social leadsThere are hundreds of differing opinions regarding the effectiveness of using social media for lead generation. This is mine and comes from over two years of trial and error using what I consider to be the best tools available for the social media marketer.

Social is an essential channel for the modern marketer to have a presence, but it’s not going become your company's number one revenue driver anytime soon. Instead it should be part of an overall marketing mix and, even more importantly, be integrated.

Social Leads are not ready to buy

Social leads are generally not ready to buy and need to be nurtured properly. Throwing thousands of unqualified leads into your funnel every month is a complete waste of time if they are never going to buy you product. So target appropriately and keep your content strategy focused on the pain points and hot topics around your target personas. Content fuels social for sure, but having too much content that is way too broad is a waste of resources.

Social plays a key role throughout your entire sales pipeline, beginning before prospects are event identified. (while they research or follow thought leadership on social media sites), to after they become customers (as they remain loyal customers through retention and cross and up-sell opportunities)

Inbound is not enough.

I cannot stress this last point enough. Using inbound alone to generate leads with social media is like hanging out with the same group of friends from high school your entire life. Adding a bit of paid promotion is the only way to break through to the coveted friends of friends, or second degree connections, while targeting social users and growing your overall reach. Inbound alone is not your answer, it’s part of the equation for success.

If a lead falls into a funnel and no one is around…

What good is putting all of this into practice if you cannot track your success and determine if these leads are turning into customers? It’s not. Make sure you are using a platform such as marketing automation to track lead source. I prefer to track each channel individually so that I can tell which one if more effective. Then I break down the cost per lead and compare it to other sources.

In a nutshell

So there you have it. The truth around social media leads straight and to the point. The bottom line is that social needs to be integrated across your entire marketing strategy in order to be effective. It’s also not going to be free as it requires staff and a budget.

(social leads / shutterstock)