages - and then make sure people can see it by sharing links across your profiles.
Do this from now on and you’ll see an exciting increase in new contacts, that will arrive into your database in a sustainable way.