Social media is a must for brand awareness and audience engagement, but how about lead gen? With 13% higher lead conversion rate compared to other channels, social media can be a powerful growth tactic for any B2B marketer. In fact, 66% of marketers who spend as little as six hours per week on social media say that they see some kind of lead generation benefit.
Yet 49% of B2B marketers find social media to be the most difficult marketing activity to implement. So, let’s break it down and make it simple. Read on to learn how you can get started using social media for lead generation.
How Social Media and Lead Generation Work Together
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of using social media for lead generation, we need to be clear on how the former can impact the latter.
Focus on the why before the how.
Social media is about having a conversation with your audience. This audience needs to be interested enough in your brand to follow the company on Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin. Lead generation, on the other hand, is a process in which an individual goes from being unaware of a problem or solution to being interested in exploring your solution. In other words, you attract visitors and convert them into leads. So, how do you make these two seemingly different goals work?
If you want to use social media to acquire leads, you can't just start pumping your latest eBook to your audience. But if you invest the time to build an engaged audience, you can then convert them into leads and use ads (especially now that Facebook and Instagram have decreased their organic reach) to reach new audiences. Let’s dive into what you need to know about each social ad network.
How to Decide Which Social Ad Network to Use
To promote lead generation content through paid social media, you can use Facebook ads, Twitter ads, LinkedIn ads, or even Instagram ads. The challenge is to figure out which one is right for your business.
Your personas and their attributes is a good place to start. If you have already developed at least a couple of customer personas for your company, you can see where their attributes fit within different social networks.
Let's take a quick look at the different demographics of Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn:
Source: Pew Research Center
As you can see, most Internet users are on Facebook. The social network has more women than men, and also more younger people (although Facebook is more popular among older users). When it comes to education, income, and location, Facebook has equal representation.
What’s interesting for B2B marketers is that 73% of Facebook users say they use it for professional purposes.
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Here’s what the audience looks like on Instagram:
Source: Pew Research Center
Even though Instagram has fewer users than Facebook, people of all gender, age, education, and income are still equally represented. The only large difference is in location: Instagram has more urban settlers than rural and suburban ones.
Finally, let’s repeat this analysis with LinkedIn:
Source: Pew Research Center
As you can see, LinkedIn has a much different set of demographics than Facebook and Instagram. To begin, there are more men than women on LinkedIn. Most users are college-educated, have much higher income, and live in urban and suburban areas.
With all this information, you should start looking at your personas and see where they are more likely to be.
The largest social networks have attracted a wide variety of users with a diverse set of demographics, so you may want to try different sites at the same time. That being said, start where your core audience usually resides. For example, if you focus on B2B lead generation for enterprise IT CxOs, you may want to start with LinkedIn. If you’re selling B2C products to younger users, Facebook and Instagram may be a better investment.
Whatever the case, start with who your target audience is and where you can find them. In other words, your audience's demographic determines the social network they use. Now that you have a clearer idea where to start, I'd like to show you how you can use Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for lead generation.
Facebook Lead Ads
84% of marketers choose to use Facebook ads to drive traffic and acquire leads. On Facebook, you can select different goals for your campaigns, which makes it a popular choice among marketers. The lead generation goal works just like any other goal on Facebook: you can use targeted, lookalike, and custom audiences. But only with this goal you can promote a gated offer which your audience can get by providing their contact information without leaving Facebook.
This is how it works:
- A user sees an offer they like (typically, an ebook or a white paper)
- The user clicks the ads' call-to-action
- The user verifies their information which Facebook has pre-filled for them (instead of redirecting them to a landing page)
- The user confirms their pre-filled information, receive the content, and become a lead
Unlike the classic traffic-to-landing lead generation model, which creates leaks in visitor-to-lead conversion, Facebook’s offering removes the friction and lowers your customer acquisition cost. Plus, it makes for a much better user experience.
The reduction in friction in the visitor-to-lead conversion process means your users are two clicks away from becoming a prospect. But remember, you must make this process seamless and ask only for the most information you need for lead nurturing.
Land Rover, for example, used lead gen form ads to get potential customers to request a car quote. As you can imagine, Land Rover sells expensive products which can only be purchased after a long sales process, which starts with a car quote.
Land Rover tried Facebook's lead generation goal to create a seamless experience across devices. Lead gen forms made it easy for people on mobile to request a car quote and learn more about Land Rover.
Kim Kyaw, Land Rover’s Digital Marketing and Social Media manager, said that in early A/B testing, Facebook’s native lead ads outperformed link ads driving to the website in total leads and conversion rate. This Facebook campaign also achieved a 4x reduction in cost per lead compared to previous social lead generation tactics.
Instagram Lead Ads
Instagram's ads are becoming a staple among online advertisers. Last year alone, eMarketer found 48.8% of brands were on Instagram and estimated that they would increase their participation in the social network by 70.7%.
Brands’ photos on Instagram generate 58 times higher engagement per follower than Facebook posts and 120 times higher engagement rates than tweets, according to Marketing Week.
What's more, a study done by Shopify found Instagram posts achieve 1.08% conversion rate. Facebook owns Instagram, so you can use similar lead ads on both platforms. The only difference is Instagram reduces the pre-filing options for advertisers to just email, full name, phone number, and gender. Collecting any further information would mean the user would have to type it in.
Since it takes a user 40% longer to fill out a form on a mobile device than on a desktop, you should only look to get additional information if it is a high priority for your initial sales efforts.
Maserati, the famous Italian luxury car manufacturer, used Instagram's lead ads to promote their latest car, the Levante. The results were nothing but spectacular. Maserati generated 21k leads, 127 of which ended up purchasing a car. Even at a mere 0.47% conversion rate, if you consider the car costs close to $75k, Maserati made $9.5 million in revenue, just from their Instagram's lead ads.
LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms
62% of B2B marketers say they have found LinkedIn to be the most effective social media platform for their businesses. This is especially true with lead generation, where 65% of B2B companies have found success.
Linkedin offers many advertising options for companies: sponsored content, sponsored InMail, text ads, dynamics ads, and more.
Sponsored content, one of the most commonly used ad types, works just like the name suggests: a company promotes a piece of content and acquires more traffic and leads by increasing the content’s reach.
For lead generation, LinkedIn has a very useful feature: Lead Gen Forms. Here's a short video on how it works:
LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms allow potential customers to share their information by pre-populating contact forms from their LinkedIn's profile, exactly same way as with Facebook and Instagram.
The key difference is that LinkedIn can pre-populate information related to the professional life of the users, which includes their job title, company name, seniority, and education details like degree, school, and field of study. This gives a much richer set of data from each lead. But don't overdo it: LinkedIn recommends sticking to three or four key fields to maximize conversion.
Since LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms don't require any typing at all from users, it makes it easy for them to add their information on mobile. LinkedIn Lead Gen forms are only available on mobile Sponsored Content campaigns.
According to LinkedIn, 90% of the 50 businesses in the pilot project exceeded their cost-per-lead goals. This is the case of Integrated Research, a software provider of IT infrastructure, which saw a 200% increase in their conversion rate while seeing a 44% reduction in lead cost acquisition.
Once you see how lead generation and social media work together, you can acquire leads using social media ads.
Start with the audience, then choose your social network. Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin all have features you can use for lead generation. So, get started, and let us know which one you think best fits your target audience. What are your next steps to start generating leads for your business?