Lately here at Half a Bubble Out, we have crossed paths with a number of small business owners who are Baby Boomers or just becoming grandparents, asking about the validity and tangible benefits of using social media in their small business - specifically in using lead generation techniques to get new customers.
These are great questions that need to be asked by small business owners!
Millennials are probably thinking, “Duh! How else would you do lead gen?”
Generation Xers are saying, “Yeah, it’s a great strategy to combine online and offline lead generation techniques.”
And most Baby Boomers are thinking, “Is there any real value to this social media stuff?”
Well, to start, social media isn’t just a fad - it is here to stay! And secondly - yes it is a legitimate avenue for implementing lead generation techniques. And believe it or not, the percents of lead conversion off of social media aren’t bad. Check out this new infographic from Wishpond:http://blog.wishpond.com/post/55283628001/infographic-how-to-use-social-media-to-generate-leads
So how do you actually use social media to implement lead generation techniques? After reading a few blogs on the subject it is interesting to me that some blogs suck the reader in with a title like “5 Social Media Lead Generation Techniques” and then simply list the most popular (and currently most effective) social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. with numbers about usage and lead generation % and such.
Although these are helpful in supporting and giving “proof” to the validity of social media in business marketing, as far as techniques or the strategy for implementing those techniques, they are not. It will be interesting if these blogs are found online in the year 2017. There might end up being 5 new major social media platforms - who knows?!
A strategy or technique is the way you use the platforms to reach your desired lead generation goals. The way you engage, the way you respond, the way you spread the word.
So here are some general ways to use lead generation techniques on social media platforms.
First off, remember that lead nurturing is paired with lead generation, and that having a series of touch points with a lead is very important in building a relationship. It is not usually a “one strike you’re out” type of strategy. Because lead nurturing is an important component to get new customers, this is where social media can be a great platform on which you can engage your leads over and over again.
Here are a few lead generation techniques that can be applied across social media platforms:1. Use your “Offline” skills
Social Media is just that -- social. And the same skills you use to build relationships off the internet, or even outside of business, you should use online too. Good “people skills” should be used face to face and on Facebook!2. Target personas
Know who your ideal customer is. Go after them. If you know who you are targeting, then you can choose the social media platforms they most likely frequent.3. Create amazingly informative content
Write helpful information that relates to questions, concerns, problems, and interests of your buyer personas. Post these “offerings” on social media. Share your blogs on as many platforms as you can. Use social media as the mode of distribution to get your content in front of as many people as possible.4. Ask questions
Ask open ended questions that will invite conversations, comments, tweets, shares, etc. Don’t get stuck only making statements, but add questions to these quote-worthy statements.5. Create contests and promotions that encourage engagement
Focus on your industry and create engaging, entertaining contests that invite participation. Giving away a free product, % off, free “gift” or other promotions when your followers take an action, are great ways to increase fans or followers of your brand on social media.6. Reach out to fans, followers, your audience
Just as relationships offline take work, your online relationships take some work as well. Taking the time to reach out and connect with others will help increase your engagement and in turn will help your lead generation.7. Take part in conversations and be proactive
Although “eavesdropping” has a negative connotation, in regards to social media searching for conversations or groups on a specific subject, and joining in, can be a great lead generation technique to use. When you can find a conversation on a subject you are an expert in, you can bring your expertise and boost your brand recognition and people’s impression of you.8. Promote others
Don’t just write and talk about yourself (remember the cocktail party rule). The cocktail party rule is that you don’t stand in the middle of the room talking about yourself. Ask lots of questions about others, listen, and comment. They are more likely to listen when you have something to share. It will be perceived as helpful, interesting or engaging because they won’t be tuning you out like Charlie Brown does to the adults in his life (mwa mwa mwa mwaaa).9. Respond to feedback
Even if it is negative, respond. Respond in a professional manner, be encouraging and be helpful. Ignoring people never goes over well, even on social media.10. Direct your audience to take an action (use a lead capturing mechanism)
To maximize your lead generation opportunities, whatever the platform is, you need to direct your audience with calls-to-action to your website, to fill out a form, or somehow capture their information so you can continue to build relationships or so they can actually purchase your product or service.
So, whether you are a Baby Boomer, Generation Xer, or Millennial, as you engage in social media lead generation techniques for your small business you will get more leads and more customers! The techniques are not necessarily anything “new.” They are best practices for lead generation, no matter what platform you use. If you are online or offline, these techniques can be incorporated into your overall lead generation strategy to get new customers!
The next question for you may be, Do you want to manage this process yourself, hire an in-house employee to manage it, or hire an outside agency who has the expertise and strategy to manage it well?
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