When most people think of B2B lead generation, they think of traditional ways of selling. Typically, this involves collecting potential customer information (prospecting), cold calling and emailing prospects, nurturing those prospects, and eventually, closing a sale. While this is a proven and effective method for building a strong sales pipeline and growing your customer base, it’s not the only thing you should be worried about.
In today’s competitive marketplace, your B2B lead generation strategy should contain several components if you want to be successful. One of these components is social media. It’s the digital age, and it’s time that all companies realize that their next customer is on social media. This is why it’s so important to integrate social media into your B2B lead generation strategy.
Here’s how your business can effectively integrate social media into your B2B lead generation strategy using multiple platforms.
Why Use Social Media for B2B Lead Generation?
Lead generation is essential for any B2B business to thrive and grow. More and more companies are realizing that social media presents an amazing opportunity to generate leads. With more than 3.8 billion social media users worldwide, your next customer is on social.
It’s not just the numbers that make social media an attractive lead generation option, though. Social media can help businesses:
- Improve awareness for their brand while connecting with customers
- Grow their social media traffic, therefore, boosting leads and sales
- Improve engagement with potential customers and nurture more leads
Once you decide that social media is a viable option for your business and something you’d like to integrate into your B2B lead generation strategy, following these steps:
Step 1: Set Up a Business Account On All Major Platforms
If you haven’t already, the first step to integrate social media into your B2B lead generation strategy is to set up accounts for your business on all major platforms. The largest and most relevant platforms you should care the most about are LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Step 2: Inform Your Sales Team
Before you start using social media as a B2B lead generation tool, it’s also important to inform your sales team. While a salesperson’s job looks much different than that of a social media strategist, the goal is still the same: to generate leads and increase revenue for the company. Plus, when your sales and marketing teams are working cohesively together, your B2B lead generation program will be much stronger. Your sales team can use content that your social media team is producing to add value to the messages they’re sending to prospects.
With so many active users across all platforms, social media presents a great opportunity for B2B companies to surround prospects and grab their attention. The average person spends more than two hours each today on social networking sites. If you want to build awareness and generate leads for your business, you have to meet prospects where they are; in today’s world, this means having a presence on social media.
Social media isn’t intended to replace an outbound lead generation program entirely. Calling and emailing prospects is still important and will prove to be one of the most effective ways to generate leads for your business. However, social media can supplement your B2B appointment setting program and be a great addition to your B2B lead generation strategy. The most important thing is that you keep your message consistent across calling, emailing, social media, and any other component of your lead generation program.
The regular publication of relevant content to your social media channels is key if you want to grow your following and generate new leads. Here are some things you can do to get started:
- Create new posts—When you post regularly on social media, your customers and potential customers see more of your brand. Not just because of the obvious reason (more posts to see), but also because of algorithms. If you aren’t posting often and users aren’t engaging with your content regularly, your posts won’t show up on their feed whenever you do decide to post. Regularly posting is key to maintaining and growing a following, retaining interest, and increasing conversions.
- Share content from your website—Sharing content from your website is a great way to post more on social media and it’s also an effective way to drive more traffic to your website. Your website and social media channels should work together in this way. If you’re regularly posting blogs and news articles on your website (which you should be), be sure that you’re also sharing them on social media.
- Link to gated content—An effective way to drive more leads from social media is to link to gated content, which is any content that requires a user to fill out a form before accessing. Consider linking to thought leadership pieces, 1-sheeters about your services, and other helpful content. Once a user fills out some information to access this content, you can follow up with them and nurture that lead until they become a customer.
- Write LinkedIn articles—If you’re the owner of a B2B business, you’re technically already a thought leader (a go-to person in your field of expertise). Why not showcase all of the knowledge and ideas you have to the world? Not only will this position you as more of a thought leader in your industry, but it will also create interest around your brand and drive more leads.
Make sure when you integrate social media into your B2B lead generation strategy that you hit the ground running and publish content as often as possible. Focus on best practices for each different platform, know your audience, and track results. Once you get the hang of things, your social media channels will become lead generating machines.
