You might think that Social Media is strictly reserved for sharing personal pictures or tagging your friends in the latest viral meme, however, Social Media can be a really powerful business tool if utilised correctly.

Every commercial business is obsessed with the lead collection, and why wouldn’t they? Leads are the bread and butter of the new business, and Social Media could be your new best friend to generate those leads for your business, and do it cheaply as well.

How can you do that? Well, I did bit of research on your behalf and I’ll show you 4 effective ways to use Social Media to generate leads, and show some real campaigns that we can all learn something from, in a good or bad way. So whether your business is new to social media marketing, or a seasoned marketing veteran, these 4 methods could help you shake up your view on Social Media:

Paid Social Media Advertising

This is also known as PPC advertising (Pay-Per-Click) which means you only pay when a user takes action on your advert (this could be clicking on your post or filling out a lead form). Organic posts can only take you so far, as you are limited to the following you currently have. Even with a small budget using paid posts you can target exactly the type of audience you want to reach. In addition to age, gender, relationship to your business, even political affiliation, you can target interests, hobbies. Personally, I believe Social Media advertising is the most important tool in a digital marketer’s toolkit, as Social Media is where the attention of the consumer’s lies and as famous Internet entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk said, “Attention is the currency of business”.

Not many people will be familiar with Romanian car manufacturer Dacia (subsidiary of Renault), but the “value for money” car brand launched one of the most successful Facebook paid campaigns seen in recent times:

How did they do it? They started by incorporating data from past activity, and then ensured that a wide variety of ad testing was done, essentially optimizing the advertisement’s impact based on where their customers were in the buying cycle. The results yielded a 45% reduction in the costs per lead, compared to standard display ads, increased ad recall and brand favourability, and ultimately “significantly increased test drive lead generation” (Antoine Hery, Digital Communications Manager, Renault).

Could this campaign have been done better? Of course! By having a more defined target audience set, they could have reduced the cost per lead. Another complementary platform could have been also used in conjunction with Facebook, as it would target a slightly younger audience through a more visually engaging platform, but I’m just nit-picking now.

Create Gated Content

As the name suggests, this is content behind a virtual gate, and you will only allow people past the gate with a secret password (speak ‘Friend’ and enter for all the Lord of the Rings fans out there). In this case the secret password is the contact information entered by users who want to view your gated content. To get people to come and knock at your virtual gate, the content you provide behind the gate has to be enticing enough to the visitors to give over their information. Great examples of this are items such as e-books, white papers and case studies on a particular subject. Only those who are truly interested and understand that they will gain significant value are willing to overcome the minor hurdle of entering their details, qualifying themselves as good leads.

A perfect example of gated content being leveraged was by Pardot and Salesforce, who designed the landing page below to persuade visitors to download their “Marketing Automation White Paper”. A great value exchange for their audience, who are given the opportunity to download useful information in exchange for their personal details. Of course, then Pardot/Salesforce can retarget these customers again with further information and guide them through the buyer journey en-route to becoming a valued customer – in theory.

More Nit-picking? You guessed it! When creating lead generation landing pages, you should try not to create too many exit points from the page. In this case the various logos on the page and the “take it for a spin” button all lead the visitors to a separate page. The aim should be to keep your visitors at the landing page to ensure they enter their information before leaving.

Host a competition

There are 2 ways that you can allow people to enter a contest:

  • Following/Likes/Sharing/Re-gram/Hash-tagging – this is the easiest way to set up a contest and also the easiest way for people to enter, but this technique is primarily useful to increase social following and visibility as the information gained from entrants is already publicly available on their social media profiles. The vital part of this process is to ensure that the prize is relevant and enticing enough for your audience to want to enter.
  • Landing page click through – setting up a separate landing page where entrants have to enter more information is a better lead generation method. However, this extra step for entrants means that the prize offered has to be enticing enough for your audience.

You don’t have to be a massive multinational company with a million-dollar marketing budget to run a good social media contest, as shown by independent US Clothing store Travel Country. They ran a photo contest to get the best picture inside their Florida store. The contest ran for one month. Photos had to have the contest-specific hashtag to enter. The prize is a gift card and products they sell in-store. The Instagram creative can be seen below:

Every commercial business is obsessed with the lead collection, and why wouldn’t they? Leads are the bread and butter of the new business, and Social Media could be your new best friend to generate those leads for your business, and do it cheaply as well.

What was good about this? I think this contest is great example of a small company using Social Media contest, as it encouraged foot traffic into the store as entrants had to take a picture inside the store, there was a clear ‘Call To Action’ in the advert encouraging user-generated content, a specific hashtag related to the contest and the prize was clearly relevant to the audience and motivating ($100 gift card to their store).

However, like the ever perfectionist we are at Trident there is some aspect that Travel Country can improve on. First of all, I would reduce the contest entry window; 1 month to enter is too long, a 1 or 2-week window would be ideal that would create urgency within potential contestants to enter. Public voting should also be part of the contest to decide the winner, as it allows non-participants to engage with the brand and leverage the brilliant polls platform introduced by Instagram.

Host a Webinar or Live Video

Did you know humans like human interaction? Sarcasm aside, using platforms such as Facebook live or hosting webinars you can engage with your audience in an instant format. At the end of the day, consumers buy into people not just into products. Live chats give you the opportunity to humanise your company and position your brand as an expert in the industry. Webinars or Live chats can be offered as either gated content or open to all, depending on your strategy. A great real-world example of effective use of gated live content comes from Semiconductors giant Texas Instruments:

The US-based company offers users free webinars hosted by experts in their fields on certain engineering topics, specifically targeted towards certain new products and releases. This allows Texas Instruments to educate the audience about their products whilst also generating leads in the signup process. The webinars are advertised through their social media channels and e-mail database. The attendance of these webinars regularly exceeds 100 viewers and often leads to sales being generated for the firm.

Is Social Media Lead Generation worth it for your business?

Having looked at these 4 examples, I think it’s safe to say that whether you are multinational business or a small brick and mortar store, you can benefit from using social media to generate leads. The key for any of these methods is to ensure that you have a clear overarching strategy and an idea of who your consumers are. One common factor all these example campaigns had was Audience Delight. All of them made sure that the right audience was targeted through the right channels, the right prize was chosen, relevant gated content was created and appropriate engaging/educational live videos were produced for their audience.

At Trident we always strive to delight our audiences (and the audiences of our clients) and these brands certainly did a good job in delighting theirs.

Get in touch with us if you want to start using your Social Media channels to their full potential.

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How To Generate Leads Using Social Media

Written By Adam Burrage
Managing Partner at Trident