Using Social Media for lead generation with Small Business
Small businesses may not have the bulging marketing budgets afforded to large commercial companies to invest in targeted social media campaigns, but that doesn’t mean they cannot generate leads by only investing a little of their money and time.
Using social media for business is still a developing area despite some platforms being around for a decade or longer. Many large businesses have taken on staff in-house to handle the company social media affairs, and others will outsource their business to independent companies that can offer a complete package tailored to their specific needs.
The main problem for small businesses, entrepreneurs and sole traders is finding the time to dedicate to building a social media presence, then keeping on top of all the necessary actions needed to keep generating social engagement.
Many new business start-ups and sole traders end up working late into the evening on their social media profile because they are aware just how valuable it can be to a small businesses bottom line.
If you actually make a plan from the start, and approach your social media duties strategically, then you will save yourself a lot of time and effort in the long run. Having a plan in place that you can follow will stop you from procrastinating, and wasting time in areas that are not proving fruitful.
The first thing you should do is to put in place measures that will show you how well your social media efforts are performing for you. Set up your accounts and become familiar with the free analytical tools that each platform offers. By keeping an eye on your performance, you can see which platform is working better for you, which time of day is better for posting, what sort of writing tone or voice is engaging better with your followers etc.
Set up Google Analytics for your website, and monitor the response from social media – which posts/platforms are bringing in the most clicks? Are there any platforms that are not generating any activity, or low activity? Can you save some time by trimming down your social media accounts so you are only posting to the ones that are bringing you results?
How effective social media effort is of value to small business
It doesn’t matter if you are offering a product or service, or if you are looking to build an email list, social media can help you generate leads if you focus on the social aspect of it. It is all about the conversation!
The worst mistake you can make is to dive in blindly without any real goals in place. Begin with asking yourself what the objective of your business is, then look at who your customers or audience are, when your prospective customers are most likely to be online using social media, and the types of things they are interested in.
Once you have these factors written down, you can start to formulate your posts towards engaging your desired audience, talk about what they would find interesting, asking for their opinions and feedback, and posting at a time that they will be online and active on social media.
Check your analytical tools each week to see which posts are engaging, which are the busiest days and times for responses, then you can tailor your future posts to fit with what is working, and trim away those approaches that are not.
There are a few different approaches you can try for lead generation, and the best way is to try each one out for a while, review and amend your approaches as necessary. Here are a few approaches that you can try – but remember to analyse the response to each, and don’t be afraid to cut down on or drop completely those that are not working for you.
Start a blog on your website.
Yes, blogging can be a very time consuming thing, but if you plan ahead and decide to blog consistently for say – just three times per week, then it can be worthwhile. You can share your content across your social media platforms, so if you have also planned to post to Facebook every day as part of your social media strategy, three of your weekly posts can be your blog content.
Writing a regular blog will also go a long way towards optimising your website for better search engine results, and within your blog posts you can include more creative and persuasive information with a call to action at the end – for some this is much easier than trying to craft a hook line in the 140 characters allowed by Twitter.
Facebook is still the most popular social network in existence today, and you do get a bit more elbow room with Facebook. You can write some engaging content and include a link back to your website, or you can create a special offer that runs on social media only. The ease of sharing on social media sites means that you can generate new leads quite easily by setting up a ‘refer a friend’ campaign where the referrer can earn a discount or gift code for signing up a friend to your email newsletter etc.
You can do the same for Twitter, but you have to be much more creative with your short character limit. It does help to include an eye-catching image or video to help you stand out from the crowd. Also research your hashtags to see what is popular in your niche, and what you can link into to reach a new audience.
Check your metrics regularly across all platforms, then after three months you should have enough consistent data to truly see which social media platform is working the hardest for you. Google Analytics will be able to tell you this.
You can use this data to then allow yourself to invest what limited budget you have allocated towards boosting posts on Facebook and Twitter that will actually reach the most people. If you want to grow your email newsletter, this information can help you to devise a refer a friend campaign for newsletter sign-ups.
Try to approach your social media activity as part of your job. Schedule in some time in your day to day routine, just as you would for answering emails and replying to phone calls and messages.
Keep a track on your results, and if something isn’t working for you, change your approach to see if something different will generate the leads you want.