Have you ever wished that you had gotten in on the ground floor of a great technological advancement or emerging market? For example, when dial-up was still the most common form of home internet service, don’t you wish you had started planning for internet marketing? You would have been way ahead of the curve, with a great strategy already in place for the coming internet boom.
It can be very difficult to have that kind of foresight; it takes a keen eye, a willingness to take risks and a little bit of luck. Guess right and you could be a founder of the next Google; guess wrong, and you could be stuck with tons of worthless shares of Myspace stock.
Well, there’s another great movement taking place right now, and although you can’t get in on the ground floor, you can still be one of the early adopters if you take action now. That movement is social media marketing. We know that social media is huge, and that social media sites are making big money. But not nearly enough people are using social media to advance their own business agenda and generate leads.
If you have social media pages/accounts for your business already (and you definitely should), then you realize how effective those platforms can be for advancing brand awareness and engaging with customers. But far too few businesses are using social media to generate leads.
Not using social media for leads is akin to refusing to use email marketing for the same purpose. Can you imagine marketing campaigns without email efforts? It’s practically unheard of. But social media gives you the same sort of access as email; in fact, you could argue that it gives you better, more personal access.
Consider how you check your email. You probably check it at the start of the day, then maybe periodically when you’re bored at work or have a free moment. But do you ever check it for fun? Do you ever think to yourself, “I wonder what’s going on with my email account right now?” Probably not.
Social media, on the other hand, is totally different. Many users check their social media accounts throughout the day, whenever they have a spare moment. If they find themselves stuck in a line, sitting in a waiting room or just bored at a stop light (sidenote: don’t do that), their default action is to check Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Therefore, we can conclude that social media audiences are captive, active users that have a great chance of seeing our social media marketing efforts.
So now that you realize what a valuable audience we’re talking about, how do you generate leads? For starters, your social media accounts should function as an alert system for all of your new content; whenever you post a new blog article, share links to it on every social media account.
Additionally, you should develop campaigns aimed specifically at your social media followers. They can follow the same structure as your email campaigns: come up with a content offer or sales pitch, then post it to social media with a link to a landing page.
If you really want to maximize your social media engagement, you may have to invest in some advertising – especially when it comes to Facebook. Currently, Facebook is the only social media site that limits the organic reach of your posts; this is done purposely, because Facebook wants you to pay them for access to users, even if they follow your page. However, a benefit of their advertising is the ability to target posts to specific audiences based on things like age, gender and education. Although it isn’t necessary to invest in advertising on other sites like Twitter and LinkedIn, it does give you access to additional targeting features as well.
Whether you decide to pay for advertising or not, you definitely need to start using your social media pages to generate leads. You can still hop aboard the social media marketing train before it leaves the station – but you’d better act quickly, or it may leave you behind.