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How to Cultivate Leads from Social Media into Sales

Traditionally, lead nurturing has been seen as a process between a salesman and a prospect. It has been an ongoing process of phone calls and direct mail pieces. Over time, lead nurturing became exclusively connected to email-driven campaigns. Today however, the landscape has shifted and email, phone calls and direct mail are no longer the only opportunities that exist for lead nurturing.

Today, consumers are turning to social media for product recommendations, feedback, reviews and brand connections. As the general public becomes more reliant on social media to build loyal connections with people and brands alike, businesses need to integrate lead nurturing and social media to build stronger relationships with potential customers.

According to a ATYM Market Research study, of the 2,000 internet users in the US surveyed, 85% are on Facebook and 49% have a Twitter account with most of them visiting these sites on a daily basis. This research also revealed that social media and purchase decisions are closely linked – with prospects being 71% more likely to purchase a product if they’ve been referred directly through social media.

So how can you build stronger relationships with your leads through social media? Here are three ways you can make that happen:

Be human, have conversations
When a brand is nurturing their relationship with a lead through social media it becomes important to remember that the person on the other side of the computer is a human not a number or twitter handle. Your customers, followers, and the lead you’re pursuing need to be approached like you would want to be approached online. Thus, it’s important to approach these relationships as if you are connecting face-to-face and put time and effort into developing a human connection.

Don’t focus on yourself; focus on what’s important to them. Don’t be afraid to avoid talking about your product and instead discuss personal interests. Avoid corporate speak and spark conversations by humanizing your brand and presenting a personality. But be sincere and steer away from trying to sell them. This will help build trust and relationships that can be leveraged into sales.

Connect on other social networks
It’s easier than ever to find online information about someone than ever before. Once you have identified a lead, connect with them across a variety of social networks to allow your brand to stay top of mind and nurture your relationship. Most people have a presence on more than one social platform such as a Twitter account, LinkedIn profile, Facebook, Quora and Google+ accounts.

Building a lasting relationship with a potential lead requires you to also have a presence across various social networks. The key to engaging potential leads is to reach them with the same and/or similar messages in the many online spaces where they regularly interact.

While you’re there, engage! Mention people in your blog, re-tweet them, comment on their blog postings, “like” and “share” their content. And if you want to understand them, go hang out where they do, such as in LinkedIn Groups and Quora.

Efforts like these are more challenging for businesses that operate in high volume, low margin industries but for those in low volume, high margin industries; these efforts and knowledge can provide you with a real competitive advantage.

Share the Right Content With the Right People
With 30 billion pieces of content shared on Facebook per month and another 60 million tweets posted daily, now more than ever people are bombarded with content online. It’s important that your business recognizes the role content plays in the customer context and ensure that the content you’re developing and delivering is content that they will find valuable.

Their various streams of news and updates are consistently populated with ideas, opinions and messages. As a result, consumers are filtering out everything that isn’t relevant to them. If your content is not relevant it will be ignored.

Relevant content is the muscle behind lead nurturing success.

Identifying the right content isn’t difficult. Start by listening – is there a problem or concern that you can solve? What is the sentiment of the conversation? Is there a need that you can satisfy? From there, create content that fills this pain point.

Once you have an understanding of the situation, deliver content that has value and is relevant to the specific lead. But remember, what’s valuable to one potential customer may not be to another. Ensure that your messages are specific to the need of each lead and treat each relationship uniquely.

27 Easy Ways to Generate Social Media Leads

Last year, 82% of social media driven leads came from Twitter. An additional 9% came from Linkedin & 9% came from Facebook. There is no question that social media is presenting businesses around the world with new opportunities to connect with customers and make additional sales. Social media is presenting businesses with an opportunity to not only turn prospects into customers but customers into raving brand advocates.

When developing your marketing plan and strategy for the upcoming year, it’s important to think about the role social media leads will play in the mix. Social media can not only drive relevant web traffic to your site but also present an opportunity to convert those in the midst of a purchasing decision. Using social media monitoring, content marketing, influencer outreach, and ongoing networking, you will have the ability to generate leads like never before.

Social Media Leads - Optify

Managing multiple social media channels and looking out for leads can be like riding on a roller coaster. While the experience can often be filled with the excitement of closing ten deals in a row, there will be moments when you look around and can’t help but be nervous about what’s coming up next. Whether it’s a customer looking to switch service providers or someone talking negative about your brand; it’s important to keep your head on straight and always look for ways to improve your ability to close and generate leads through social media.

