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Building an Engaged Social Media Community to Boost Lead Generation

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Building an Engaged Social Media Community to Boost Lead Generation

Some business marketers opt to buy their audience instead of growing them from the ground up. While both methods have relatively similar results in terms of numbers, the latter is more inclined towards engagement – that is, growing a community that genuinely supports your brand image not because they have to but because they want to.

It’s more rewarding to see people respond to and share your content, and in turn increasing your odds at generating high-quality leads. To achieve this, you should know where to get your “seeds” and plant them in the right places:

Start with familiar people

The good thing about today’s social media is that it gives you the functionality to search for people you know by connecting your address book or other social networking platforms. Tapping these personal and professional relationships can give you a good kick-start.

Let them know you’re “in” – use official badges

The top social networking sites, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn, all have official follow buttons/badges provided for its users. Using these items lets new visitors know that you’re in the social media loop and it will enhance the chances of connection and sharing. It also gives them the convenience of logging in to your site using their social media accounts so they don’t have to fill out empty fields.

Make your business signature more “socialized”

In the olden days, signatures only bore the name, contact details, email address, job position and name of company. But this is the age of social media. Your signature should also include social media accounts (use buttons for a neater look) and while you’re at it, throw in your blog site link.

Get the team involved

Chances are your colleagues and other team members have social media profiles of their own, and they have no problem disclosing their affiliation with your company. Why not ask them to link back to your site pages or blog posts? Better yet, get them all on LinkedIn so the impact is multiplied.

Respond to your audience

The goal is to maintain presence on social media as much as possible, but you’ve got to have reason each time you appear. It could be that you’re posting a daily blog item, or you’re giving shout-outs and updates. Another good reason is when you’re responding to their queries and reactions. Each time your reply comes up, other people would see your account and link back to other posts and site pages.

Create social media-friendly content

Not all content are suitable for social media. There has to be an element of being viral, thought-provoking and visually appealing. Most people are drawn into fan pages and communities because of content, above anything else.

8 Bogus Social Media tips to ditch (for good riddance)

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8 Bogus Social Media tips to ditch (for good riddance)

Everyone claims to be a social media “expert” – if there is such a thing. They like to dish out advice based on unproven theories, limited experiences, and sometimes pure hunches. Not only that these advices get you nowhere, they also make you look like a fool in everyone’s eyes.

An easier task would be to debunk those tips that really don’t have any bearing on one’s social media marketing efforts. Easier, because the burden of proof is on the shoulders of these wanna-be experts, and the absence thereof means they have to be dumped in the trash bin.

So if you have these notions in your social media belief system, perhaps it’s time to take out the garbage:

Bad tip #1: You need to be omnipresentIf your audience isn’t there, what’s the point? Imagine how much energy you can save if you choose which social networking sites you need to be on, instead of being active in all of them. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are a given. If you want to expand, study the ROI.

Bad tip #2: It’s okay to automate all your posts – For blog articles, it’s fine. But for updates, comments, and conversations? It’s a no-no to let a robot determine the timing of your posts. Genuine interactions require a living person to initiate or respond.

Bad tip #3: You don’t need email – Email is like Elvis. It remains, to this day, the single most successful act in music history. And despite the mania caused by the arrival of The Beatles (social media), Elvis (email) never flinched. That is why for most people, Elvis (email) is still the best.

Bad tip #4: B2B prospects are not on Facebook – If this were true, vendors would not have reported that Facebook, and any other social networking sites for that matter, were the source of majority of their online-acquired leads in the last 3 years. Business prospects like to socialize online, too.

Bad tip #5: You should ignore negative comments – The operative word is “ignore”, which makes all the difference. You can defend your brand’s name in the most good-natured way possible, but to ignore comments altogether is a different story. Don’t let people think you don’t care enough about what people say.

Bad tip #6:Don’t bother measuring social media marketing – Contrary to popular belief, it can be measured. But because of its being dynamic, there’s no industry standard for measuring ROI. That means – you guessed it – you can measure it in your own rational terms.

Bad tip #7: You should post X number of updates today – What is the basis of assigning a fixed frequency of posts? Response rates? Visibility? If you have a logical basis for the number, then use it. Otherwise, don’t pressure yourself.

