For B2B firms, social media platforms are essential tools for brands and businesses to reach out to build their audiences, generate leads, and develop customer relationships. But learning how to generate leads on social media isn't always easy, especially in niche industries like commercial real estate.
Generating leads through social media takes a lot of hard work, creativity, and dedication, especially if you're using organic methods of lead generation (we'll explain what we mean by "organic" in the next section).
We’re going to look at some common practices for using social media to generate leads. From optimizing your profile and content strategy to leveraging influencers and more, this guide covers what you need to know to get started with social media as one way to generate leads.
What is Organic Social Media?
In the intro to this article, we mentioned generating leads through social media through organic methods. Put simply, organic social media methods use nonpaid content to naturally build an audience. Organic strategies don't pay to play. They use keywords, images, compelling content, and other non-paid methods.
Paid social media is using platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to boost your content. These platforms offer a variety of paid advertisement services, but that goes beyond the scope of this article. We'll post links at the end of this article to find out more about paying to play on social media sites.
Examples of organic social media content:
Sharing a post on Facebook about a new product or service
Asking a question on Twitter like, "What is your biggest challenge when it comes to..."
Publishing a how-to video on YouTube
Sharing an article on LinkedIn that you found educational (whether you wrote it or not)
In all of the examples, you're sharing content for free, asking nothing in return. Social media organic content is helpful, educational, thought-provoking, and sometimes just plain entertaining.
The Benefits of Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing can be a great way to generate leads for your business. Here are some of the benefits of social media marketing:
Reach a wider audience: Social media platforms allow you to reach a wider audience than other marketing channels.
Cost-effective: Social media marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies.
Targeted advertising: You can target your social media content to specific audiences (using keywords and groups, for example), which helps to improve your conversion rate.
Build relationships: Social media gives you the opportunity to create a sense of community online with potential and current customers, as well as brand ambassadors and influencers.
Increase brand awareness: Speaking of branding, a strong social media presence can help to increase awareness about your brand and create a more positive brand image.
7 Different Social Media Platforms
When it comes to social media platforms, there are a plethora of choices. It can be hard to decide which one is right for your business. Here is a breakdown of the different types of social media platforms and what they can do for your business:
Facebook – With about 2.9 billion* monthly active users (MAU), Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world. It’s a great platform for building brand awareness and creating a community around your product or service.
Largest age group: 31.5% are ages 25 to 34
Average time spent per day, per person: 33 minutes
Twitter – Twitter is known for its real-time newsfeed and microblogging format with about 436 million MAU. It’s a great platform for staying up-to-date on industry news and connecting with potential customers and influencers.
Largest age group: 42% are ages 18 to 29
Average time: 31 minutes per day
LinkedIn – LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 810 million MAU worldwide. It’s a great platform for networking, recruiting, and thought leadership.
Largest age group: more than half (58%) are ages 25 to 34
Average time: Daily use numbers not available
Instagram – Instagram is a visual social media platform with over 1.47 billion MAU. It’s a great platform for showcasing your products or services, behind-the-scenes content, and company culture.
Largest age groups: 31% are ages 25 to 34, 31% are ages 18 to 24
Average time: 29 minutes a day
Pinterest – Pinterest is also a highly visual social media platform with 431 MAU. Of all platforms listed here, it is used most by women who use Pinterest for shopping, recipes, design and product information.
Largest age group: 38% are age 50 to 64
Average time: 14 minutes
Snapchat – Snapchat is a mobile messaging app with over 557 million MAU. It’s a great platform for sharing quick updates, stories, and videos with your audience in an informal way.
Largest age group: 48% are age 15 to 25
Average time: 25 minutes
YouTube – YouTube is the leading platform for video content, with more than 2 billion MAU. With the addition of YT's streaming services, the opportunities for paid advertising have increased. It's also got one of the more loyal audiences among social media platforms; SproutSocial reports that 62% of YouTube's users log in every day.
Largest age group: 15 to 35
Average time: 30 minutes
When you consider which social media channel to share your content, don't dismiss one over another simply because the largest age group, for example, doesn't match up with yours. Remember that influencers and consumers come in all shapes, ages, sizes and demographics. So, if a site reports that 48% of its 557 million users are between the ages of 25 to 34, and your audience skews older, that doesn't rule this platform out! Even if only 10% of their users are in your age group, that's 55.7 million people.
Best Social Media Platforms for Lead Generation
When you think about lead generation through social media, keep in mind that when you generate leads through social media, you're building that social media platform's audience, not your own. Your goal should be to initially connect with the users on social media and then get them into your lead pipeline.
LinkedIn is the best social media platform for generating B2B leads. People join the platform expecting to build their networks.
Twitter is the best platform for social listening through the use of hashtags. By following hashtags, you can learn what your target audience is talking about.
Facebook is the best social media for B2C content, but some B2B organizations are finding it beneficial for building brand awareness.
YouTube is the best social media network for video content, both B2C and B2B. It's the first place people go when they want to learn how to do something, and it is a powerful way to answer "About Us" questions.
How do you use these platforms to generate leads? That's what we cover in the next section.
Tips for Generating Leads on Social Media
There are a number of ways to generate leads on social media. Here are a few tactics that B2B companies use to capture leads from their social channels:
Use social media platforms to create informative and shareable content. This will help attract attention from potential customers and get them interested in your product or service. Always include a CTA (call to action) to your website, where the users can learn more information
Engage with potential customers on social media platforms, such as responding to comments or questions. This will help create a connection and build trust, especially if someone leaves a negative comment.
Use social media analytics to track your progress and see what’s working well so you can adjust your strategy accordingly.
Use gated content on your website and promote it on your social channels. Click through to a landing page, where the user provides email addresses in exchange for downloading an ebook, template or other valuable content.
Hold a virtual event, such as a 30-minute Facebook Live event where guests can "ask me anything," or you present a free webinar where sign-up is required.
Use lead magnets to attract prospects to your social media channels and filter them through to your lead pipeline. An example might be gated content (see #4) or a special offer, coupon, or discount code.
Social listening on forums like Quora can be an excellent way to generate leads. This is a time-consuming task, as you'll need to cull through thousands of conversations to find relevant ones to your topic.
With all of your social media lead generation strategies, we recommend that you map out a clear path to conversion.
Paid Social Media Links
As we said at the start of this article, paid social media strategy falls outside the scope of our topic. For more information on purchasing advertising on the various social media platforms, here is a list of links:
Be sure to dig a little into the audience demographics for each platform. Some, such as Snapchat, are geared toward young people. If you're a leasing agent looking to rent urban apartments near a university campus, for example, Snapchat could be a good platform. However, if you're a developer looking to connect with life sciences companies, you might try LinkedIn.
A better option to paid social media...
Biscred's online platform for connecting businesses in commercial real estate puts you in direct contact with the right people. For example, a business that's looking to connect with property developers or managers in healthcare, science, and research would conduct a criteria search for CRE businesses with expertise in life science-type assets:
The advantage of using a tool like Biscred instead of paid social media is that you are directly connected with the business. With paid social, you're publishing an advertisement that's targeted to your audience, and you hope to catch their attention with it. It's not a bad strategy -- after all, display advertising has been used on TV, billboards and print for decades. But with a targeted strategy using Biscred, you're in touch with the right people at the right place and time.