To help you with the ongoing roller coaster, here are 27 easy ways to generate social media leads:

– Create a Twitter account and follow people talking about your brand
– Create Content that is worth talking about & sharing
– Develop a brand presence that people recognize
– Use relevant hashtags on Twitter when sharing blog posts
– Offer products & service for free in exchange for contact info
– Focus on retaining existing customers through superior service
– Engage in relevant & organic conversation with people on Twitter
– Use Facebook as a channel to spread your message more effectively
– Share updates on discounts, offers, deals and specials
– Join conversations happening within Linkedin Groups
– Optimize your website for mobile & tablet visitors
– Blog about items that your audience will find interesting & important
– Recognize and embrace soft leads just as well as hard leads
– When sharing content on Facebook ensure that your brand is present
– Optimize your sales purchasing funnel for effectiveness
– Use Quora to answer questions about your industry, business & interests
– Measure and optimize results from various channels
– Do not limit yourself to a channel because it’s popular
– Understand & utilize Linkedin & Rapporative if you’re in B2B
– Develop a CRM process that is scalable and optimized for ROI
– Look for conversations that are tied to customer churn
– Build relationships with editors at the media channels your audience reads
– Embrace two way conversation between you and your customers
– Demonstrate the personality behind the brand through Twitter
– Answer and respond to high-risk inquiries and comments
– Use social advertising when necessary to increase brand awareness
– And lastly, use a Social Lead Generation application to make it simpler!

What are some of your secrets to generating quality social media leads?

Three Tips for Closing Social Media Leads

No matter how awesome your cover photo on Facebook looks or the number of followers you have on twitter, the most important piece in your social media plan is your goals. Not only do most marketers have a hard time measuring success on social media, but 65% of B2B marketers have not established lead nurturing campaigns. Worse, only 34% of marketers have generated leads using Twitter, and 20% have closed them.

Why aren’t more marketers closing deals? Why aren’t more marketers landing sales?

Well, here are a few tried & tested techniques we’ve seen businesses ranging from fortune 500 to mom & pop shops closing deals online and are guaranteed to increase the number of generates leads.

Put a Face on the Brand

People do business with people they like and trust, and it’s really that simple. The challenge that businesses face is the fact that businesses aren’t people. That’s a fact. For that reason, businesses need to develop their own sense of personality and align that with the audience in which they’re trying to connect with. Essentially, we’re looking to humanize your brand and the easiest way to humanize a brand is to show the humans behind it.

As a business using social media, you need to embrace the people working behind the scene to create your product or service. If you’re the manager of a social media account, it’s okay to inject a bit of personality into your tweets and include photos of the team working behind the scenes. An example of a brand who put a face behind them and found great success is Scott Monty at Ford. Scott was the face of Ford as it related to social media and built relationships with thousands of Ford fans around the world.

Locally, businesses have it even better. For those companies who have an owner who has embraced social media; who’s better to be the face? Let the owner build relationships with individuals on a one to one level and see the benefits of building a tribe of fans.

Identify a Sales Process for your Business
Do you know what to do when you have a lead on social media? Do you know what steps you take after you follow up with  lead to be on their radar? If you do, great, you’re step ahead of the game. If you dont, dont stress it, you’re not alone, but it’s time to think about the process.

Once you identify a lead, what do you say? How do you interact with that individual and how do you take them from being a lead to being a customer? Here are a few things to think about:

  • From Twitter, how will you collect email addresses? Can you send these users to a website where there is a piece of content that is relevant enough to make them submit their address?
  • If you make a valuable contact on Twitter, how will you pass that contact on to the team? Will your sales team take on the communication over Twitter? Do you have a CRM in place to file contact info? Whatever you do, make sure you keep track of your leads.

Develop a Bond Before the Sale
It’s important to build a relationship with your potential clients before you try to make a sale. Too often do marketers see a potential lead on social media and immediately go in for the kill. It’s the easiest way to turn off a customer and damage your brands perception before the real opportunity exists. According to marketingsherpa, 73% of all B2B leads are not sales-ready.

For that reason, it’s important for you to identify potential leads when they’re cold and start building relationships with them before trying to close. Look out for opportunities to engage with potential customers but don’t limit your conversations to your sales or products. Look at conversations that hold general interests of your audience but still provide value to your brands story.

The Types of Status Updates and Tweets your Business should be Using

There is no need to talk about and validate the value of Twitter and Facebook to your business; if you still needed convincing you wouldn’t be reading this post, but perhaps could find some value in one of our earlier posts about generating sales through social media  (an oldie but a goodie).

So, with that out of the way, there is a good chance at this point you are in one of two places with your Social Media strategy: 1) You are trying to fix/improve it or 2) You are in the infant stages of development and are looking for guidance. Well guess what? Either way we have you covered. If you integrate our tips into your current or infantile strategy we guarantee you’ll avoid that infamous Social Media writers-block that we hear about from so many entrepreneurs and professionals alike, not to mention avoiding some Blunders of Social Media we have talked about before.

So here it is, in plain English, a simple but effective How-to guide that will ensure you will always be producing Status updates and Tweets worth reading…

Get your Fans/Followers Involved
We have said it before, but we will say it again, Social Media is about interaction; it should be a dialogue as opposed to a monologue. The best status updates and Tweets you can send are the ones that promote interaction with your fans. Facebook provides you with more tools to organize things like Contests and Polls but that doesn’t mean you have to leave your loyal Twitter followers out of the fun; you simply have to be a little more creative. Asking your followers on Twitter a few questions in the form of Trivia is a great strategy, and encouraging them to share or Retweet something is a very effective way to tap into their network. Retweets can lead to great success for your business as they present you with an opportunity to have your business exposed to fresh eyes and new potential customers. Status updates that encourage your fans to submit pictures or video of them interacting with your business or product is often a great way to encourage interaction and dialogue.

