How to use social media for B2B lead generation

“I’m quite certain that Facebook isn’t going to be relevant for us” said a sales manager I recently spoke to. That’s a bold statement as he just said he couldn’t think of a way to use a network that is regularly frequented by one in seven people on the planet. Sure, Facebook might not be the first place you turn to when looking for B2B leads and sales through social, but it can play an important role when used effectively. Follow this step-by-step guide and you can start using social media for B2B lead generation right away.

Step 1: Know thy audience

Audience @ LeWeb 11 Les Docks-9317

As is the case with so much digital marketing, your starting point for a successful social media lead generation campaign should be understanding who it is you’re are attempting to engage with. This means creating a buyer persona.

Your buyer persona will be a fictional representation of the typical person you are trying to reach. It will tell you about the issues that concern them, the challenges they face in their roles and where they look to find answers. This should include the magazines they read, the websites they visit and the social networks you think they use. Use this to create the content that you will use to lure them onto your website.

Step 2: Conjure up some content ideas

ideas

If you want people to pay attention to you on social media is is probably best to make sure you have something to say when you’re on there. This means saying something beyond “If you’d like a quote give us a call and speak to an advisor” because if people wanted a quote, they would have visited your website and picked up the phone already.

Create content that your ideal buyer, as informed by your buyer personas, will actually read and get value from. Think about all the different formats people are consuming information in and how you can use each, from blog posts to infographics, eBooks to webinars, leave no content path unturned.

Step 3: Create your premium content and build your landing pages

If you are to stand any chance of successfully using social media to generate new leads in a sustainable way then you will certainly have to use landing pages. Trying to manually handle new leads through social media is ill-advised as it is a) time consuming b) difficult to execute and c) unsustainable in the long term.

You’ll need to create some premium content that people are happy to part with some details to access; industry reports, buyers guides and checklists are a good place to start. Once you have created the content you’ll need to create the landing page that it sits behind. Your landing pages are the shop window for your content and should be optimised for maximum visitor to lead conversion. Learn more about landing page optimisation in our landing page 101 guide.

Step 4: Identify the social networks you will use

social media, social networking, social computing tag cloud (#3)

This process can prove to be difficult if you don’t understand the social media landscape or you haven’t created your buyer persona with enough detail. Overcoming the first issue is relatively simple: read this Smart Insights blog post to get a good introduction to the issue. The problem is more difficult to overcome but I would recommend reading our Buyer Persona 101 to tackle the issue.

When choosing the networks you want to use you should remember these points:

  • One in seven people on the planet use Facebook at least once a month. Do not discount this network even if you are a B2B marketer.

  • LinkedIn company pages offer a great deal of customisation with many opportunities for lead conversion. Make sure you have everything in place to optimise your LinkedIn company page.

  • B2B firms, especially those in the engineering and manufacturing sectors [Note: Anecdotally, at least], will often find that YouTube is one of the top sources of social referral traffic.

Step 6: Create your profiles and optimise them for conversions

Creating your company profiles on the different social networks is easy. In fact, it’s so easy even a puppy can do it. Creating the profiles is only the first step as you now need to ensure you have optimised them for lead conversions. This isn’t a one time job either. It requires ongoing attention to ensure you are continually generating new leads through social media. Learn more about optimising your profiles on these three blogs:

Step 7: Start writing blogs to support your premium content

If you’re thinking that once you have created your premium content you can simply keep sharing links to it on Twitter and LinkedIn then you are sadly mistaken. Saying the same thing over and over will get tired very quickly so you need to support the content with… more content. Ideally you will be doing this through your blog so if you write an eBook about a specific topic, you can take small chunks of the eBook and turn them into blog posts.

These blog posts will then be shared across all of your social media profiles to drive new traffic to your website and to demonstrate your knowledge and authority on your industry. You might be asking “how does this generate new leads?” and the answer is simple: through calls-to-action that you add to your blog posts.

Step 8: Write, create, share, repeat

You’re ready to go. Now you need to stay on top of the process and continue and create more content – blogs, tweets, videos, premium content and landing pages – and then make sure people can see it by sharing links across your profiles. Do this from now on and you’ll see new leads and new contacts coming into your database in a sustainable way for a long time to come.

Additional tips

  • The median lifespan of a tweet according to moz.com is 18 minutes. This means tweeting links out multiple times over the space of a day, few days or few weeks is fine as you will likely reach different people each time.

  • Facebook advertising is the best way of utilising the largest social network in the world if you are a B2B business. Not many people are likely to be rushing to like your page so using ads to target new audiences can be very effective.

  • Ongoing engagement in the form of retweets, comment responses, replies and shares is also encouraged. Simply broadcasting on social media is to be discouraged as real dialogue is as important as scheduled updates.

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