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What are you doing today to ensure that your business brings in a continuous flow of qualified leads on a daily basis? Do you have a refined procedure, or are you throwing content out into the abyss of the interwebs with fingers crossed, hoping to score new leads and make some money?  If you can’t map out your strategy and don’t know where to fine tune the rough edges over time, chances are your business won’t be around for long. At Conversion Sciences, we take the time to build blue prints, formulate hypotheses, test strategies, and analyze data to keep our business and clients growing and moving forward.

Optimizing our content strategy, we’ve found takes an important attention to detail, consistency, and patience to bring in quality business. If you’re ready to accelerate and improve your lead generation strategy, you must first understand the path you took to close the deal with your first clients or buyers. Who was the person you engaged with? What was their job description and social interests, and why were they an ideal lead?

Knowing this can help you understand who your target audience is and how to reach them on social media. Does this lead attend a specific type of conference or event each year? Do they read a certain publication or regularly visit an industry website?

Once you have identified your target audience, you can begin implementing advanced techniques to grow your business. Here are ten ways to enhance your social media lead generation strategy.


 

Choosing the Right Social Media Platforms for Lead Generation

Don’t invest time and money into every social media platform until you know what will work for your business.

The key to social media is not just a presence, but how followers engage with your brand and if those followers turn into leads.

If you’ve already established a presence on all platforms, see how your traffic correlates with each social site via Google Analytics or a comprehensive social media sharing software like Oktopost that allows for conversion tracking. What sites are bringing you more traffic and leads?

Based on our conversion tracking efforts using Oktopost, we can track how many leads are generated in each social network. We consider leads to be anyone who joins our email list, downloads a report, joins our blog course, or fills out a contact form. Last month we created a campaign that offered a free report for the higher education marketplace. Our large Twitter audience brought in the most clicks and leads. However, our data tells us LinkedIn leads convert at a higher rate than Twitter leads. We’ve begun focusing more on LinkedIn as a result.

For a clearer perspective on how to choose the right social platforms for your business, we recommend reading these tips from Wishpond.

Educating Your Buyer: Reports and Whitepapers

By offering free white papers, reports and ebooks are a great way to make your prospects experts at buying your products. They are also a great way to create email lists to better segment your audience. Pragmatic Marketing says, “if you provide something of value to prospects, they will give you their respect, time, loyalty, and ultimately their business.” If only it were that easy.

The cost of creating content is falling as the web gobbles it up. We use blog posts to test topics of interest to our audience. We will prepare a live presentation or webinar on hot topics. These presentations get cast into case studies, blog posts, reports and social media posts.

But writing a report simply isn’t enough. Targeting your whitepapers to the right audience is of utmost importance and can be done in several ways, including Facebook Ad remarketing, LinkedIn Groups, or Twitter hashtags and discussions.

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Why LinkedIn Groups Are Lead Hotbeds

A hotbed is defined as “a place or environment favoring rapid growth or spread”. In our recent research, we’ve discovered LinkedIn to be a valuable hotbed for B2B lead generation, particularly when it comes to engaging with LinkedIn Groups. In the past, most marketers or brands were taught to create a main page where all content would be shown to followers or ‘likes’. In recent years, we’ve seen a surge of engagement and activity in social groups with defined interests and demographics due to the change in algorithm from Facebook and LinkedIn updates.

Now LinkedIn Groups have been a hotbed for Conversion Sciences when it comes to generating new leads or subscribers. A few months ago, we launched our industry report for Higher Education Marketing and created a comprehensive campaign targeted to Higher Education professionals. By researching groups and engaging with members, we were able to build relationships and grow our lead pool in just a few months.

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By researching groups, and engaging with members, we were able to build relationships and grow our lead pool in just a few months.

At the end of the campaign, we generated a total of 24 leads in under a month; 80% of those leads were from Higher Education Facebook groups we engaged and shared content with. However, always remember that

one of the most important ways to gain new customers is to create an authentic relationship

. Groups are not for spamming or sharing irrelevant content.

