Lead management: Lead generation with social media – part six

Every marketer knows there’s a lot of potential with social networks such as LinkedIn or Facebook. This is because the possibilities that arise through using social networks are too great to pass up on – this also includes customer loyalty as well as brand marketing. In addition, social networks, newsrooms, and blogs also open up many opportunities to maximise network reach and build up your reputation. In short, social media is now an essential component for company communications.

Social networks can be used to play an important role in lead generation. Lead generation is basically starting a conversation and getting potential customers interested – their attention and of course their contact information occurs as the next step. A direct conversation takes place on Facebook, Twitter, etc., through which the company can benefit from in lead management. Hardly any other means of communication offers more possibilities to speak to potential customers and experts.

Read the last part of our lead management series for more about lead management via social media.

Lead generation via social media: reputation and network reach as prerequisites

In order to be able to use social media platforms for lead management, you need to have built up a certain reputation and network reach. Increasing the popularity of a company on platforms such as Facebook or Twitter is the task of social media management and monitoring.

Successful social media management includes:

  • Regularly sharing high-quality content
  • Conversing with fans and followers
  • Answering questions and comments
  • Answering comments quickly and initiating discussions, etc.

It’s about so much more than collecting fans and followers. With professional and well thought-out social media activities, companies can position themselves as experts, control the perception of their own brand, and start the above-mentioned conversation. If a company is able to build a channel with a strong reach, not just the amount of followers and their commitment grow steadily (key KPIs in the modern business environment), but this also creates an important starting point for lead generation in social media.

However, it is becoming increasingly difficult for companies to build up their network reach. Don’t neglect the option of paid advertising in social media. For companies that are not yet well-known or don’t have a significant customer base, it would be especially useful to decide on a budget for paid ads in social media planning.

Effective social media management doesn’t just raise awareness of your company, brand, or product for the potential target group, but it is also the first point of contact between the brand and the potential customer on the social network – and therefore also the ideal point of entry into the lead management process.

Selecting the right channels

The choice of platforms and channels on social media is huge. More and more innovative platforms are continuing to appear and they open up opportunities for marketers to reach their target group. The most important social media platforms don’t just consist of the top dogs such as Facebook and Twitter, but also newer ones such as Snapchat or Instagram. When it comes to image hosting networks, Pinterest and Flickr are very popular choices. Regarding video hosting sites, Vimeo is gradually becoming more established and is hot on YouTube’s heels. In the B2B sector, business portals such as LinkedIn are an absolute must. This means that the most important questions that marketers should be asking themselves, are:

Which channels are relevant for my company and therefore also for lead management? Is lead generation possible via Facebook or should I include additional channels?

The answers to these questions depend on two factors:

1. Where does the target group stop?

In social media management the motto is: the target group comes before the channel. This basically means that you should focus on the platforms that fit your own target group. Networks with less-wider reaches, which are used extensively by the target group, are often more valuable for lead marketing (and also for other areas in company communications) than a portal with a wide reach whose users only make up a small part of the target group.

In order to know which channels potential customers are active on and where relevant influencers can be found, you must, of course, be well acquainted with the target group. Corresponding data is provided by market research, the analysis of user metrics and various social analytical tools. You can read more about this topic in our basic article about social media marketing.

2. Which resources, both personal and financial, are available for social media?

A few years ago the task of maintaining a Facebook profile wasn’t given much priority or simply passed onto interns to take care of. Nowadays, most companies know that social media is a full-time job that requires not only expertise but also time and commitment. If a company has very little resources available, it may be necessary to restrict itself to one channel and make sure that this channel is professionally managed, instead of trying to look after several and not giving them enough attention.

Deciding which channel to use for company communications it typically oriented towards the overall online marketing strategy. A unified strategic focus is essential for success: besides the various social media channels, this also includes search engine optimisation, search engine marketing, and also a company’s e-mail marketing activities.

Social listening as a basis for lead generation

An important topic regarding lead generation via social media is so-called social listening. Social listening sounds like just another online marketing buzzword to most people. This isn’t entirely true because it’s basically a simple practice that most companies already do without realising it. Social listening is about listening to social networks – and by analysing what you hear or read i.e. what social network users write and discuss about your company. If you regularly analyse conversations on social networks and with the right focus, you can gain valuable insights in many ways. This should enable you to find out:

  • In which context users speak about your brand?
  • Which questions and suggestions users directly address the company with?
  • Who the competition is?
  • Which acute problems are mentioned regarding products or services?

Listening is not everything. After identifying relevant discussions and questions, it’s then time for answers, help, support, and then action. Not only being present but also being proactive online helps to attract the community and create long-term customer relationships through open customer dialogue. Companies are often able to consciously control their own reputation by, for example, recognising potential problems early on and taking measures to prevent them. When used correctly, social listening is the ideal start to the lead management process, since it identifies the problems and questions for which the company can then find solutions for or answers to.

Conclusion: social media as an ideal starting point in lead management

As a direct communication channel, social media platforms such as Facebook or business networks such as LinkedIn are useful for getting in contact with potential customers and to get the lead management process rolling. For this to work, social media marketing needs to be firmly anchored in the company’s communication strategy. The channels must be properly selected, professionally managed and regularly analysed. If social media marketing is an integral part of the all-inclusive online marketing strategy, nothing stands in the way of successful lead generation via Facebook and other platforms.

Ultimately, of course, everything depends on the right social media strategies: the focus is on relevant, high-value content, which can answer the questions of potential customers in a targeted manner.