Obviously, if your company doesn’t have a LinkedIn page or a Facebook, stop reading this article and get cracking! While LinkedIn and Facebook are a business’ best lead generators on social media, small businesses shouldn’t ignore the other guys: Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and niche sites.
Arguably, you should be using all these sites for content distribution and visibility purposes, but some sites are better than others for lead generation. Here are some points to consider when choosing where to spend your time online.
- You want a site that allows for some connection to your website. Let’s remember what the goal of social media-driven lead generation is: to drive prospects to your site and onto your email list via a contact form. You want leads to be able to click through links and posts that will take them back to your company’s website or blog. While you can post links in your profile on Instagram, it doesn’t make for easy conversion from prospect to interested lead.
- You want to know who you’re talking to--so sites with anonymous users are out. Most social media sites use handles of some kind, and not everyone is going to use their real name. But some sites (like Reddit) are infamous for user anonymity. If you can’t identify a lead, you can’t follow up.
- You want to be able to communicate meaningful information. If you can’t fit in information about your business or a call to action or even a full sentence into your social media post, don’t use that platform to generate leads (I’m looking at you, Snapchat and Vine).
So what sites are we left with? Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and many niche sites fit the bill for good lead generation when used properly. But which sites work best for your leads and your company?
Who Should Use This Site: Businesses with short, visual calls to action focused on the user experience
Why: According to Twitter, tweets with pictures get a 35% boost in retweets, as opposed to just a 28% boost from adding a video or 16% from a hashtag.
- Businesses targeting consumers (B2Cs) can take advantage of Twitter’s casual, social aspects by tweeting calls-to-action with photos or videos attached. This isn’t to say that businesses selling to businesses (B2Bs) won’t benefit from Twitter. According to KoMarketing Associates, people are more likely to visit a B2B tech company’s website after seeing a tweet from the company, getting them one step closer to becoming a lead.
Time and Effort: It depends on what your strategy is.
- You can use a highly personal strategy, like “targeted listening” (when you identify online conversations that you and your company can organically become a part of) which takes time and effort. Or, you can automate a series of tweets that function as calls to action (though I wouldn’t recommend tweeting for the sake of tweeting). Thankfully, all tweets are less than 140 characters, and you will most likely be including the URL to your website or other content.
Who Should Use This Site:Businesses with how-to content and a real, personal presence with customers
Why: YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine.
- It gives you the opportunity to introduce yourself, your brand, and your product/service to potential new customers in an engaging and memorable way--if you have the ability to make a good video. Consumers are tired of traditional marketing. They want fun and informative content, not an obvious ad or call-to-action. Which isn’t to say your videos shouldn’t ask your viewer to click through to your website; each video should be titled with great keywords and end with a strong-call-to action.
Time and Effort: The trouble with YouTube is, you have to promote your video content via other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
- You should be cross-posting often, though, so this isn’t a huge hassle for you, just an extra step for the lead. The second obstacle with YouTube is the creation of the video itself. You have to make sure it’s engaging immediately (within the first five seconds), high quality, and worth sharing. And all that takes time and (you guessed it) effort.
Who Should Use This Site: Businesses with pretty, shareable content and a blog
- With an average of a million visitors a day who spend about 15 minutes per visit and a referral traffic percentage higher than YouTube, LinkedIn and Google+ combined, Pinterest has some serious marketing prowess. There are two ways that marketers can capitalize on Pinterest; first, it can be an easily monetized marketing tool for products, or it can be a place where potential leads aggregate web content they like and want to remember. B2Cs can directly advertise their product via Pinterest, while B2Bs can pin pics and graphics from their blog. Try to pin tall, bright and colorful photos of products or infographics. Don’t pin dark images or those with faces--especially don’t pin stock photos. Those are boring and not “pin-worthy” for users. Sometimes people pin a webpage just because they like the picture--so pictures are very important.
Time and Effort: Pinterest will take more time to maintain than Twitter--but, hopefully, the leads will come to you via your pins.
- The real time-suck with Pinterest is creating beautiful content. If you already have a successful blog with great infographics and pictures, then you can go back and pin old entries. Otherwise, it’s time to develop some nice graphics and calls-to-action for each post.