If as an online brand your focus has always been on using social media for brand promotion you can be forgiven for assuming that is all social media is capable of achieving. But for the past few years this incredible information consumption and information broadcast medium has seen a sea of change. In the year 2015 there is a lot more you can achieve with social media other than just brand positioning and market insight. One of the most underrated usage of social media has been its ability to be used as an effective lead generation medium.
According to a Forrester report peer-to-peer influence metric now holds more consumer trust than any other kind of marketing, branding, or advertising influence.
What exactly does this mean for brands looking to leverage upon their social media reach to generate leads that can eventually result in sales? Let’s analyse how consumer trust results in social lead generation.
The Forrester report cited the response of almost 58,000 respondents to arrive at the conclusion that almost 70% trust the brands that are recommended by their friends while only 10% trust the various advertising methods. This study, and many other such studies, suggest that social media has an intrinsic ability to generate and promote consumer trust. This intangible attribute can act as a goldmine for brands looking to generate leads for their businesses online. Let’s look at some social lead generation tactics that brands must utilize.
A community based approach affects client / buyer behavior
Online communities have been a hit with netizens ever since the days of online forums. During the first half of the 2000s forums were a great way of finding useful information and building trust online. With the dawn of social networking and free chat clients the way brands communicate with consumers has seen a drastic change. But the community element remains intact, albeit in a slightly different form.
If a brand is able to create user communities around their product and services generating leads becomes the easy part. Some great examples of such communities can be found on Pinterest. Pinterest allows creation of pictorial boards. Generally these boards are product or category specific and allow interested folks to either take a call-to-action or recommend the product to their friends, thereby generating leads for brands that have boards on Pinterest.
Focus on metrics that can contribute to revenue
This is an extraordinary pitfall that brands still can’t seem to have figured out. The greatest social media pitfall for a brand is the measurement of social media success. How do you measure social media success? The simple, and wrong, answer for the longest time has been the like, comment, share, follow, retweet, and follower count. Novice social media marketers and brand engagement folks use these metrics to measure social media success. Well, they couldn’t be further from the truth.
These are metrics that measure engagement and reach. One million followers on twitter and ten million likes on a brand’s facebook page do not automatically translate into one and ten million dollars in sales. A brand’s social media success is reflected by the revenue generated through these engagement and reach metrics. Therefore, it is futile to use these metrics to measure social media success. To correctly measure their social media success brands must focus on metrics that translate into revenue.
Is lead generation part of your social media strategy?
It’s hard to find brands these days which do not use social media. It’s even harder to find brands that use social media effectively. Almost every brand that exists on social media uses it for promotional purposes. While that is great, if your intention is to generate leads and reach potential clients brand promotion is not going to help. It’s never going to help. A lot of marketers fail to understand that promoting is not enough, they must incite a CTA (call-to-action) from the customer. They must know how to nudge a customer toward a possible sale, or a possible recommendation.
This is why a brand’s social media strategy must include lead generation opportunities. If you want a positive ROI, you have to invest in the right strategy.
In an upcoming post we will talk about some lead generation strategies that brands can leverage upon to attain their intended ROI.