Posts

Building an Engaged Social Media Community to Boost Lead Generation

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)

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?

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.

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.

Will Social Media Replace Telemarketing-

Will Social Media Replace Telemarketing?

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.