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

Illustration of people building reports
Illustration of people building reports

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

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. 

3 Ways to Use Social Media for Lead Generation

1. Active Listening

Selling your product is (arguably) the most important goal of your 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. For example, you could 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:

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.

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. 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.

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

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!).

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.

And don’t worry, you don’t have to be an expert to include lead generation in your social media strategy. Simply begin by trying out a few of the techniques that I discussed here today and build on your successes.

Take a look at our customer journey ebook to help craft the right strategy for your business.