In this blog post, I want to go over how you can utilize social media for lead generation.
I'm not talking about the marketing aspect of social media: getting your name out there, getting brand recognition, and trying to occupy mindshare of your target market. I'm writing about actually getting prospects through the door.
One tool you can utilize is Facebook. The other two tools I will mention are LinkedIn and Twitter. I am purposefully omitting other channels for compliance considerations.
Shifting Your Mindset
When it comes to developing lead generation, you have to approach social media from a different perspective. You are not necessarily going to be going in with guns blazing, but you are going to be more direct than typical marketing. This is called social selling.
With Twitter, it is permissible to insert yourself into a conversation that is happening. You may come across a tweet saying, "I can't believe I'm still paying student loan debt ten years after graduating." 1) That's telling you they're paying student loans so if you offer a student loan analysis service you can directly help them with that. 2) It's telling you they're 10 years out of school, which means they might be in your demographic 3) It means you should reach out to them because they are actively looking for a solution.
You might say, "Hey, X percentage of Americans are dealing with this 10 years after they graduate. Feel free to reach out...we have a service that helps people like you with this."
Facebook & LinkedIn Groups
With Facebook and LinkedIn, you're going to want to take advantage of groups. As I understand, you are allowed to get involved with 50 groups on LinkedIn (which is more than you will need).
If you've drunk the XYPN Kool-Aid, you've already established a niche by now. When it comes to LinkedIn and Facebook groups, simply join the groups of your ideal client profile and engage. Don't sell...just engage.
In these channels, you will want to provide value at no cost to the members before they'll approach you privately, or before they’ll even accept you as a connection for that matter.
Let's say you're going after creative freelancers. You will want to target creative entrepreneurs because that's where you're really going to get good referrals and good prospect potential. Consider joining creative groups such as Creative Mornings in your city. Members of the group might ask questions you can answer, like how to budget with an irregular income or how to plan for taxes with a skyrocketing business.
One way that I generated prospects was to study business obsessively. I was able to answer questions, which often had nothing to do with money, and I provided value to others (see: the law of reciprocity).
Facebook's Open Graph
When it comes to Facebook, groups can be a good place to source prospects, but you could also utilize the open graph. Facebook has a nifty feature that a lot of people don't know about. When someone posts something that isn't set to a private group, you can find it using Facebook Open Graph via the search bar.
When you find a post in an open group, provide value and then feel free to end it with, "I believe that will solve your problem. If you think you need more help, PM me."
I recommend using your personal page when you do this. Users generally respond better to people on Facebook, as opposed to a business page. On Twitter, you can use your business brand to answer questions.
When it comes to Twitter, you can use advanced search, which is robust with a simple interface, on the Twitter platform. Or, you can download a tool called HootSuite. HootSuite streamlines your engagement across social media. I use it primarily to engage on Twitter in a scalable way. To see how I used it for Ignite Financial, take a look at XYPN Marketing Coach Carolyn McRae's video on the topic HERE.
Target your niche on Twitter. If you're really confident in your student loan skills, google which hashtags work best with high-income earners with young kids. If you're working with physicians, you likely know their pain points; explore related keywords on Twitter. Create lists based on those searches, then watch for questions you can answer. Insert yourself into the discussions that may be meaningful to your target market.
That's the best thing about Twitter: it’s like a cocktail party where anyone can reach out and strike up a conversation with anyone. When my niche was the startup community, there were plenty of ways for me to interact with my target market on Twitter. I aimed to provide value, never hopping out of nowhere to say, "I have what you need! Click this link". I answered their questions, then let them come to me when they wanted to pursue more.
For example, a Twitter user says, "My student loans are killing me. I feel like I need to sell a kidney." You can say, "This is how you should lower your payment..." or "You should check out Student Loan Hero or Credit Karma, it will help you do X Y and Z."
This is how you begin social selling. (It is every bit as social as the name implies, so make sure your compliance manual is up to date.) If someone likes or retweets your answer, it will show up in their followers' feeds. This is the virality of Twitter.
Follow conference hashtags relevant to your niche and engage. Don't simply post and hope something happens. Using social media to generate leads requires engagement and being a genuine, caring person.
When it comes to LinkedIn, joining a group is the most obvious way to interact with your target market. While this will undoubtedly help broaden your personal brand recognition, it may take a while before an opportunity lands in your lap due to the value you provide to the group.
LinkedIn requires a different approach than Twitter. Users seem to want to develop a relationship before they’re willing to visit your website. Why? Possibly because misguided salespeople have annoyed the average user with aggressive tactics, resulting in users who are skeptical and guarded on the platform. To succeed with LinkedIn, plan to build relationships long-term. You’ll have better luck making meaningful connections after building rapport.
If you pay for LinkedIn’s premium subscription (sales navigator), you can send people InMail. These are direct messages you can send to anyone regardless if they are a connection or not. InMail can be a helpful tool, but remember it works best if you’ve established rapport.
If you’re posting only on your own social profiles, you probably aren’t getting much traction. Plan to be social and grind it out long term. Social selling (not to be confused with social media advertising) is free, but it takes time and effort.
Utilizing social media for lead generation also takes creativity and knowledge. Experiment with different ways to join a conversation. Use GIFs when appropriate. And, of course, really know what you're talking about and provide value in a concise manner.
You never know who is on the other side of that computer. The internet is a crazy place; one click or one view can turn into a windfall of revenue for your business.
About the Author
Stephen first joined XYPN as a member. After working with the team on smaller projects, he was hooked. He now serves as the Director of Advisor Success. He’s worked with multiple companies inside and outside of the financial services industry, specifically in helping them design their marketing and technology strategies.
When he’s not working, you can find Stephen in Atlanta, GA attending a startup event, reading a book at a random coffee shop, or diving into new experiences with his wife Erin.