Social media can serve many business purposes ranging from public relations to customer service to community building. For B2B marketers lead generation should be at the top of the list.

BtoB Magazine found that 59% view lead generation as their greatest online marketing challenge. To meet that goal, marketers are exploring new channels in 2012, particularly social media.

Social media as a lead generation channel can help drive revenue and be a sales enablement tool for your sales team to educate perspective customers during the sales cycle.

These are the 5 simple steps to set yourself up for success to start driving leads from social media:

1. Set goals and establish baseline

First you need to understand the business mechanics of managing a social media program. Start with the bottom line and make your way back to get to your goals. Be sure to also understand the KPI's you'll be measuring to indicate if you're on the right track.

Establish baseline and validate goals

 

2. Define the buyer profile

Clearly define your buyer persona – fictitious characters that reflect various user types within your target demographic- to effectively reach new and existing customers though social media. Defining a buyer persona helps you accurately identify your target customer, to understand how users are actually searching for your business online, and to ultimately drive higher conversion. Here is a helpful guide to help you identify your buyer persona.

3. Plan, set up and execute campaigns

Once you have found your on target leads the next step is to design relevant offers, set up campaigns and execute. Social media campaigns are typically more frequent and shorter than campaigns running on other channels which gives you the opportunity to run several campaigns simultaneously and quickly make changes to optimize.

4. Deliver on-target leads to sales

Delivering lead to the sales team is probably the most important process since a B2B marketer's main job is to generate leads. There are four methods to deliver leads to sales:

  • Lead score – setting up a lead score built on indicators that sum up to a score threshold at which leads are transferred to your sales team
  • Lead qualifiers – using human touch to qualify leads with a defined checklist process that is used to determine if a lead is ready or not
  • Self qualifying – use form questions and offers that leads can use to self-qualify and identify themselves as sales-ready
  • Self-serve process – build your online purchase process as a complete self-serve process. This basically eliminates the need for a sales team in the purchase process and puts all the burden of new-business revenue on you

5. Measure, report, refine and start over

The fifth step completes the B2B marketing loop which is to measure your KPI's, report on your success, and refine your campaigns to improve performance for the next campaign.

Drive Leads from Social Media Plan

 

Social media can be used for many things. Generating leads with social media is one way for marketers to directly contribute to their company’s revenue goals.