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Social media can be a brilliant option for generating leads. Unfortunately, many B2B companies and B2B marketers fail to harness this power, unlike their B2C counterparts. The potential of this possibility is being missed completely in this section of the business world. Before we teach you how to use social media to generate leads in a B2B model, there are two lessons you must take on board.
First, simply having a presence on social media and occasionally sharing content is not enough. You need to go deeper than this. You need to be willing to explore all the avenues the different profiles provide.
Second, don’t overestimate the power of social media but don’t dismiss it either. It can be a powerful tool if you know how to use it and that’s what we’re going to explain today. Keep that in mind when you read through this guide.
How to select social platforms that you should use for B2B lead generation
Before you begin using social media effectively, you need to put a plan in place. You’re going to need to decide which social network is relevant for your company model. You might think that you should use all of them. However, you’ll probably discover that some are favoured by your audience and others are ignored completely. Certain social networks may also not suit your brand profile or requirements. You need to start by asking key questions including:
- Who is the target audience and what social networks are they using?
- How do they interact and engage on these networks?
- Will this network match or benefit a product or service you offer?
You will also need to consider whether or not to use paid ads. While organic promotion through social media can be effective, paid promotion can provide the boost you need to get in front of the right decision makers. It will help improve your targeting, extend your reach and provide additional CTA possibilities. These are all crucial when you are attempting to generate leads, but you will need fit the cost into your budget.
The 6 main social media platforms that you can use for lead generation
This network has over 330 million active users every month and you can find every type of audience here. It’s fantastic for sharing links and also connecting with an audience through informal means such as emojis or memes. Twitter can typically be seen as a resource for updating users and providing exciting news announcements about your business or sharing fresh forms of marketing from other sources.
Whereas Twitter is universal, LinkedIn is all business so it’s perfect for B2B marketing. This is a great place to talk about and test out business strategies with audience members exploring various approaches and tools available. LinkedIn provides you with the chance to be more direct with your audience through content marketing. We’ll talk more about this when we explore the benefits of Sponsored InMail. Since only 3 million of the 500 million total users share weekly content here, you can easily gain a lot of attention with a little effort.
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Facebook has positioned itself as a top channel for business use. There’s a lot of dependence on paid promotion here but Facebook also provides plenty of free choices for getting to know your audience. That’s the key here because Facebook is the perfect place to trigger discussion around your brand and then use this discussion to build leads. Infographics and snappy articles both work well for this type of engagement. Facebook is a giant unto itself and has been known to have 1.5 billion active users every day.
There are no prizes for the type of content shared through Instagram. It’s all about images and videos. Instagram also includes story options which can be useful for building a buzz around particular products or services. It’s best suited for businesses where products and solutions have an aesthetic appeal. However, it can also be useful for linking out and advertising your brand or showing the individuals behind your business.
The sixth most visited site in the world, it has 542 million visitors every month and is known as the ‘front page of the internet.’ You’ll find niche communities on here and there’s a lot of potential choices for business marketing for instance, AMAs can be a great way for companies to get know the team leading your business. Reddit also provides advertising opportunities.
There’s an audience of over 300 million people accessing Quora every month. Using Quora you can provide answers to questions that users have about your brand. Or, provide solutions and responses to queries related to the products or services that you could be offering. Quora also offers question retargeting which allows ads to be displayed to a target audience and buyer persona across Quora.
While there is certainly potential for direct marketing through these solutions, you should follow the eighty-twenty rule. Eighty per cent of all the content released through social channels should be something other than direct brand promotion. By providing content that is interesting, useful or relevant to your audience, you are showing them that each channel is valuable to them. This increases the chance of long term lead generation where you can work to build lasting relationships with companies.
How to generate B2B leads across social platforms
Now you know a little about the different social channels that can be utilised we need to dive into each one to build marketing strategies. Since they’re all so vastly different they each require a unique social mediastrategy. You’ll be pleased to note though that used correctly they can all deliver fantastic benefits.
If you don’t want to just shout into the void of empty space, you need to build up your followers on this channel. But don’t fill your followers with people who are not going to engage. Instead, make sure you’re targeting users who could benefit from your service or solution. As well as this, make sure that you are providing refresh content regularly rather than just sharing other people’s work. Remember, users need to see your channel as a useful resource. It’s worth also gaining support from influencers and this could be as simple as starting a discourse with them. Alternatively, you can set up a Q&A through Twitter and invite some of the key influencers to take part.
