Connecting Social to Lead Generation

I spoke at Dreamforce this year in San Francisco. If you heard anything about it, you know that is was all about the social enterprise. My session fit right in with the theme as it covered social lead generation. Companies have been using social media for brand awareness, and even customer service for a while now. While lead generation is a standard business goal, social strategists are still figuring out how to incorporate it into their social efforts. That said, lead generation is a natural (and attainable) goal in social, even for B2B companies like ourselves.

 Paid, Owned, and Earned (Social) Media

 We talk about the paid, owned, and earned mix in social a lot. It is especially important when it comes to social lead gen. If you post a link to a landing page in your tweet and people can go to the landing page and ultimately convert, this is your owned media. This is great if you have a large audience, but if you only have 100 followers, your message may not get very far.

That’s when paid media comes in. You can pay on both Twitter and Facebook to promote your brand and gain fans and followers to expand your network. Facebook and Linkedin let you set up “right rail ads” for a more traditional type of advertising. Another way you can promote your brand is through great content. Facebook announced that only 16% of your fans see your posts in their newsfeed. Facebook and Twitter allow you to promote your already existing content to get more eyeballs. The important thing to remember here is you are promoting your content. The content itself needs to be good, or your paid promotion won’t get you the clicks you expect.

Earned media in social is pretty straight forward, but still important. Great content gets picked up by news publications and bloggers, earning you impressions from their audience, and all you did was write good content. You also benefit from earned media in your own network. When your followers retweet you, their followers are now exposed to your content. You wouldn’ have reached this audience otherwise.

Don’t forget about to think about other metrics like clicks, comments, likes, etc. as a form of conversion. While they are a little less traditional when thinking of conversion, they are still part of the top of the lead generation funnel. They may not be ready to convert yet but next time they see your content they may.

 Connecting the dots to business systems

You hear people say that you can”™t prove an ROI on social. The reality is, these people haven”™t set up their backend systems to show results yet. You have to connect social activity to your business systems.  This chart shows the journey our leads take.

                                                                    Journey of a single social lead

You can see first the content posts through our platform.  The link is tagged so we can track traffic through Google Analytics. The converted leads then flow into our marketing automation tool, Marketo. The leads are scored and if they meet a certain threshold they will flow into campaigns in Salesforce.com. They are put into campaigns so our inside sales guys can follow up appropriately. Any social data we can gather we capture in SFDC to give us a more complete view of the entire sales process. Our product also integrates with SFDC and pulls important social data into the contact record.

Because we set this up, we can actually tie a tweet to our end business goal, which is a closed won opportunity in SFDC. It”™s important to figure out what that goal is in your company and work backwards to make sure your systems are set up to show success.

Metrics to track

We”™ve been doing social lead generation for about 8 months now and have seen great results. When you think about proving success, you need to consider the following funnel. Conversion is important, but so are actions and impressions.

                                                                   

                                                                         Who doesn”™t love a sales funnel!?

Impressions

As I said earlier, impressions are the brand awareness part of the social lead gen equation. Higher impressions yield more opportunity for conversions. We focused on growing our networks (paid and organic) in order to boost social impressions. We saw 265% growth of fans on Facebook and 169% growth on Twitter from these efforts.

Actions

This can include any kind of engagement metric like comment, reply, click, like, etc. Clicks are the most important metric here. In our recent Benchmark report, we found that clicks were the lion”™s share of our customer”™s engagement on social channels. Clicks are the gateway to conversion so link back to a landing page or website often.

Conversion

The ultimate goal is, of course, conversion. For us that requires getting a lead to fill out a form and download a whitepaper. We”™ve seen 2.5% of our net new leads come from social in the last 8 months. These are leads we wouldn”™t have seen without our social lead gen efforts. It”™s also important to know which channel(s) work for your company. 70% of these leads came from LinkedIn, a great channel for us from a B2B standpoint.

While this is a fairly new social effort for us, we”™re excited to see how it will grow. Does anyone else have any social lead gen success stories to share?

For the full presentation, check out our Slideshare site.

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