Social media is a fantastic tool for generating leads and can be a great complement to a strong email marketing presence. Strategist Annetta Powell recently wrote an article on identifying best practices for generating leads through social media. Powell wrote, “In social media marketing, businesses try to send messages about their products to people and encourage them to share it with other people in their social circle. This way the message of the company is sent to a larger network of people on its own without the company having to do anything.”

“The driving force behind a social media marketing campaign is one customer’s recommendation to the other through word-of-mouth,” continued Powell, “This is the reason why the traffic coming to your website due to social media marketing is called earned traffic rather being called paid traffic.”

Powell separated social media into three different categories, each of which have different lead generating strategies:

  1. Social Networks
  2. Microblogging
  3. Media Sharing

1. Social Networks

Powell described social networks as, “websites that allow people having similar interests or backgrounds to connect with each other and share photos, videos and other content. These networks are ideal for social media marketing campaigns as they provide the perfect space for the companies to interact with their targeted audiences.” Platforms such as a Facebook and Google+ would be prime examples of a social network. To generate leads on a social network, Powell suggests using content marketing to produce valuable content that viewers want to read, engage with and share. Each share acts as a free marketing service, allowing your marketing efforts to grow exponentially.

2. Microblogging

Microblogging sites are, “services that offer people the chance to share short and concise messages or updates with their followers. These websites are also vital for a social media marketing campaign as they offer you a chance to share news snippets about your new products and releases with your fans very quickly and easily.” Microblogging sites are a great way to increase your reach to find new leads interested in keeping up to date on news and trends about your business. The most popular microblogging site is Twitter.

3. Media Sharing

Media sharing social media sites focus primarily on sharing videos or pictures. Instagram and YouTube are the most popular examples of this format. Leads can be generated through media sharing channels by displaying video demos on YouTube, product illustrations on Instagram or any number of devices. Finding innovative ways to use these channels, like video blogging, is the best way to increase subscribers and get the biggest return on your investment.

Finally, social media is also starting to affect a company’s overall search rankings, which can have a big impact on lead generation. Powell explained, “Moreover, the search engines that are the main source of increasing traffic coming to a website have also started giving attention to social signals and rank those websites more highly that have a good social media presence. Effective social media marketing campaigns can get your website rank higher on the search engines and thus increase your lead generation.” You can learn more about social signals and search engine optimization in this guide from SEOMoz.

What are you doing to generate leads through social media?

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