Social media is live, real-time conversation that your brand should be having with your customers all of the time. It is fantastic for customer service, awareness building and PR stunts, but how does it work for lead generation? Really well if you follow the right steps from lead nurturing to conversion. Here are the five keys to success:
1. Get Communal
Before even thinking about generating leads via your social media efforts, you must first establish a strong base of influencers and followers through consistent community-building efforts. How do you do this?
For marketers, that means knowing who your audience is, how they behave and the types of information they find relevant. This information helps create meaningful, personal conversations with potential buyers. Content that is persuasive, emotional and trustworthy helps move buyers down the sales funnel and nurture the potential for a lead.
In-depth buyer journeys and personas that reveal where in the purchase path social media is most effective are a must. Every social editorial calendar should be backed by this knowledge and supported with the help of data analysis tools.
2. Keep It Casual
When it comes to nurturing a lead from social media, you have to play it cool. The rules of social engagement are very different from those associated with more traditional lead-gen tactics.
For social media users, it’s all about low commitment. Put a registration form in front of them too early in the relationship, and they’re likely to run away. Remember why these users are on social media in the first place: to explore and casually engage.
Your lead-gen plan needs to follow suit: A large set of content assets that includes shorter, awareness-building pieces (think SlideShare, infographics and videos) that eventually leads to longer-form content (gated white papers, case studies and webinars) can effectively nurture the buyer and accelerate pipeline conversion.
Throughout this entire process, the tone always needs stay calm and casual. This is what attracts social media users in the first place. From landing pages to emails and any other social communication your prospect comes in contact with, it better remain chill. Start channeling your inner Matthew McConaughey now.
3. Get a Little More Personal
When it’s time to take the next step in the relationship, you have to get personal and begin talking one-on-one with your prospects.
The upfront work you did to understand who your buyers are and what they need and want is going to help you even more at this stage. Your experts can use this information to deliver tailored messages to prospects exactly when they need to hear it.
Take it from us, though; training your experts on simply the basics of social media is not enough. Companies need to provide the proper tools – actual action items and process documents – to understand their role in the process and how to effectively communicate directly with prospects.
It’s this shift from mass to direct communication that can be the game-changer for driving conversion from social media follower to buyer.
4. Stay Consistent and then Convert
A community manager needs to be always on. That means managing the social communications, nurturing and tracking leads, responding directly to prospects when appropriate and sharing the information throughout the organization. Many companies hire an external partner to handle these tactics for them.
Think of social media lead gen as a cyclical process: Create content that aligns to the buyer journey, optimize communications to fit users’ preferences and then drive conversion with direct communications. All the while make certain that you are building and growing your community.
A social media lead-gen plan is effective only when a company is committed to this process and truly understands the person behind each post. Remember, a follower is a potential buyer whose unique habits should play a bigger role in how you define your direct communications. So go forth, converse and keep it casual until the time is right to engage.
Patrick O’Hara, Chief Strategic Officer, gyro