Bad tip #8: Social media needs no strategy – Just because social media is unpredictable doesn’t mean a strategy is not practical. There are other aspects of social media marketing that don’t live by spontaneity.

Is it time for your Marketing strategy to “check-in” on Foursquare?

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Is it time for your Marketing strategy to “check-in” on Foursquare

Here’s a great story: On October 22, 2010, when astronaut Douglas Wheelock arrived at the International Space Station 230 miles outside of Earth, he made history. No, he didn’t take pictures of aliens, nor did he stop an asteroid from hitting our planet. So what did he do?

He checked-in to Foursquare.

From outer space.

Yep. After that he was given the first and only “NASA Explorer” badge by the app, and from then on NASA became more active in Foursquare-dom. The implication is simple: Foursquare is getting more universal. You know, like the universe. Universal. Get it?

That story alone should leave you at least convinced to entertain the idea that Foursquare should be part of your marketing strategy. Its biggest growth was in the last 2 years, wherein it quickly jumped to more than 30 million active users. With over 3.5 billion check-ins since its inception in 2009, it’s slowly becoming the ultimate geo-social tool. Are you ready to inform the Mayor that you’re coming to town?

Here are the reasons why marketers need to befriend Foursquare:

  • Social word of mouth. Imagine if Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga all checked-in at your business site and makes sure everyone in cyberspace knows about it. That’s 122 million people immediately getting that information, and that’s only on Twitter. There’s still Facebook, Instagram, and so on – ah, you get the point. That’s the power of social media.
  • You’re probably there already. Before you even think of getting on board, you might want to check if you’re already on everyone’s maps. In Foursquare, locations are created by people themselves, so your “physical” existence is a perfect jump board to start your campaign.
  • Trends. Just like Twitter, Foursquare also manages trends, and this becomes a convenience for people who actually use “trending” lists to decide which places and brands they want to patronize. Marketers prey on that information.
  • Instant demographic. As a by-product, marketers are conveniently provided with useful data at their disposal: frequency, day and time of check-ins, first time visitors, top visitors, feedback, and competition. This could help in identifying, predicting and controlling behavior patterns.
  • Everything “follows”. Not only that you have data at hand, you also who the actual supporters of your company or brand are. You can “follow” your visitors and “follow-up” with promos and updates. This can also facilitate in getting feedback and participation from them, which is a great source of constructive input.
  • Contests and loyalty rewards. Now that you know the people who have been keeping your company alive, why not spice things up with contests and perks? Give them more reasons to patronize your brand, and they’ll willingly heighten the buzz for you.

After 5 Years, Email and Search still Beat Social Media, and You Better Believe It

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After 5 years, Email and Search still beat Social Media, and you better believe it

Here’s a piece of information that social media worshipers may not like: boosting emails and improving SEO can lead to better customers compared to “likes” and “tweets”.

It’s been a relatively known fact – it’s just that people subjected it to speculation and dismissed by theories. But when credible numbers enter a conversation, all doubts might as well be put to rest once and for all.

Custora recently released a report coming off a study among US companies across 14 various industries. Their data is based on a total of 72 million clients who interacted with 86 companies from 2009 to 2013.

A central tool that they used in the study was a standard measure called Customer Lifetime Value or CLV, which pertains to the “dollar value” of a company’s relationship with a customer. This metric focuses more on long-term projections of cash flows and benefits instead of quarterly benefits. It also sets a limit on how much a company should spend to acquire a customer based on a projected CLV.

Here are some of the notable findings of their study:

  • After determining which of the clients involved are ranked as having a “high lifetime value”, it was found out that 54% of those customers were acquired through organic search, which makes it the most profitable channel amongst all strategies.
  • When they sought to rank each strategy based on the percentage of customers acquired (without considering the lifetime value), the victor still remains to be organic search, accounting for 16% of all customers, followed by pay-per-click at 9.8% and email at 6.8%.

Facebook and Twitter? Only 0.17% and 0.01%, respectively.

