Most users turn to social media sites for entertainment and information, but for digital marketers social engagements represent a dynamic way to generate leads. Fostering leads, or potential customers, in social media is not as clear-cut or obvious as email, TV or print marketing, but there is enough history and background now to follow and replicate what is already working.
When done well and with noticeable authenticity, the likes, follows, retweets, shares and other forms of lead generation in the social age will follow in kind. The funnel, or path to get from initial contact to sale, is still nebulous but that just means it might take a little more creativity to achieve your goals.
Here's five ways marketers are generating leads on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn:
Facebook — Social Media's Giant
- Competitions and Contests: People love a competition or contest that gives them a chance to win something aspirational. They also happen to be one of the most effective means to increase page likes and generate leads. Determine what information would be most valuable to your business and plan your contest accordingly. Make sure to choose a prize that will appeal to your target audience and try to keep it simple because too many questions may turn people off completely. Stick to the basics if your company decides it mostly wants email addresses, location, gender and age group. Don't ask for more information than necessary and be sure to get permission to contact your contest participants in the future.
- Offers: Facebook's Offers product enables brands to create an offer from their page or the ads creation tool. Facebook encourages advertisers to make substantial discounts in their offers and use engaging images to increase their chances for success. Once your business creates an offer, it's best to set a reasonable expiration date that gives people enough time to claim an offer and even share it with their friends on Facebook. Offers can also be further promoted by creating an ad and pinning the offer to the top of your page. Offers can help your business collect valuable information about potential customers and influencers.
- Customers Become Brand Ambassadors: Facebook can expand word-of-mouth marketing in a social context. Encourage your existing customers to be active on your page, ask questions, thank them for participating and provide relevant content they can share with others. Leverage activity on Facebook to foster greater endorsement of what your business does and what it stands for.
- Calls to Action: Don't mistake Facebook for a purely marketing platform when actual sales might be closer than you think. A good call to action can pay off in spades. Find the right mix of lead-generating content and overall engagement without drowning your audience in sales posts. Calls to action can be included in posts, images and any other update you share. Engagement is great, but be sure to also let your fans and followers know how they can buy products or services from your company.
- Special Codes: Few things are cooler than knowing a secret password that opens doors to savings, special offers or events. Whisper codes are especially useful for brick-and-mortar retailers who want to drive customers into their stores. When shared on Facebook, these simple phrases or code words can be repeated in store to unlock a discount or special offer. Of course, when other customers overhear these whisper codes they'll want to get in on the action too and create some buzz in the store.
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