The Truth About Social Media Lead Generation

So you want to ramp up your lead generation efforts on social media?

You may already be focusing on lead generation activities and you may even be finding some success.

But I bet you want more.

You want to grow your audiences, you more real sales leads and evidence that social is generating leads from content.

The Troubles

It can be difficult to grow an audience on social media because it’s so big and noisy that it’s difficult to find people and content. Search sucks on social and we’re also a bit lazy – we’re all waiting on people finding us (because we’re awesome, so why shouldn’t they?!).

The trouble is that many people want to increase lead generation without focusing on audience growth, engagement and relationships first. They think it should be a point of purchase transaction; you know that pack of gum, lipgloss or tissues you buy when you are waiting at the till.

For the most part, lead generation is not like this on social; it’s an opportunity to find your target audience, get to know more about them and create content, products and services that are driven by their needs. You can’t ramp us lead generation without the substance or engagement to back it up, especially when your preferred lead generation method is social.

You’ll also find it difficult to achieve massive growth on social media by just posting out amazing content alone, so a targeted growth strategy is necessary. Cue a rise of social tools to help you do just that.

 

The Follow Approach

Tools like Autopilot, Crowdfire, ManageFitter, Quant Social and Socedo  have risen to help you grow ‘targeted’ audiences. These tools work on the premise of allowing you to mass follow users (or in the case of Autopilot mass profile viewing). You can customise the people you search for with keywords, hashtags or following other users’ followers.

I call this the ‘follow approach’ – it works to say, hello I’m here and I find you interesting. Interested people will follow back and if they don’t you have the opportunity to mass unfollow.

This approach works because everyone likes to get a new follower or see that someone has been viewing their profile (a little endorphin boost). But it’s not going to increase lead generation with no substance, content or engagement to back it up – yes, you’ll have audience growth but you need to do more to convert, these are just tools after all.

 

The Automation Fallacy

Some of these tools feature an automation approach to engagement, well if it’s a tools feature it must be ok to use, right? From auto direct messages (don’t do it, here’s some research to find out why) and automatically retweeting a new followers tweet – this option fills me with dread.

If the purpose of your engagement is to increase lead generation efforts on social then, in my opinion, there is automation fallacy at play here. I get it, and you want to say hello to new followers and it’s easier to automate this but people hate this automated hello (read the research here).

Think about how business relationships are formed in the offline world; you put in the effort to a nurture a connection to form a relationship (we can learn a lot from B2B when thinking about customer engagement and developing relationships). If we agree that we go online to connect (to connect to a human) but then we’re met with an automated hello or even worse a sales contact (read my latest blog, download my eBook or buy my stuff) you’re going to turn off. It’s human nature.

We need to get to know these new connections, and we need to understand where they fit into our audience, our micro-audiences, and what value we can add to them. It’s not a one size fits all game.

Tools like Audisense take you one step forward and help you manage your Twitter and Instagram followers. You can develop micro-audiences based on interests, personality and propensity to engage but again you need to put in the work to understand how to engage them.

 

The Substance Test

Do you have everything in place to ramp up lead generation on social? Things you need to consider before taking the jump:

− A good understanding of your target audience (keywords, hashtags, common phrases, job titles)
− Simple positioning with a hook in your bio (so anyone can get it)
− An understanding of your micro audiences, their preferences and drivers
− Great content that is of value to your audience(s)
− A willingness to engage as a person and create human connections (we ain’t no point of purchase)

There is so much more to consider than the ‘Follow Approach’ alone. Are you missing out on an opportunity to be a top performer because you don’t have the systems in place to make inspired human connections with your audience?

 

The Opportunity You Are Missing Out On

So, we have all these tools that help you find, follow and attract your target audience based on who they are. The key here is that you’re achieving this by who they are and their broad interests. You have little idea of their commitment, intent or their needs. You’re assuming because they fit your target market they will want what you are selling or find your content interesting – this is a dangerous place to be.

You’re missing the “voice of the consumer”. You’re missing purchase propensity and the reasons why consumers’ want to buy a specific product or service, your product or service.

Targeting on the propensity to purchase is much stronger than focusing on broad strokes of interest. Knowing the drivers for purchase is massive. Hello, use this in your content strategy and campaigns to drive even more attention – they are growth triggers! You can even better understand how your different target segments make their buying decisions – a small move into personalised communication anyone?

 

Let’s Experiment

Some people might call this advanced analysis but it’s quite simple. I have a suspicion that it’s not widely adopted because it doesn’t focus 100% on the brand (brand blinkers anyone). However, it 100% focuses on getting the brand to audiences who indicate an ACTIVE INTEREST in the brands area of business and their REASONS WHY.

I used Brandwatch Analytics to gather purchase intent conversations relating to wanting pizza, wanting to buy a new house and a car, wanting new shoes and wishing for that next vacation.

Purchase Intent Chart

You may know I’m not a love of numbers but I’ve indicated the volumes here to show you these conversations exist – to show you if you put in the work you’ll get a return! But the real magic happens when you take the time to slice the data and find out what drives purchase, what drives purchase in different micro-audiences, to gain insights on how different consumer segments make their buying decisions.

I took a quick look at the new shoe conversations, they were driven by a need for new shoes for the party outfit and needing new sports shoes. They were also from a young audience demographic. Imagine now taking this from a product category level to brand level!

 

Final Thoughts

The social tools dubbed ‘lead generation’ are great at being able to find audiences interested in broad topics but there is little understanding of their need to purchase or commitment to purchase.

Other tools help you manage your audiences and develop micro-audiences. But if you’re not using next-generation intelligence like purchase intent you’re missing an opportunity to understand interact with audiences expressing an interest in a purchase and the drivers for this purchase.

Supplementing lead generation activities with social intelligence to build new audiences and use the audience driven content, hooks and campaigns. You may even move into content personalisation for your different target audiences, real-time engagement or even a ‘surprise and delight’ focused campaign.

The tools are there to find audiences, and to manage and understand audiences but you need to further efforts to understand commitment and intent to maximise lead generation on social media, this is achievable with social intelligence.

Connect Deeper

Dr Jillian Ney is the UK’s first Dr of Social Media and a Digital Behavioural Scientist. She helps businesses like you to grow by uncovering your customer preferences with behavioural digital data analysis. You can pre-order her FREE eBook Turn Your Social Lead Generation into A Conversion Powerhouse here to get sample queries, cheatsheets, and tips, and hear from the tools on how YOU can use purchase intent to increase your social lead generation.