49% of B2B marketers site social media marketing as the most difficult lead generation tactic to execute (source)
Well, it might be difficult for the ones not doing it correctly.
In this article, I’ll give you exact actionable steps you can take to super-charge your B2B social media strategy and generate B2B leads.
If you still think that social media is ineffective for B2B brands, here’s something that’ll change your mind.
About 87% of B2B companies today use social media as one of their lead generation tactics, and use six platforms on average.
You see, it’s not that obsolete nor difficult after all.
An increasing number of businesses have moved away from traditional marketing & adopted social media as a marketing medium.
In most cases, it’s usually the B2C segment that has made the most of it, but that’s rapidly changing now.
According to an industry report by Social Media Examiner, 66% of B2B marketers actually see lead generation benefits by spending as little as six hours per week.
At the end of the day, businesses are run by people and it’s about targeting them by choosing the right B2B social media platform.
The chart above (by Content Marketing Institute/Marketing Profs) states that Social Media is the most preferred B2B content marketing tactic.
I hope, by now, you're fully convinced by the power of social media in B2B lead generation.
Now it comes to evaluating your B2B social media strategy.
Think to yourself:
- “How does my business use social media?”
- “Am I getting any benefit from it apart from likes and comments?“
The reality is - no legitimate brand can thrive on these generic social media KPIs.
So what’s stopping you from using social media networks to attract new customers, engage them & generate traffic & leads.
I’ve purposely written this article in so much detail to provide you with in-depth content that’ll help you prep your business for success.
If you’ve been struggling to find a helpful resource that’ll give you a step-by-step guide, you’re finally in safe hands.
Not only will you learn social media lead generation, but also the ideology and execution behind it.
To help you understand the complete process of obtaining B2B leads from social media, I’ve divided this article into 4 parts:
- Objectives & KPIs for Social Media Lead Generation;
- Choosing the Right Social Media Platforms & Audience Targeting;
- Content Ideas & What to Post; and
- Sample Ads & Real-life Examples: Facebook & LinkedIn;
1) Objectives & KPIs for Social Media Lead Generation;
As is the case with anything related to business, you shouldn’t kick-start any activity without a goal.
Although it’s pretty clear that LEAD GENERATION is the goal here, you need to get clarity on questions such as:
- How many leads would you want to generate?
- In how much time?
- Who is your ideal lead?
- What kind of content would attract that lead?
- How much are you willing to spend on lead generation?
- Does this social media lead generation activity compare with previous activities?
Apart from the above-stated objectives, you should also be measuring certain KPIs month by month to monitor growth and optimize your advertising budgets.
In case you’re a little perplexed about what you should be measuring, here’s some inspiration to set social media KPIs.
Bonus Tip: Make sure to watch out for other metrics such as conversion rates, average cost per lead, relevance score etc. to get an overall view of your social media advertising efforts.
In other words, keep a track of SMART goals to turn your social media platforms into a lead-generating beast that grows every month.
Once you assign goals based on the SMART framework, you’ll notice easier reporting & optimization for every campaign in the future.
2) Choosing the Right Social Media Platforms & Audience Targeting;
This is probably the most crucial part of social media lead generation. If you choose the wrong channels and display ads to an ill-defined target audience, the only things you’re generating are losses.
There are 2 aspects to this step.
- Choosing the right social media platforms (read the complete article here); and
- Audience Targeting:
To run ads that provide the best conversion rates, you must know your target audience inside-out.
Look, I know this may be a tiresome task and you’ll feel the urge to ignore this step, but remember – if you want something you’ve never had, you need to do something you’ve never done.
I’m referring to creating buyer personas – fictional representation of your target audience.
By doing this, you’re putting yourself in their shoes and reverse-engineering the ad creation process.
Your in-depth knowledge about your target market will set you apart from your competitors who are also running lead generation ads simultaneously. The basic details you should cover are:
- Their job profiles;
- Pain points & potential solutions;
Let’s say, for example, your target market are CEOs, then your buyer persona might look something like this.
Once this is ready, it’s time to take advantage of granular targeting options provided by Facebook & Linkedin (for lead generation ads)
Take a look at Facebook’s Ads Manager.
Look at how it gives you options to target people based on job titles. If your target audience is rightly chosen, half of the battle is won.
Here’s a screenshot of LinkedIn's Campaign Manager:
Notice how well you can segment a corporate social media platform like LinkedIn to generate leads.
Obviously, your messaging needs to resonate with them, otherwise your ads will just be a pretty piece of conversion-less design.
Are you mentally comparing the effectiveness of Facebook vs LinkedIn for lead generation? I’ll vouch for the latter because more than 80% of B2B leads generated via social networks come from LinkedIn. (source)
Bonus Tip: A recent study by Weber Shandwick stated that LinkedIn was the top social media choice for CEOs. Another report by Domo and CEO.com found that among the Fortune 500 CEOs who only have one social media profile, 74 percent are on LinkedIn.
Understanding & defining your audience is a continuous & evergreen process.
That, combined with the changes in social media consumption, trends and business seasons can make it a challenging task.
That’s why you should ideally hire a social media agency to execute social media campaigns, because if you get your hands dirty, you’ll deplete your budget too.
3) Content Ideas & What to Post:
You’ll need to put some hard work & creativity to win the trust of potential customers.
So, create content that resonates with your target audience so that they feel comfortable (and tempted) to submit their details to you.
I won’t stretch this point too long, because I’ve already written a complete article on content ideas for B2B Social Media.
I’m not done yet, so make sure you come back here in case your attention span takes you somewhere else for content inspiration.
