This article was written by a guest contributor; Brandon Leibowitz.
To keep a business up and running, bringing in new customers and clients on a regular basis is essential; it leads to growth and is what makes a business prosper. In the past, traditional advertising and marketing campaigns kept things simple. There were only so many options, and creativity wasn’t absolutely essential for success.
Enter social media. Social networking sites flipped the way the world works upside down. Instead of looking for real life contacts, networks are growing online. Users are flocking to the Internet to build business and social connections. They’re checking the networks constantly for updates.
Mobile devices have taken this trend even further. It’s estimated that over one third of all American adults regularly access social media sites through their smart phones and tablets. Social media has become a regular part of our lives, and it goes with us everywhere.
This trend should illustrate the importance of using social media as a regular part of your business’s operations. If you have yet to set up a site or to start a network, now is the time. But, whether or not you have current social media accounts, you may wonder how to use them to effectively generate leads. Keep reading for a few tips and then give it a try. The results may surprise you.
Bring Potential Clients to You
One of the biggest ways social media has changed business networking is that going out to networking functions is no longer a necessary way to generate leads. Business and all aspects of it have moved online. First step? Bring your potential clients and customers to you, in a controlled environment. Various networks make this possible.
LinkedIn is an online business networking site. Its basic purpose is to allow professionals to connect around issues relevant to their industries. This makes it an excellent lead generation starting point.
The site allows users to create groups that center around specific topics, professions and interests. Think about your clients, what motivates them? Why do they come to you in the first place? Answer these questions and create a group. Invite your current connections to join and start conversations that revolve around your business and its purpose. The discussion will vary depending on your industry, for example, if you are in the car business, you may start a discussion on new catering services in Pasadena. If you’re in health care, you may discuss the health care reform laws.
Joining groups is equally important. Search for groups that are relevant to your business and become a member. Start conversations and reply to existing ones. Set yourself up as a subject matter expert. By doing this, you’re likely to stand out among the group, increasing your chance of generating leads.
Twitter, an online discussion board, allows users to create scheduled, live discussions that center around a specific topic.
Much like LinkedIn groups, Twitter chats can be created or joined at any time. Run a search for topics that matter to your industry, or a current event that relates to your operations. Ask and answer questions. Simply use the hashtag (#) provided by the moderator when posting a response.
With a little practice, Twitter chats can become an excellent want to start conversations that bring potential leads to you.
Google Plus Hangouts
Google Plus’s Hangouts are essentially a way to connect during a scheduled time with your followers through video chat. Think: office meeting through web cams. Unlike the other networks, these allow a little more control; you can invite specific individuals or make them public.
Create a Hangout that would interest your potential clients, industry hot topics, a question and answer session, an interview with an expert, etc. Make an invitation and send it to your existing contact list. Ask them to share with their contacts. Record your session and save it to YouTube/embed it on your website to allow for later viewing. Be sure to include a call to action that invites your participants and viewers to contact you for additional information.
Much like marketing tactics of the past, paid advertising is an effective way to spread your company’s message. Facebook allows companies to pay for clicks or impressions.
The advantage to Facebook’s advertising system is that it has the personal information and interests of all users. Because of this, you can target specific demographics in your advertising – unlike traditional magazine or television advertising – allowing you to save money and increasing the odds that your ad is seen by someone who could eventually become a customer or client.
One of the most efficient ways to generate leads online, with a long-term focus, is to become a trusted information source, a subject matter expert. If you’re able to provide answers and information that your clients are searching for, they’re more likely to use your business to fulfill their needs down the road.
Recently, Facebook has created a tab system that allows business pages to set their own tabs using applications that run specifically on the platform. One of the most effective for lead generation is the Facebook Questions Tab. This tab allows your followers to ask questions and allows you to answer them, all within the app.
These questions are then stored and available for anyone that visits the page. They’re a great way to link back to your site and to help with your SEO strategy. By becoming a trusted resource, you’re increasing the likelihood of generating leads both now and in the future.
Try a few of the options above out and don’t miss out on the lead generation possibilities that social media has to offer.
About the Author: +Brandon Leibowitz is a Social Media fanatic. His blog, Bosmol, is based on trending stories on various topics related to social media, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google Plus, Internet Marketing, Social Bookmarking, Smartphones, SEO, and many other topics. Bosmol was established in Los Angeles, California in 2007.