With the number of people on social media, you have the opportunity to reach hundreds of thousands of prospects across your channels. Social networking can help your B2B business reach markets that you weren’t able to reach previously. So, take the time to manage and grow your following. Make sure your audience is the right audience and always be connecting with new people.
Here are ways you can get started to grow your following:
- Facebook. Invite people to like your business page and encourage employees to share your posts with their followers.
- Instagram. Regularly post content and use hashtags so that you show up on the explore feed for different users, follow new people in your market, and encourage employees to share and tag your company in their Instagram posts and stories.
- LinkedIn. Send invitations to new people, even if you don’t know the person. Simply be transparent, let them know why you’d like to connect, and if you can, offer something of value to them. Be a resource and make it about how you can help them. You can also join groups and discussions not just on LinkedIn, but on tons of social networking sites.
- Twitter. On Twitter, make sure you are consistently following new people and potential customers. Also, be sure to engage with everyone, even if they don’t mention you in a Tweet. Twitter is all about conversation, and your customers will love the fact that a brand is trying to connect with them!
Social media sites are a great place to contact leads directly, but why work harder than you have to? With an optimized profile, the leads will come to you. When someone is considering working with you, they’ll likely view your social media profile. If they like what they see, this lead is more likely to become a customer.
Optimizing your profile means something different for different social networks, but across a majority of them, you should at a minimum make sure that:
- You have a high-resolution profile picture and header image
- You have a well-written company bio or about section
- All of your awards, achievements, and relevant projects are listed
- Company history is highlighted somewhere
- There is a link to your website and additional contact information
As mentioned previously, staying active on social media is extremely important. It’s not just important to post content regularly but to stay active in general. A few dedicated people should be running your brand’s social media pages. This doesn’t mean crafting one post per day and calling it quits. This means interacting with your followers, liking posts from other companies or potential customers, responding to comments, and re-sharing content that you find valuable. The more you can show you are active, the better.
When you’re targeting the right prospect at the right time with the right message, you’ll be surprised at the result. Sliding into your prospects DMs may be the best thing you ever did. It’s an easy and effective way to reach target customers. Plus, you can make it more casual than a phone call or an email.
For example, InMail messages on LinkedIn offer a great opportunity to share valuable content with contacts. It’s also a great way to nurture leads; you can message them with an introduction and follow up with a question to understand what their current needs are. The great thing is that even if now isn’t the right time to buy, you can stay connected with them for the months to come (they’ll still see your content, so you stay top of mind). Then, you can message them at a later time and potentially close a sale.
Have you ever noticed how the ads that show up on your social media home page are so relevant to you that it’s creepy? Sometimes all you have to do is think about something and suddenly you see an ad for it. It’s because brands know their target audience. If you got served an ad, it’s likely because you fall into the category of someone who would likely purchase that product or service.
When pursuing social media B2B lead generation, paid ads will be your secret weapon and saving grace. Most social media platforms offer advanced targeting capabilities at a low cost. So, you can generate high-quality leads without it affecting your bottom line. When looking at organic vs. paid social, 59% of marketers actually believe that paid social is more effective.
Before running targeted ads, analyze your customers and target market to compile buyer personas (AKA detailed profiles of your target customer). Once you’ve determined the specific traits that make up your ideal customer, create highly specific content, offers, or promotions to target those buyers specifically. Then, run a sponsored ad (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter all offer these capabilities), and be very specific with who you target. Facebook will allow you to target based on just about any criteria, from demographics to interests and hobbies.
Not only will you generate more leads with social media, but you’ll have the opportunity to nurture leads and build relationships by regularly engaging with your audience and sharing content that provides value. The more active you become, the more reputable your brand will be (and you’ll likely see conversions go up, too). If you need help getting started with a social media lead generation strategy, look to the experts at Abstrakt Marketing Group. As a professional social media marketing agency and business growth company, we can implement the strategies that will grow your business. Contact us today to learn more or get started.