  • Twitter came out as the least beneficial channel, even in CLV, where it scored a dreadful 23% below average. Facebook had at least 1% above average, but it’s not something to be proud of, either.
  • Although organic search generated the largest numbers, the “most improved” award goes to email marketing, with a growth rate that has quadrupled since 2009. The trending strategy involves building online communities which require email addresses, and then painstakingly converting each of those members to customers via email.
  • Two other channels that were found to have rapid increase in success are affiliate referrals and banner advertisements. Both have scored better or at least equal to that of Facebook and Twitter.

 

Resources:

http://blog.custora.com/2013/06/e-commerce-customer-acquisition-snapshot/http://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2013/11170/email-and-search-deliver-more-customers-than-social-media

Facebook Fatigue: Why Marketers Should Not Be Frightened

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Facebook Fatigue: Why Marketers Should Not Be Frightened

If the report released by social media monitoring firm Social Bakers in Australia is of any indication, then we are about to see social media juggernaut Facebook reach the peak of its greatness. Next stage we will be seeing might be its decline. Even the figures are not good in North America and Europe, according to Professor Larry Neale, social media marketing expert at the Queensland University of Technology Business School. This raises questions for those of us in the lead generation business and the future of generating sales leads using the social media environment. But it is not as bad as you think it is.

To tell you the truth, social media is not the sole way to generate B2B leads from your market. And this might not actually be the best method at all. As far as B2B appointment setting is concerned, the results through Facebook and Twitter can be sketchy at best. We can attribute it to the very nature of social networks (interaction, engagement, trendy, youth-oriented). Considering that we are focus on B2B marketing, whose age range is mostly beyond the 18-34 segments, then investing in other communication tools would be best. For example, telemarketing and email still a viable and advisable means to contact business executives and managers.

So, should marketers be scared over this development? Not at all. This is just a reminder of how quick market trends change. For a B2B lead generation campaign to be successful, we, as marketers, should know when to push forward with new strategies, or fall back to tried and tested methods.

The Power Of Social Media (To Destroy Your Lead Generation Campaign)

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The Power Of Social Media (To Destroy Your Lead Generation Campaign)

This article comes right after the heels of this Mashable article on Taco Bell that has been circulating around the Internet since last Tuesday. I will skip the details, since it is too gross for me to write about it, but here is the undeniable fact: Taco Bell’s reputation is in the gutter – again. For a company that relies on social media to generate more sales from its customers, this is a problem that will not go away easily (but then again, Taco Bell sure had some history with that). It can be a real nightmare for a company’s lead generation campaign, and you ought to find some way to deal with it.

Frankly speaking, social media can be a really powerful appointment setting tool. It can reach a lot of people, engage the most prospects, and you can do it in a very affordable way. The problem here is that it is also the best medium to display even the stupidest act someone could make. And if that someone happens to do that in company property or whatever, well, you can imagine the huge backlash in the online community that will reverberate around the world. Your marketing team can pretty much kiss whatever B2B leads they were trying to generate goodbye.

You can say that this is a good lesson for your company’s marketing efforts. To avoid gaffes like these, it pays to educate your employees on what they can or cannot post, tweet, like, or share to the audience. And this is not just in social media. Be it on email, search engine optimization, telemarketing, or whatever marketing method you use, everyone in your company must put their best foot forward. If not, then you can expect big marketing fails as you go along. Believe me, it can happen.

Communicate Well And Start Generating Qualified B2B Leads

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Communicate Well And Start Generating Qualified B2B Leads

One of the nice things about our current business environment are the availability of ready information, both on the customer and the provider sides. With the explosion of social media and other information sites, information is right at your fingertips. While this can be a great help for your lead generation campaign, this can also act as a double-edged sword. Too much information can turn away potential B2B leads, but too little can also cause them to look for other sources. How will you achieve your B2B appointment setting aims, then? The key here would be context. You have to properly set up the expectations of your prospects.

Using shock tactics can be a good idea, but you must remember to keep things under control. By no means should you employ tactics that might offend them, put a stain on your image, or ruin your credibility. There are many ways to get the attention of your prospects. For example, you can use B2B telemarketing services. This can help you identify potential sales leads and help you be more effective in reaching out to them. Still, the main point here would be your communication skills. You need to know what to say, when to say it, and for whom your message is for. That will be the most crucial point that you should consider when planning your lead generation campaign.

It is all about you and your message. So, if you want to be effective in your B2B lead generation efforts, you might want to take a look at your sales pitch.