Remember, Twitter is not the place for formal language. Keep things light, breezy and fun. Do this and you’ll have a greater chance of generating leads.
With LinkedIn, you can target directly and you can do this even if your posts aren’t paid. You can send posts to users based on location, industry, job and various other criteria. This means that you’ll be able to market directly at the businesses who will be interested in buying your products. Make sure you ask questions too. Popular questions will be shared around and provide a great chance for engagement. Creating a little controversy is great but only if it’s relevant to your industry. Aside from this, you should be generating content that is useful and relevant to users such as ‘how to guides,’ avoiding the fluff.
On this channel, it’s all about creating discussion and debates around different posts, topics or pieces of content. Make sure that you push people to share posts in their timeline by providing interesting, unique content that engages them. You can create groups too and group posts are more likely to show up in a feed than posts from a brand. Once you build a group around a general topic, you can then use it to push users towards your business solutions and services. Don’t forget to optimise your Facebook page as well. As well as using high-quality visuals and images, you also want to include a full CTAs to landing pages, pushing users to sign up for your email newsletter or contacting you directly.
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There are no links on posts using Instagram, but generating leads can be very straightforward. If for instance, you’re offering virtual office space for business owners, it makes sense to showcase plenty of images and videos of the offices available. If your service or solution isn’t visually interesting, Instagram can be used to show some skin. Provide insight into the team, create stories and let users get to know your business. Remember to include hashtags to provide a greater level of reach but don’t include ones that are pointless or irrelevant.
With no links, it seems like getting people on this channel and towards your business is impossible. But there is a way. To do this, you need to make sure that you have contact buttons on the profile page. Then use content to tease users and push them towards finding more information.
Answering questions on Quora, you can present yourself as an expert, a key resource. Choose which questions you want to answer and that will most benefit your company goals or boost your brand image. Using Quora you can discover what clients what to know about your business and provide them with the solution you need. The big benefit of Quora is that here clients are starting the interaction. That means they are already interested in what you have to say. All you need to do is provide value with your answers and don’t be afraid of asking followers questions publically. This could be as simple as asking them what they think of your business and since it’s public, other people will probably answer to.
Reddit is a different type of beast altogether. Mods and users both frown upon the site being used for self-promotion. So to win here, you need to become an active, valuable part of the community. Build up a profile with various subreddits and then start sharing your own content. Any posts need to be thoughtful, useful and helpful. When you start using the site, you’ll be able to engage through everything to AMAs or just communicating with the mods. People use Reddit for advice and help. So, make sure that you are providing solutions and support to users and you will be able to build relationships. You need to do this subtly and put providing quality content and support first over self-promotion.
Paid social promotion
You can always take social channels further with paid promotion and a great example of this is sponsored InMails. If you’ve used InMail before on LinkedIn, you’ll know it’s basically a way to send personal messages that can be sent directly to your connections. Sponsored InMail takes this further, working something like a sponsored update campaign. You can create targeted InMails, perfectly suited for audiences or even individuals. Ultimately this allows you to gain access to the people or companies that matter most to your business.
Although originally these campaigns were managed by LinkedIn, now it’s possible to control campaigns yourself similar to sponsored updates. You’ll be able to send InMails to all active users who match the parameters of your target audience and LinkedIn provides an estimated size of the audience you can reach. One 2013 GE case study suggested this is a very powerful tool for lead generation with open rates of 13% and offers 100% deliverability.
Using HubSpot to track social activity
One of the key ways to get the most out of a social media marketing campaign is to track users on different channels. You can do this with marketing automation solutions like HubSpot. HubSpot allows you to track specific terms or keywords on different social networks like Twitter. HubSpot actually does this themselves to stay up to date with the buzz around their business and the questions they are asking.
One example of this would be questioned. You can use the service to track social activity with your brand name. By doing this social listening across your target social mediachannels, you can make sure that you are always their immediately to answer any questions that customers have about your business to support your lead generationefforts. This is just one example of how the software can be used to provide a brilliant boost for your lead generation campaign and get your sales reps in front of potential customers.
We hope you see now why social media could be a fantastic tool that you haven’t fully harnessed. Whether you focus on Instagram, Facebook, Reddit or Quora, each channel provides different advantages and fresh ways to build quality leads or engage with your target audience and provide and demonstrate an understanding of customer pain points, positioning your business as a thought leader. Using this guide as a starting point, you will be able to unlock the true power of these marketing tactics possibility for your B2B company. If you’ve enjoyed this article, you might also want to read more about how to generate B2B leads.