Lead Generation & Social Media

John Foley

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Social media certainly has had an impact on the way people communicate. It has changed how we meet people, share information, and more. Businesses have been increasing their usage of social media, and this has caused for changes to be made in business strategies, marketing plans, promotion processes, and customer interaction. But does it stop there? Absolutely not. Social media has even begun to change the classic, impersonal sales strategy of cold calling. Rather than soliciting a list of companies by the phone, social media has given sales teams a new approach. This new process involves capturing a prospect's attention by engaging them with useful information and providing compelling content as to why that prospect would benefit from the sales representative's business.

This experience can be pleasant for both the sales rep and prospect. In fact, you may even be asking "Why haven't we done this sooner?" Perhaps it is because people have only recently changed the way they find information. Rather than solely relying on reading newspapers, watching the news, or using other forms of channels, people now spend a great deal of time finding information online. This change in information consumption is one reason why it is crucial for businesses to join social media sites. Being found, though, isn't the only way a social media presence will help a sales team. It can also be used as a lead generation funnel if you use social media in the correct way.

It all starts with an online marketing plan and strategy. In order to make anything a success, you have to plan it out first. A few points that are highly recommended are recognizing who your target demographic is, creating a content distribution strategy, and knowing which keywords are most relevant to your business. With these three essential pieces of information, you will be able to create a smart marketing plan for your social media marketing and sales efforts.

Knowing who your target demographic is will help you narrow down who to follow on Twitter, which groups to join on LinkedIn, etc. This will create a network of qualified inquiries almost immediately. A content distribution strategy will help to ensure that your business earns a reputation as an expert in your industry because it will organize how you share information. Why is this necessary? There are millions of tweets and posts made every day, which is why it is important to customize your posts in a way that it attracts the attention of your target demographic. By visiting industry news sites daily and sharing a few of the articles your target demographic would be interested in, it will make your posts useful to them. This will help increase the chances of them visiting your sites again for more information in the future. Deciding which keywords and phrases are most relevant to your business is also important. If you include these in your blog entries, tweets, Facebook posts, and other outlets, it will have a positive effect in your search engine optimization efforts. It will also help prospects learn what your business is about and how you can help serve them.

Once you have your target demographic visiting your social media sites, it is all about engagement and nurturing your connection with them at this point. You are now able to do this in countless ways. One way to do this is by directing them back to your company website with measureable, shortened links in your posts. By listing a service that you offer along with a link, you will increase your inbound website traffic of potential prospects. You can also engage your audience using social media by directing them to places within your website where they are able to interact with you. This might include driving them to comment on blog posts, fill out a poll or survey, download an eBook, or sign up for an eNewsletter. These are all opportunities for your sales team to retrieve information about these prospects and then be able to further nurture the developing relationship between the prospect and business.

About John Foley

John Foley is the founder of Grow Socially, an online marketing company including Social Media. They provide marketing consulting and delivery services. Created in 2010, Grow Socially, Inc (www.GrowSocially.com) helps companies with their online marketing efforts, with a focus on social media. These services include discussing and creating marketing plans, strategies, tactics, and goals that align with your company’s needs.

In addition to his role at Grow Socially, Mr. Foley serves a CEO for interlinkONE, an integrated multi-channel marketing web solutions company serving the print and fulfillment industries and marketing departments.

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