I hear the question all the time: does lead generation via the Web and social media actually work?

The elusive, simple answer: yes.

Just ask partner Jeffrey Goldstein of Queue Associates, who recently closed a major project that started from a “request more information” form on his firm’s website.

“I was at a conference, in my hotel room at 11 o’clock at night, and this lead comes in from our website. I immediately call the person back, expecting to get voicemail, but he answered. We talked, and now we’re working together.

“That directed the prospect to our website, which had great, easy-to-understand content around the solution he was looking for. He filled out a form, and I responded immediately. All of that really impressed him, and it involved zero traditional media to get that lead.”

Clearly, social media is not just about branding or what you had for breakfast. Yes, social media is great for brand awareness, engaging with others in the industry, and – still – for pictures of your daily life. But you should also know it’s a very powerful tool for lead generation, especially as more and more sales conversations shift online.

So how do you do it?

Done correctly, you can leverage social media both to collect information on prospects and drive traffic to your website where the amazing content you’ve created will convince them you’re the best solution provider for their needs.
The attention of a highly motivated buyer who’s looking for the solutions you sell is like gold: just as valuable, and just as hard to come by. In order to get results from your efforts, there are three things you need to do:
  1. Find the right channel.
  2. Speak to the right audience.
  3. Deliver the right message.

To help you get started, we’ve put some details together for you on a few of the most popular social outlets:

LinkedIn

The channel:

LinkedIn is ideal for business purposes like building your network and establishing your credentials. If you’re targeting a particular vertical, follow the leaders in that industry to learn prospects’ pain points so you can offer the best solutions.

The audience:

Find business decision makers by joining communities, building networks, and showcasing your unique value proposition. Monitor LinkedIn groups and discussions, then be sure to engage in them. This will position you as a thought leader and allow you to cultivate relationships with other influencers. This audience can be tough, so be sure you’re offering value. Don’t target communities and individuals to ask what they can do for you – share your expertise and let them come to you.

The message:

LinkedIn’s Pulse is a great place to publish your content. A well-crafted “tease” of information plus a link to where to find the rest can help drive prospects to your website. Don’t forget to leverage SlideShare to demonstrate your company’s expertise and drive more viewers to your website, too.

Twitter

The channel:

140 characters may feel restrictive, but Twitter can be a great platform to attract the attention of prospects. You can host a Q&A with a Subject Matter Expert on your team, run a contest, target prospects with paid advertising, and host or join a Twitter chat to showcase expertise.

The audience:

Twitter is great for social listening – look for mentions of your business and engage when appropriate. Search on specific keywords or #hashtags and be part of the ongoing conversation.

The message:

Due to the nature of these short messages, your tweets should have a very clear call to action. “Read more here, reply or DM us with questions, follow this person for more info!” Success on Twitter depends on immediacy of response, so if you ask for questions, be sure you’re available to answer them!

Facebook

The channel:

Facebook is truly “social.” It’s all about sharing, generally with a lighter, more personal touch, so bear in mind the article you wrote that got tons of engagement on LinkedIn might not have the same appeal here.

The audience:

Followers generally have to “like” your page to see your content, so your audience here may already have or want a relationship with you. Utilize analytics to understand exactly who your followers are and what they like to see.

The message:

You’re probably familiar with ways to use Facebook for your business: contests, monitoring, paid promotions. It’s also a great channel to use to offer “gated” content – that is, content you offer only to those willing to share contact data to get it. Most times, this involves the user filling out a form, which no one likes to do. Solve this problem by using Facebook’s new Lead Ads to automatically populate the form with the contact data for your prospect.

TIP: Be sure the content you’ve gated is accurately described and worth sharing contact info for. Use contact info wisely, don’t spam the prospect, and NEVER share their details.

Remember: lead generation doesn’t end where your Facebook post does.

Social media provides a path to get prospects’ attention through posts, contests, Q&As, or by direct contact when you’ve gathered their contact information. Keep in mind that social media is the vehicle that ultimately drives traffic to your website. It takes great website content to convert that traffic into leads and sales. Be sure your website is ready – and optimized for mobile!

Best,