How I develop a lead generation campaign for social

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Maybe it’s just me, but it feels like everyone is talking about lead generation—how to drum up qualified prospects, drive them to a website and convert them into customers. While I initially categorized this activity as like pure sales, with no connection to public relations, further consideration led me to two conclusions:

  • Storytelling (one of our core capabilities at Hodges) is one of the most effective tools for getting a prospect’s attention and drive them to a business’ website.
  • Social networks have a tremendous amount of user demographic information. I can’t think of another readily accessible tool that is better suited for identifying targeted audiences who have expressed interest in category or subject.

Then, I started thinking about one of the biggest challenges our clients and prospective clients face when considering Hodges’ social capabilities. Up until about 9 months ago, we had trouble quantifying the ROI for businesses maintaining a social presence. Most times, we’d say it’s a marketing expense, somewhere you need to be because it’s what your customers expect. The prospect of integrating lead generation into a broader social marketing strategy would allow Hodges to track a user’s interactions with a brand from the social platform, to that business’ website and finally to conversion (exchange of contact information or a purchase), thus placing a value on social media activities.

So, in Hodges fashion, we thought it might be helpful to share how our agency approaches lead generation by sharing the 4 steps you’ll need to take in order to get started.

  1. Develop an offer. This can be information, (e.g., a white paper on an area of expertise), a service (free consultation) or even a discount for your services. Spend time exploring the details of your offer so that it makes financial sense for your business and is compelling to the audience you want to reach.
  2. Create a unique destination for your users to land. After you’ve solidified the details of your offer, explain the high points on a visually attractive yet simple page on your website. In addition to describing the offer, your landing page should allow people to sign up for said offer and connect to other relevant information on your website.
  3. Announce this offer on each of your social profiles in the form of a status update. Your announcement should tease one fact from your white paper (or a benefit of the consultation). Also, when you link people to the offer, make sure to create a unique URL for each post (on each platform), so that you can track which activities are driving the most traffic and conversions. Google has a URL builder which will help ensure you include all the necessary pieces.
  4. Set up Google Analytics for your website and track referrals from each platform and post using your custom URLs. The Acquisition tab lets you can see which platform is driving the most traffic, and how those people are interacting with your website. Use this information to develop new offers and hone targeting for future paid advertising efforts.

While social is a great mechanism to share meaningful content and build community, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Because of the rich demographic information contained on each of these platforms, they can also act as targeted advertising tools that businesses can use to push existing fans and niche prospects to content that matches up with their likes and interests. Next week, we’ll continue the conversation by talking about how you can create sponsored updates to promote your offer to targeted audiences and fill your sales pipeline.

And for those who are already engaged in lead generation campaigns, please feel free to share lessons learned and other tips in the comment section of this post. 

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