Just how effective is social media actually as a lead generation and selling tool? This is the question grounding a new survey conducted by Social Media Today and Survey Monkey titled, the ‘2019 State of Social Lead Generation.’
Responses from 320 marketers were gathered and took a hard look at which types of platforms and content formats are most effective, what the future for lead gen holds, and much more. Here are some highlights of the report:
Don’t shirk on setting a defined procedure for maximizing efforts
According to the survey, 64 percent of respondents claim they do have a lead gen plan in place. Alternatively, 30 percent reported that they did not have a set strategy, which is interesting when recalling that the study also showed about the same number of individuals (30%) were dissatisfied with the volume of leads they’re generating.
Bearing this in mind, it’s more than safe to assume you need a north star to help map your efforts and establish a process flow that can be iterated over time. Otherwise, the time and effort put into your content won’t translate into email sign-ups, queries, and ultimately sales.
To simplify the process, let’s break down the core elements you need to consider as you hone your approach:
- Offers: Consider ways to weave in discounts, white papers, reports, and online events into your messaging to raise the stakes and cut through the noise beyond likes, comments, and shares.
- CTAs: As marketers, one of the most invaluable insights we can leverage is the fact that if we don’t ask our audiences to take action, they simply won’t. Incorporating CTAs in your social posts will take the audience further in the funnel that turns into a more direct connection.
- Follow-up messaging: Once someone has taken an action such as signing up for your newsletter assume a more personal approach to your messaging to sustain the connection and learn more about them.
Facebook is the best social platform for lead gen
More than 80 percent of individuals surveyed shared that Facebook was best for generating leads. LinkedIn ranked second (48%), followed closely by Instagram (43%), Twitter (15%), Pinterest (9%), Other (5%), and Snapchat (4%).
Stats aside, the key takeaway to pocket is that not all social networks are created equal. Depending on your business and where the prospects you personally need to connect with are interacting will give you the best insights for choosing the right platform that aligns with your goals. It’s all relative.
While Facebook is the powerhouse for tools and options for driving leads, LinkedIn has more direct appeal to B2B audiences.
Focus on image and video when crafting your content
In terms of content, and what specific types of social posts are better for lead generation, those surveyed indicated that images and video are the best bets.
They were ranked head-to-head with still image being ranked one percentage point higher compared to video (41% vs. 40%). Stories came in at 12 percent which, considering its nascency, is fairly high and worthy of keeping a finger on as it continues to gain traction.
Outside of the social sphere, blog posts took the top spot (40%) followed, unsurprisingly, by video (38%), original research/studies (25%), infographics (19%), other (16%), webinars (14%), and direct messaging plug-in (11%).
There is no one size fits all approach. While these content options are driving more leads and should be considered as you begin your planning, you always want to be tuned into your audience to ascertain fit.
More than 43 percent don’t feel their current marketing plans are aligned with optimal lead gen and 23 percent remain unsure. One reason for these figures outlined in the report point to an overemphasis on a social presence versus the overall marketing funnel. This makes sense given 53 percent chose social media as the primary platform that would be responsible for the most leads for their business, ahead of direct messaging (19%) and email marketing (17%), and traditional marketing (1%).
Another reason described is a general lack of an accurate and clear understanding of how online performance is traced back to the business’ broader strategic focus. A possible solution? Automation. Seventy-percent claimed they would consider automating aspects of their social media marketing to boost efficiency and 73 percent feel that automation tools, at some stage, will have an impact on the way their business generate leads.
Bottom line: most marketers are seeing subpar lead gen results, but they’re optimistic about the opportunities that lie ahead presuming they can strike the best balance.
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