social selling

Social Selling: How to Generate Leads and Sales

social selling

by Donna Amos

Leads are life to your business. Leads are potential customers who have expressed some interest in your product or company and have provided contact information you can use to follow up with more information.

When thinking about how to generate leads on social media, consider that 76% of buyers are ready to have a conversation on social media.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of lead generation using social media specifically is the ability to focus on highly qualified leads through advanced targeting. Targeted leads are much more likely to respond to your sales pitch because the are already qualified and interested. That’s what I like to call “low hanging fruit.”

Useful Tactics for Generating Leads Through Social Media

So how do you go about using social media for lead generation? Here are some of the best ways to start filling your sales funnel with qualified leads.

Offer Links to Gated Content

Gated content is content hidden behind a virtual gate. If the content is valuable enough, interested readers will be willing to provide some basic contact information in exchange for access.

When using social media for lead generation, you can promote gated content by sharing a link to a landing page where potential readers provide their information before gaining access to the content.

Some people who click through to the landing page will click away without accessing your content—maybe they were mildly interested in the information but not so interested that they feel it’s worth sharing their contact details.

But those who are truly interested and understand that they will gain significant value are willing to overcome this minor hurdle, qualifying themselves as more than casual readers in the process. These are great qualified leads.

Run Contests

With contests, the prize has to fulfill two important criteria. First, it has to be valuable enough that people will actually be interested in entering the contest. But second, it has to be valuable specifically to the people who have the highest potential to become your customers, and not much value to anyone else.

If the prize is not valuable enough, no one will enter your contest. But if it’s so generically valuable that everyone who sees the contest will want to enter, you’ll gather loads of contact information but no qualified leads.

So, what should you offer as your contest prize? An extended trial of your product could be a good option, or an upgrade to a higher tier of your service. After all, those prizes only have value to people who are genuinely interested in using your product. If you sell physical products, you could give away some of the products themselves.

Pay-to-Play Social Media Advertising

While organic social media posts can be targeted to some extent, social media advertising takes targeting—and therefore the ability to collect leads from laser-focused groups of potential customers—to a whole new level.

Using highly specific target audiences to promote gated content is a great way to keep advertising costs low while ensuring the leads you collect meet certain desirable criteria.

Here are a few good places to begin:

Facebook lead ads

This specialized ad format offers a low-commitment, low-barrier way for potential customers to connect with your business without leaving Facebook. As with a gated content offer, the potential customer provides information in exchange for something of value. That something of value can be either digital—like a newsletter, white paper, or coupon—or something that’s delivered in real life—like a product demonstration at a brick and mortar store or a test drive.

One great advantage of Facebook lead ads over a regular gated content offer is that Facebook automatically populates the lead form with the user’s contact information, so it can take as few as two clicks or taps for a potential customer to connect. You choose how much information you need, so you can get enough information for the lead to be useful, but not ask for so much that it scares the user away.

Instagram lead ads

Since Facebook owns Instagram, Facebook lead ads can also appear on Instagram, as long as the ads meet Instagram’s design requirements. However, lead ads behave a little differently on Instagram.

Instagram can only pre-populate the lead form with email, full name, phone number, and gender. If you want to collect additional information, the user will have to type it in.

Since Instagram lead ads only appear on mobile, and it takes 40 percent longer to fill out a form on a mobile device than on a desktop, you should only request additional information if it is critical for your initial sales efforts.

LinkedIn lead gen forms

LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms also make it very easy for potential customers to share their information, since they are pre-populated with details from the user’s LinkedIn profile.

Since LinkedIn is primarily a professional networking site, the pre-populated information can include work details like job title, company, and seniority, as well as education details, giving you an extremely rich set of data about each lead.

Like Facebook lead ads, LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms require no typing at all to complete, making them easy to complete even on mobile devices.

Host a Virtual Hangout, Webinar, or Live Video

There are two approaches to generating leads with live video, hangouts, and webinars. The first option is to present the video as gated content, requiring interested viewers to register in advance by providing their contact information.

The second approach is to open the video up to a wide audience and generate leads from that audience in one of two ways:

  • During the video, direct viewers to offers, contests, or other social media lead generation tools on another platform, such as a landing page on your website or a custom tab on your Facebook page.
  • Encourage live interaction by offering a reward for participation, then be sure to follow up with those who leave comments. The follow up could be as simple as directing people to resources related to their comments (including gated content), or you could encourage them to reach out to your team on social media with any further questions.

Keep in mind that the more specialized or niche your video, the fewer leads you will likely generate, but the more targeted the leads.

Better Leads Mean More Sales

Of course, the more top-quality leads you can acquire, the better your chances of making more sales. The world is on social media. If your business plans to market itself to the world, and especially to target a select audience in that world, social media is a great place to start.

How are your results with social selling? Do you depend on totally organic results or do you spend dollars on social media ads? Share your experiences with us in the comments below.

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