#SocialSelling: Breaking Down the Anatomy of a Social Lead

When I joined the team at LeadSift in November 2012 I was excited for the new challenge. The opportunity to work with such an early stage startup was exhilarating. LeadSift was going to take the idea of social lead generation suggested by social media monitoring platforms and make it a reality.  Over the last five years social media monitoring platforms were built around playing defence for your brand,  LeadSift was ready to help implement some offence into the hands of community teams.

Reflecting back to 2011 when I was selling a full suite monitoring platform, our pitch actually referred to “social ROI” as the “Return on Ignoring”. Companies were quick to purchase a monitoring platform after positioning a need to manage their reputation across social media; whether it was being first to know about a PR crisis erupting, ensuring no customer service issues were going viral, or managing product recalls, social media monitoring was adopted by many organizations overnight.

However, three years later organizations continue to struggle with their social media monitoring strategies. As a result, many niche organizations are evolving to a space where they make it easier for brands to do more than protect or share content, they are allowing  them to better participate in the relevant conversations. 2013 was coined to be the year that 1-1 engagement would happen – thankfully there are 4 months left to do so.

The plan at LeadSift is simple –  using our robust algorithm we find relevant sales leads based on geography; whether it be globally, nationally, or locally.  We then allow you to instantly engage from your social presence to begin the conversation and initiate the sales cycle.  Once you respond through LeadSift’s platform you are able to manage the conversations, track response rate, CTR, and provide additional analytics.  Our team has continued to build the platform to include additional analytics, a LeadScore, and advanced demographics to better understand the person you are engaging with.  This added information allows more insight to your audience and the opportunity to add a bit of personality as you engage.  LeadSift continues to evolve it’s platform in real- time as we incorporate the voice of our clients into our new features and adjust as we go.

Here is the textbook definition of a lead:

“ A lead, in a marketing context, is a potential sales contact: an individual or organization that expresses an interest in your goods or services. Leads are typically obtained through the referral of an existing customer, or through a direct response to advertising/publicity. A company’s marketing department is typically responsible for lead generation.”

In the past several months I have had the opportunity to discuss social leads with hundreds of business and organizations from a wide range of  industries and the general consensus is that social leads are no different than any other leads. They are “a potential sales contract”, or they “ express an interest in your goods/services”, or they are a “direct response to your advertising/marketing”

There are instances where businesses are set on only looking for “transactional leads” but then I always ask, “How do you start the transaction?”  To begin any true transaction discussion, you need to uncover their actual needs, and the only way to do so is through engagement. Whether one chooses to engage with a tweet back, reply with a question, or suggest a link to a website or other related content, social leads need to be nurtured along the path to a sale.  LeadSift has expanded the concept of a social lead to target any engagement activity that supports the brand’s presence socially.  After all, the reason we all create content and a presence in social media is to ultimately sell the products and services we offer.   We are always selling.

We can generally group the social engagement lead into 5 types:

  • Direct sales lead: The post directly states intent to purchase a product or service
  • Indirect sales lead (Also known as the Competitive lead/ Customer service lead) : The post mentions dissatisfaction with a competitive product or service. This allows you to engage, grab their attention, and ultimately position yourself as a better option.
  • Targeted social engagement: Finding relevant conversations in a targeted geography allowing you to engage and build your community presence.
  • Nice guy lead: Finding relevant conversations within a given geography and engage as a trusted community member.
  • Fan Identification lead: Finding a relevant influencer of your brand or product and working with them as an influencer.

Call them what you will, the one thing that is still missing from the “social lead “ is #hustle. Thanks to LeadSift,  beginning social selling has never been easier. If all you are interested in is collecting followers and trying to understand how a bunch of graphs and widgets will help your business socially – good luck! If you are ready to take the next step and begin engaging with the active community that is currently discussing your products or services we should chat. At LeadSift we believe organizations don’t “do” social, they “are” social.

Do you know a brand that is doing a great job with their social engagement strategy?

We would love to highlight them as the rest of the market catches up.