The better your content is, the higher your conversion rates will be.
So make sure to place utmost emphasis on churning out quality content to escape the B2B content rat-race.
Bonus Tip: Remember to add Call-to-Actions on all your social media posts & adverts. You don’t want to keep your target market hanging and confused about the next course of action.
And please don’t celebrate if your paid posts get likes & comments.
The intention here is to generate leads, not “brand awareness” or “useless buzz”.
Take your campaign seriously by monitoring the right KPIs such as leads generated and average CPL (cost per lead). The secondary metrics such as likes & comments shouldn't be your biggest source of concern for a lead gen activity.
If you’re already using a social media agency, make sure to follow-up with them routinely to learn about the performance of your ads.
4) Sample Ads & Real-life Examples;
In this section, I’ll give you some real-life examples and screenshots to guide your thought process.
In this article I’ll focus more on LinkedIn & Facebook since Twitter discontinued its lead generation cards feature.
Here you’ll learn how to optimize your Facebook Page for receiving inbound leads as well as the various lead generation ad formats available.
- Optimize your profile by adding your services.
Here’s an example of our Facebook page.
Since we’re a creative design & digital communications agency in Dubai, we’ve listed all our services along with a custom image for each service to maintain uniformity.
You can do something similar for your B2B brand to optimize your page and get your services highlighted in front of your target market.
- Add a call to action button on your page.
Did you know?
You have the option of adding various types of contact buttons on your Facebook page to suit the most relevant form of B2B communication.
Add a relevant call to action button to your page in order to guide your lead towards a conversation. Here’s an example.
You can even link this to your website’s contact form to collect leads directly into your CRM.
- Run Lead ads
Facebook had introduced “Lead Ads” – a non-disruptive form of advertising campaign where you can collect the user’s details without them having to exit Facebook or disrupt their browsing experience.
Here’s a sample lead ad by Klaviyo –an SaaS company.
An increasing number of B2B brands have started using lead ads to generate quick & quality leads since most fields in the form are auto-filled based on the user’s profile.
Here's one of the best resources to learn more about Facebook lead ads.
- Try Canvas ads
Facebook has given brands a gift they’ll never forget.
I’m referring to the full-screen immersive Canvas ads.
You can basically own the entire phone screen of your leads, edge-to-edge, by running highly customizable and infinitely creative canvas ads.
Having seen some really great ones, I don’t refer to them as ads. I call them customer experiences on mobile.
In other words, it’s the mobile screen coming to life.
Canvas ads helps businesses achieve any objective by giving them a fully customizable digital space to build multimedia stories.
The Canvases open from Facebook ads in the News Feed to reveal a full-screen experience where advertisers can use a mix of video, still images, text and call-to-action buttons to build beautiful and effective brand and product experiences on mobile.
Within a Canvas, your potential customers can enjoy moving through digital stories easily.
They can swipe through a gallery of images, deploy a phone’s gyroscope sensor to view panoramic images by simply tilting the device, and so much more!
And since Canvas uses the same technology that makes photos and videos load quickly on Facebook, it loads almost 10 times faster than websites on mobile.
Here are a couple of examples to understand how canvas ads look like:
I'm totally digging this canvas ad shown below. It completely captures the essence of the brand and creates a visually appealing user journey.
Since there are multiple aspects to design a successful Canvas ad, I’d recommend getting in touch with a digital agency like us to help you out with the strategy, design, execution and promotion.
When you need some solid leads for your business, no one does it better than LinkedIn.
It's the world’s largest professional network online with more than 450 million members in over 200 countries and territories.
With an ever-growing popularity, it has professionals signing up at the rate of 2 new members per second!
That’s why we recommend LinkedIn ads because of their superior targeting options and audience relevance.
To get started, check out their lead generation ads feature. Here's an example:
- Lead Gen Forms:
LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms are pre-filled with the information obtained from your lead's member profile, making it easier for them to enquire about you in just a single click.
And because there's less friction, these ads are more likely to be popular among the busy B2B managers that you're looking to target.
- Text ads:
This is LinkedIn’s pay-per-click (PPC) platform, consisting of ads that display on the side rail or inline.
They are very easy to create, test and modify. Here's how they look like in real.
Using the extensive targeting tools available to you (shown earlier in this article), it is easy to ensure your text ads are displaying to relevant audiences.
This is how HubSpot improved its click-through rate by 60% compared to other social networks by using highly-granular targeting in text ads.
- Sponsored InMail
This is LinkedIn's excellent feature for sending personalized messages to highly targeted recipients.
Since those mails are delivered only to active members, you need not worry about dead email accounts and fake member profiles.
This is how a Sponsored InMail looks like in real life.
You also have the ability to tailor-make your content as well as ensure that your CTA button is always visible.
The built-in A/B testing tool just adds the icing on top of the cake.
With the help of this lead generating feature, you can:
- Drive downloads of gated assets;
- Promote webinars and special promotions; and
- Establish a direct relationship with valuable prospects or connections;
B2B lead generation using social media has enormous potential for your business.
As is always the case with marketing, you need to put some thought and action into it to start seeing some results.
I've also compiled some of the best articles on this topic to expand your knowledge further:
- A Complete Guide to B2B Lead Generation Using Social Media in 2016;
- How to Use Social Media to Drive Traffic for B2B Companies;
- How to Create a B2B Social Media Strategy (Without Being Boring);
- A Complete Guide to Social Media-Based Lead Generation for IT & Software Companies;
- The Do’s and Don’ts of Using Twitter to Generate Real Estate Leads