Using Social Media to Generate Leads

social mediaSocial media platforms offer many exciting opportunities for lead-generation marketers. However, it’s important to differentiate between social media advertising and social media marketing.

Social media marketing involves placing regular content (company announcements, special offers, etc.) on a company’s Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. page. Social media marketing is essentially an arm of brand awareness. The objective is to create a community around a brand, but that process rarely results in any actionable leads.

Social media advertising (or social advertising), involves placing Pay-Per-Click banner ads on Facebook, MySpace, or LinkedIn. The platform then serves these ads to people who list certain information within their social media profiles (i.e. a tennis ad will appear on the Facebook or MySpace pages of people who list tennis as a hobby). Social advertising differs from social media marketing in that its focus is lead generation.

These ads can deliver great performance, because social media platforms contain a wealth of demographic and psychographic information provided directly by the users. Since this information is self-reported, it’s probably more accurate than if obtained from another source. You can use this information to target your ads, and ensure that your offer is reaching the audience most likely to make a purchase.

There are several steps to any successful social advertising campaign. First, you need to define your target audience. Again, you can use the abundance of demographic information found on social media sites to expedite this process.

After you define your audience, the next step is creating the actual ad. Each social media platform has its own parameters; you just need to make sure your ad complies. Once your ad is loaded into the platform, you next need to configure the campaign details. This includes bidding on ad space, setting a campaign budget, and scheduling the deployment of your ads.

Like every other lead generation tactic, testing is very important in social advertising. You can test ads in several different ways. Test messages against one another, vary deployment times, and target different demographics until you find the criteria that work best for your offer.

Learn about other lead generation techniques: Search Engine Marketing, Display Advertising, Email Marketing, Direct Mail, Cold Calling, Trade Shows
The New Rules of Lead Generation By David T. Scott

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