Social media has been a fascination for the last few years.
And while business owners and managers have been intrigued by social media just as much as other people the jury is still out regarding social media leads.
Eventually all the time and investment in social media needs to result in small business leads. Sales and profit are requirements for businesses to succeed. Investing in social media is no different than any other effort.
Social Media Leads: Start With The Customer
There is a gap in Internet use. People are split by generation on how they use the Internet.
While people of all ages use social services like Facebook, social is being used mostly by people under the age of 35. And you could take it even further than that by saying social media is used by people under the age of 25.
The other segment of users is probably Internet professionals immersed in all things technology and Internet-related. These folks depend on social media for their jobs.
The best place to start with a social media leads strategy for your small business is to look at your target customer. If your customer is a 55 year old business executive you’re going to have a hard time finding them on Facebook and Pinterest.
If your target client is a 25 year old marketing professional you’ll have a better chance. This client is using social media all the time for both personal and professional uses.
Start by making assumptions about your target client. Then ask your current clients about how and if they are using social media. Listen to their activity and you’ll get a good idea if you should be investing in social media lead generation.
The Product and Service
Your product and service will also factor in to your success with social media leads.
If you sell business services or software you will have a pretty good likelihood of succeeding in generating social media leads. If you’re selling rocking chair repair services you’ll likely have a more difficult time. That’s not saying it won’t be possible to generate leads, but it will likely be more difficult.
Generally, if your target customers are using social media you have a chance to generate leads with social media, but you also need a product or service that intrigues the people that are using social media.
The customer is most important, but the merchandise and service come second.
Social media leads strategies follow similar lines as other lead generating sources. You’re looking to get the early attention of your target customer. They’re at the very early stages of the sales process or sales funnel.
They might not even know they need your product and they probably haven’t heard of your brand.
Your job is to make them aware of the pain or problem they’re having, discuss the possibly solution and get your brand top of mind as it realtes to the pain and solution.
For example, you’re in charge of adding new customers for your display advertising firm. You sell ad space to businesses. The ads are part of a network of publishers throughout the Internet.
You’re a small business in a very competitive space where there are big competitors (ex: Google).
But those competitors likely aren’t focusing major efforts on social media leads. That’s where you can gain an edge as a small business or a startup company.
Since the target client is likely a marketing professional it would make sense to participate in social media on properties like Twitter, LinkedIn and a company blog. You can create content that would be at the top of the sales funnel for your target client.
They’re likely searching for (on search engines and social media sites) for information generating new business or increasing website traffic. By creating content that provides answers to these questions you’re giving your target clients a reason to pay attention to your brand.
It’s the first step in the sales process. You’re generating the social media leads and getting them aware of your brand, to your brand website and interested in the service you provide.
We’re at the point where social media needs to start holding its own in terms of dollars. For small businesses that means social media leads, sales and profit.
If your business has an emerging client base of younger consumers or professionals immersed in social then you’re in a good position to take advantage. Social media is becoming part of the produce/service. It’s a top of the funnel marketing activity that can provide business leads.
Hopefully the strategies above will help you develop social media leads for your small business.