 

How Can Telemarketing Help Social Media Marketing?

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How Can Telemarketing Help Social Media Marketing?

 

The marketing landscape is constantly changing. What may seem to be a sure-fire marketing tactic may not be an appropriate method today. And the lead generation tools we scoff at in the past may be the latest aid we need for the modern market. Such is the case with social media. Nowadays, companies and marketers are touting this mediums ability to generate sales leads, as well as engage customers in meaningful conversations. But is that enough? Will social media be the answer all marketers are looking for? Can it replace the other marketing tools that are currently used today? Or will it be a marketing fad that will fade in time? There are just too many questions that has to be answered.

 

We must first understand what social media is all about. Social media is a marketing strategy that uses social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. The aim here is to increase the online presence of the company, encouraging more customer engagement and conversation. While this is very effective in increasing the awareness of the market, it is just that – increasing market awareness. Social media, for all the things it can do and achieve, is still not that effective in generating qualified B2B leads. Remember the Pepsi Refresh campaign? It is a major advertising campaign used by the company to hype up its social responsibility and presence to the market., and look at what it got the company into. From being second to Coke, Pepsi slid down to the third spot. What made it more painful was the new second place: Diet Coke. Considering the millions spent on this social marketing campaign, you can tell that this was a real sales disaster. This is certainly something that you do not wish to happen.

 

In order for social media marketing to effectively generate more sales leads, you need another marketing tool to assist. It can come in many forms, but it seems like the best methods are the most disruptive in nature. In other words, these are marketing methods that actively and aggressively get in touch with prospects and help you with the task. Among the most preferred methods employed would be telemarketing. Yes, you would probably be complaining that this is an old (if not a negative) means of engaging prospects to buy or sign up to our offer. But in terms of effectiveness, when paired with social media marketing, you will see better results in terms of appointment setting success.

 

What does it tell you about social media and lead generation? For one, it tells you that social media, as a marketing tactic, cannot bring sales leads on its own. You can spend a lot of money in your social media campaign, but just like the case with Pepsi, it might not be a bright idea. In order for it to be effective, you need to combine it with other marketing tools, like professional telemarketing services. Whether done in-house or through outsourcing, it will give you the right results.

 

Will Social Media Replace Telemarketing?

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Social media is the rage, there is no doubt about it. With the Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and pictures all catching the attention of a huge number of people, it does have a lot of potentials for a professional lead generation campaign. It is new, it attracts a lot of prospects, and it can certainly help you engage them in a conversation. Surely, this is the best way to attract more B2B leads. It could very well replace telemarketing, right? Well, some marketers might disagree. Before you start saying that those who beg to differ are relics of the past, we must first identify the reasons why social media could not replace telemarketers in generating qualified sales leads.

For one, social media is just that, social. It is merely a platform in which to engage prospects in a conversation, probably about things in common and interests. While it is good to talk to business prospects, the problem here is that some marketers are tempted to replace their entire campaign process with social media – which is a very bad move. Social media is meant to communicate with prospects. Other methods like telemarketing is meant to convert prospects into qualified sales leads. Believe it or not, calling people on the phone is a much needed medium for inside sales people.

Another point to consider are the required steps in qualifying business leads. Social media will help you find prospects, yes, but it is not that efficient in qualifying the prospects. Indeed, there will be some details that will not be clear through this medium. If you want to be sure that your prospects will indeed become viable leads, then you need to perform a more in-depth check on them. And you can only do that by talking directly to them. Even if you cannot do it in person, at least you can use the phone for the job. A skilled lead generation specialist will be able to wring out the true details when the call.

Of course, there is no reason to look at social media as below telemarketing. Indeed, both should be working side by side. You can only say so much on the phone without the prospect losing you. In case you need to say a few more details, social media services can provide that. You have to admit that these can be very powerful tools for inside sales. There are a lot of opportunities that can be found this way. And there are other tools available, like email and blogging. These can help you bring more customers to your business. Which will be all good for you.

Basically speaking, the aim here is to make talking to prospects easier to make. Sure, cold calling may have its detractors, but this is where social media can help. While talking to prospects in blog posts and tweets, you can create there an opportunity, an opening in which you can directly communicate with them on the phone. That will help you get the job done better.