The Generic
This category is often a necessary evil of social media marketing, it’s the generic status updates and tweets that you see every business using. Mentioning holidays, famous quotes, current events and general open ended questions all fall into this category. What is good about the generic content is that it requires very little thought, and it can be scheduled well in advance (you could have salutation for every major holiday planned for the entire year all in one day). What is bad about generic content is that it requires very little thought… so, it is difficult to create very much interaction with these updates. Our advice for dealing with the generic: First and foremost keep it to a bare minimum, and second try to make it as creative, funny or witty as possible; you know everyone is going to be mentioning a particular holiday, so do your best to make your tweet or update stand out.

Promote your Website
Ultimately driving individuals to your website, is a major outcome that most businesses are seeking to accomplish as a result of their social media marketing efforts. So, if you make a major change to your website, whether it be a new design or launch of an ebook, to the updating of a price or new content on your blog, these updates make for great content that most of your fans will be interested in exploring. After all, they wouldn’t be a fan or follower if they were not interested in your business. Additionally a great strategy to use when crafting these particular status updates or tweets is to ask the opinion of your followers on the change, product or the content itself you are promoting.

Remember, there is true value to be found on social media if you’re constantly thinking about your purchasing funnel. Through channels like Twitter and Facebook you can promote your website and only strengthen your bond with the customers and guide them further down the funnel.

Keep it Exclusive
Fans love unique deals, special offers and exclusive information that you only share with them. Updates and tweets that take advantage of this fact have a HUGE potential to be shared and go viral. For example, sending a tweet that offers an exclusive deal at your store-front for twitter followers is not only going to get retweeted, but also promote loyalty among your followers as you are showing them you are willing to reward your fans on an exclusive basis- of course, the same applies to Facebook fans. Product launches and sneak-peaks for only your followers and fans also do the same to promote sharing and loyalty. Giving your fans the opportunity to occasionally exclaim, “That’s why I follow these guys!” certainly isn’t a bad thing!
So there you have it, follow these tips and you can rest assured that your updates and tweets will be interesting, provocative and viral. Above everything, remember one all-encompassing rule: If you can be unique, inspiring, witty and informative your updates will never appear stale or unforgettable.

Do you regularly use any of these tips when you interact with your fans and followers? We would love to hear about them!

5 Steps for Generating Leads on Social Media

We have been talking about it for a while, almost under the assumption that the knowledge of how to create leads on Social Networks is engrained in every new-age, or old-school yet adaptive, businesses professional. Perhaps that was a bit hasty… and after taking a step back and looking at the big picture, we figured that it wouldn’t hurt to share our take on the almighty Social Media Lead Generation techniques everyone is seeking to master. So, without further delay, this is how we at LeadSift like generate Leads and create connections in the space, that frankly, is our Bread n’ butter. It’s as delicious as it sounds.

It’s time to be an SME
The first and important thing your social media marketing has to do is establish you or your business as an Subject Matter Expert. So, if you are the foremost authority on say, chickens, well your social media marketing better Cluck. Likewise, if you consider yourself an authority in say, Lead Generation, then you should have at least one blog post on that subject (see what we did there?)

Commit to Social
When it comes to Social Media, and most things in life, you get out of it what you put in. So, if you want your Social Media presence to grow and the leads to continue pouring in from that avenue then you have to commit to your social media presence even when you are offline. You can do this by:

  • Going to Events organised by active Twitter followers
  • Promote your social media presence in your other forms of marketing (ie. A radio ad that mentions to like your business on Facebook)
  • Incorporate social media into your networking, like by handing out Social Media Business Cards

Be a Generous Promoter
Remember it’s not all about you! Make sure your social media marketing is a dialogue and doesn’t become a monologue. Promoting others can be just as important as promoting yourself, so pay it forward by sharing the content of others. Not only will this help to further establish your community but it will also give you the opportunity to connect with a whole new community of people.

Stay Community Oriented
So you have a blog, and a twitter account, and a Facebook fan page etc etc. But do your Twitter followers know about your latest blog post? Do your Facebook fans know you are on Twitter? Cross promotion is a great way to generate leads. So do it. We like to view all of our social accounts as pieces of a bigger community, as opposed to separate entities. Treat your accounts as such and you will maximize your lead generation potential.

Experiment
There are endless approaches your business can take to developing your own social strategy, especially considering all of the content options you have, the places you can market and deliver content, and inorganic/organic marketing options. With the knowledge that no two businesses are the same, it should come as no surprise that experimenting with your marketing mix is the only way to ensure your strategy is maximizing your Social Lead generation.

So that’s how we recommend you doing it, but how about you? Have any tips that you would like to share that have allowed you to generate some solid leads? We would love to hear them, so comment below!