Marketing Guides

Chapter 5: Generating Leads with Social Media

Not long ago, many B2B marketers viewed social media as useless for their companies. It was seen as a platform that only truly helped B2C businesses.

Today, that’s no longer the case. Most B2B marketers use social media as part of their strategies and know that it’s a useful tool for driving qualified traffic to their sites.

Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are three of the most effective social media networks to do that.

Facebook

Facebook has the largest active user base of any social media platform, so you’re almost guaranteed to have an audience there.

Plus, 43% of B2B marketers have acquired customers through Facebook – so there are plenty of people to vouch for its effectiveness as a lead generation tool.

You should primarily use the platform to share informative content, post company updates, and engage your audience. After all, social media is supposed to be less formal than other marketing channels, which makes it great for building relationships with your current and potential customers.

But when it comes to lead generation, Facebook’s main benefit is its advanced ad targeting options. Facebook has a PPC option, just like Google. You can run ads on it to earn likes on your page or posts, but you can also drive traffic to your site to get conversions.

These ads operate on a PPC model, but unlike search engine PPC platforms, you select your audience based on individual characteristics. These characteristics range from basic demographic information like age, gender, and location, to highly targeted details like:

  • Interests
  • Career
  • Pages they’ve liked

You can also create “custom audiences” by uploading your email lists to Facebook and allowing it to match those email addresses with users’ accounts. Then, you can run ads to reach the leads who’ve already signed up for your email newsletter or provided their email address as part of another conversion.

All of these targeting options make it possible to focus your advertising budget on exactly who you want to reach. So even though they aren’t actively searching for information like search engine users, you can show your ads to the people who are interested.

LinkedIn

Considering that LinkedIn is the only social media platform designed specifically for professionals, it should come as no surprise that 62% of B2B marketers say it’s the most effective social media platform for their business.

You can use it to share company news and write blog posts that position you as a thought leader in your industry – but for our purposes, we’ll focus on their advertising options.

The most popular types of ads are “Sponsored Updates,” which allow you to reach users based on career-specific information like:

  • Industry
  • Company name
  • Job title
  • Skills

This is extremely valuable if want to target key decision-makers at specific companies. Instead of spending your advertising budget on lower-level employees who are unlikely to have a say in whether they work with you, you focus on reaching the people who can take action after seeing your ad.

Twitter

Twitter is a useful platform for sharing information from both your own site and other industry blogs.

You can use it to share all of the new content you publish, and in some cases, this is enough to send visitors to your site for the first time and get them interested in your products.

But much like Facebook and LinkedIn, Twitter is most effective for lead generation when used to run paid advertisements. These advertisements appear as promoted tweets in users’ timelines, just like regular tweets.

The unique advantage of Twitter is that you can target users based on their own previous tweets. So if you offer accounting software, for example, you could target your ads specifically to users who have tweeted about “accounting” or have “accountant” in their bio.

Plus, you can search for words and phrases you’re considering and see all of the previous tweets that include them to get a sense of how they’re being discussed. When you write your ads in a similar style and tone to how your target audience discusses a topic, you increase the chances that they’ll be interested enough to click on your ad.

Generating Leads with PPC                Nurturing Leads with Email