5 Steps To Using Social Media for Lead Generation

5 Steps To Using Social Media for Lead Generation
How do you get most of your business leads?  According to Unisfair Marketing, social media is the primary new source for lead generation among marketers.  Of those surveyed, 66% said lead generation was their top priority; only 17% said they were interested in brand awareness and 16% were interested in customer retention.
Here’s something even more interesting: 51% of Facebook fans and 67% of Twitter followers said they were more likely to buy the brands they like on Facebook or follow on Twitter.  Social media is a great way to attract new customers…are you engaged?  If you are, are you unsure about the best way to generate leads online?   Here are 5 steps to using social media to get more leads:
1)      Constantly point users to your content.
The first step to engaging your customers online is to share content that shows why you are an expert in your field.  Using a simple social media update isn’t enough to accomplish this.  Try including links to your updates and content on your website that expands on what you’ve mentioned on Facebook or Twitter.  Good content should be shared!
2)      Use social links to promote your social presence.
Since you now have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, or Youtube, don’t forget to promote!  Some people mistakenly believe that if you create pages on social networking sites, these pages will automatically acquire users overnight. 
However, just like everything else in life, it takes time and effort to get followers.  Don’t fret though; it’s pretty simple: just start promoting your online presence everywhere!  Print links to your social media profiles on business cards, flyers, and letterheads.  Include links on your website and blog.  Mention it in your company newsletter.  Social media can be a critical factor in the growth of your company.
3)      Monitor conversations about your company and about your competitors.
In order for a real conversation to occur, a brand must speak and listen.  Think about traditional marketing: when a brand appears in a newspaper, a billboard, or on a radio, that brand is speaking but there isn’t generally a direct method for responding.  Social media is changing that.
Instead of simply broadcasting messages, now you can start conversations and engage individuals.  You can monitor how your clients perceive you, identify opportunities for personal conversation or interaction, learn how people are using your products or services, drive traffic to your website and your other online profiles, and connect with influential people who will use word of mouth to virally spread the good news about your business.
The first step: monitor comments that your fans, followers, “likers”, or subscribers leave on your social profiles.  Get a feel for what they like and dislike and what they are interested in.  This will help you find new ways to communicate with them.  Reach out to users who have questions or feedback and let them know you’re listening.  Respond with more information, links, coupons, follow-up questions, or whatever it takes to make them feel they are heard.
4)      Respond to feedback and questions from your customers.
It’s one thing to listen, but if you don’t act on what you hear, you’ll lose a chance to generate a meaningful
conversation with someone who might be considering your product or service.  Take action when you find a
useful comment and clear up any questions that might arise.  Respond to reviews people make of your
products, whether positive or negative.  Learn something from it if you can.  Engage in dialogue with the customer.  This can be as simple as asking a question.  What about the product/service made you feel this way?  What could we do to improve that?  Or even, thanks for the comment!
Try to set aside a few hours a week if you can to respond to questions and feedback that you see on your various social networking sites.  When you respond, focus on the positive.  Give them something valuable to take away from the experience.  Refer the user back to resources on your website.  Find a way to get them to
consider your company again.

5)      Use social skills that you’ve developed offline.
Humans have been social long before the internet or computers were invented.  Take the skills that you’ve developed over time and put them to use.  Meet people.  Communicate with them and build relationships.  Develop complex relationships and foster good interaction.  Make sure that your customers are aware of your brand, understand the benefits of working with your company (or purchasing your product), and have a way to make a purchase. 
Provide useful and insightful resources and answer questions that may arise.  Treat your social presence like you would your other customer service areas.  Be genuine, remember to keep track of conversations, and respond to inquiries promptly and thoroughly.  If you have great social media customer service, you’ll stand a better chance of increasing traffic and leads.
- By Dave DeGooyer

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