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A Marketer’s Guide to Using Social Media for Lead Generation

Brian Peters

Jun 24, 2022

For far too long social media has been the underdog of lead generation.

Whether direct, indirect, marketing-qualified, or sales-qualified, the leads generated by marketing teams are rarely attributed to social media. Social media continues to be referred to as a brand awareness tool, and marketers often take for granted just how effective it can be for lead generation.

Today we’re putting an end to the speculation and sharing a delightfully short marketer’s guide to using social media for lead generation. 

5 Ways to Use Social Media for Lead Generation

Most marketers today are collecting tons of social data, either natively or through a more advanced social listening and social media analytics platforms. They can actively monitor buzz about their brand, their competitors, and their industry, and they have access to audience insights to learn more about their customers.

However, social media data is only as useful as the effort put into actually leveraging it. Social data can be used to generate leads and revenue — but to achieve that ROI marketers need to understand different ways to use social media and their tools in tandem.

1. Active social listening

Selling your product is (arguably) the most important output from your social marketing efforts. Social listening can be an extremely effective way to discover and connect with potential buyers.

Meltwater’s Boolean search allows users to create very specific searches, to aid in your social strategy and social selling efforts. You can set up a search for PR opportunities or people who might be interested in your product. For example:

(“Window cleaner” AND (“Recommendations” or “looking for”)

This will bring up anyone who is looking for a window cleaner. You could even include an area, for example (“Window cleaner” AND “London”) AND (“recommendations” OR “looking for”). Here’s a quick overview on effective Boolean searches:

Screenshot of a sheet showing common boolean search parameters and definitions

Another way brands use social listening for lead generation is setting up automatic searches for people who are discussing competitors in a neutral or negative light. This can provide an opportunity for your brand to provide a better alternative.

Listening also helps you expand your audience, by helping you find conversations happening around your industry and products. You can then participate directly as your brand, or simply follow the conversations to understand more about consumer pain points and preferences.

You could also use this knowledge and insight to build lookalike audiences: segments of the market that share similar traits with your current audience. Then, you can target these segments with tailored marketing messages to increase brand awareness on multiple platforms and ultimately generate more sales and revenue.

2. Social media advertising

For many marketers, social media advertising has become a mainstay in their marketing programs. Apart from generating brand awareness, ads can be one of your brand’s top lead generation channels.

b2b social media marketing and advertising budget

Success in the conversion (BOFU) stage comes down to three critical components:

  1. The quality of your targeting
  2. The quality of your ads
  3. The ability to track results

Great conversion-focused ads almost always contain an irresistible offer. This might be a discount on a product, a free-trial, a coupon, or a buy-one-get-one-free offer.

Tracking results through tools like the Facebook Pixel, Google Analytics, or even your brand’s CRM is critical. Understanding which campaigns are driving conversions, which campaigns are resulting in higher lifetime value customers, and which campaigns are losing money is helps you double down on what’s working and drop or iterate on what’s not.

3. Social media contests

Contests have been a huge success for brands on social media for nearly a decade.

The biggest upside of contests is that they draw a lot of attention and potential leads. The downside is that the leads generated aren’t always the highest quality. Regardless, contests are a surefire way to increase brand awareness and gather email addresses of potential customers.

One of the most successful social media contests to this day is Shopify’s Build a Business.

Since the launch of the program in 2010, Shopify has helped thousands of companies start and grow successful businesses using good old-fashioned competition.

Image of group of people who won a contest

Winners of the contest each receive a $50,000 investment and mentoring from seasoned entrepreneurs. Now in its seventh year, the competition has generated more than 100M impressions, 1.5M engagements, 1M shares, and most importantly, more than $500M in GMV for the businesses that participated. 

Need some creative inspiration for what to give away? Here are a few examples to get you started:

  • A limited-edition product
  • An entire product collection
  • Product(s) from influencers in your market
  • Gift cards
  • Travel

Tip - Join forces with other brands: Knowing your audience’s interests, especially on social, can help you identify brands and publications that your audience enjoys. You can then reach out to form partnerships, sponsorships or pay to place ads on their digital properties and platforms, increasing your presence and leading to more brand recognition and loyalty.

The key is to make it a win-win for everyone, and make the prize compelling enough for participants to share with their friends and family (don’t go cheap!).

4. Plug holes in your sales funnel

Social data can show you who leaves your sales cycle before completing their purchase, and at which point they leave. By analyzing the entire customer journey, you can identify places where you see the biggest drop-off and develop strategies to keep customers engaged for longer, thus improving retention and gaining higher quality leads, less likely to churn. 

5. Improve your products

By using media intelligence, like sentiment analysis, you can examine what your customers love (and what they don't) about your product. You can also gauge certain things the they prefer or dislike about your competitors offerings. Then you can rework your product, or it may be you just need to tweak your marketing language, to make it more appealing. Overtime your consumers will come to recognize that you take the time to listen and take their feedback seriously.

If you want to take a more pointed approach, you could generate specific data sets by running social media-based focus groups. By simply asking your audience what they like and dislike about your product, you can augment your sentiment analysis with more qualitative data.

Give It a Try

If you’re not using social media for lead generation there’s never been a better time than now to start. Fill out the form below to see how Meltwater can help!