How Ad Targeting and Retargeting Builds A Lead Magnetic Field

Did you know the Earth produces its own magnetic field which is important in navigation? It also shields the Earth’s atmosphere from solar winds that are capable of destroying humanity as we know it! When it comes to lead generation, you should think of your business as the Earth, Facebook Ads at the magnetic field, and your competition as the solar wind.

Facebook Ads will help discover and navigate your leads to your lead-generating content, and bring them back to “Earth,” aka your business. Let’s say you were a software company looking to draw attention to a new service targeted to apparel companies. You could create an ad directed toward people who like specific pages, job titles, and keywords, or install a Facebook retargeting pixel on your website. This will help a potential lead see your ad immediately over the duration of your campaign.

Take Google Fiber for example. I was recently referred to its site by a friend who mentioned it will soon be available in the Austin area. I snooped around the site but lost interest, since it isn’t making itself available in my part of town. In the days following my visit, this is what I saw in my Facebook News Feed.

I saw a retargeting ad about Google Fiber when I logged into Facebook

I saw a retargeting ad about Google Fiber when I logged into Facebook

Fancy schmancy. It’s a Retargeting Ad! The fun stuff happens when I click on the “Sign Up” button. I’m directed to a landing page to enter my address to see whether Google Fiber will be in my neighborhood. Total bummer though: it looks like they won’t be available for a little while, so I decided to sign up for their email list. Guess what? I’m a lead now.  Not exactly a bummer for Google Fiber. We recommend Facebook for Business for further insight on how to create the perfect campaign.

I'm now a lead because I've signed up for alerts

I’m now a lead because I’ve signed up for alerts

Mapping Out Your Traffic Using Hashtag Targeting

Hashtags are the perfect place to find new business. By doing a simple hashtag search, you can find various tweets and discussions that direct you to new leads. Think of them as the magnetic field lines that map out all directions of the magnetic force. Hashtags direct content to communities, who in return will engage (like, comment, and share content). Let’s go back to the Higher Education report data. On Twitter, we found several hashtags corresponding that to this topic including #higheredmktg #hemktg #highered. This puts us in direct contact with many professionals we engaged with through content marketing.

Take for example our hashtag streams we created on Oktopost when targeting our Higher Education Report to industry professionals. We’ve created a comprehensive directory of conversations aimed at this topic. In it, we were able to locate specific professionals we could engage with and place our brand in front of by participating in their discussions. Look at this! @markhoddell works for the University of Chester in the Marketing Department. Potential lead? We think so! If you’re not taking part in hashtag targeting, the time is now.

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Learn more on Hashtag.org.

Juicing Your Lead Generation With Content Marketing and Blogging

Building reports or whitepapers, and launching them with comprehensive organic and paid Facebook Ad strategies, is just the tip of the iceberg in online lead generation. But, how can you continue to engage your community and build your customer base without reloading them with offers or retargeting ads?

By implementing an enriched content strategy in your marketing funnel, you will intrigue and entertain your audience, as well as leave a footprint online that will increase your organic SEO and reach. Infographics, videos, images, and podcasting are just a few content ideas that drive traffic. Think of your entire content marketing strategy as the great magnetic force that pulls in new leads. The strength of that force determines on the strength and creativity of your content.

Screenshot 2015-06-21 17.29.42

According to a recent study by the Content Marketing Institute, only 48% of businesses have a documented Content Strategy.

A recent study from the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs states that over 80% of B2B respondents use Content Marketing in their business practices, yet only 38% of these businesses say their strategies are effective. However, the study also indicates that 48% of these businesses were not documenting their strategies effectively. In the end, there’s no way of telling what practices are showing results, or hurting business. Here are a few creative examples on how we incorporate content marketing elements in our online lead generation strategy to ensure maximum results.

Webinars

Webinars offer exclusive information and help grow your email list and lead base. LinkedIn groups are the perfect foundation for generating new leads through webinar promotion. You can target groups based on your field of expertise, or type of audiences you aim to reach. This avoids spammy sales letters and overbearing ads. WebinarNL says, “webinars generate a lower cost per lead and high level of engagement with prospective clients.” They also detail several benefits to hosting webinars including:

  • Direct contact with your target group
  • Reaching your target group both live and afterwards
  • Interaction with your target group
  • How webinars save time and money

So, we decided to put this statistic to the test and hosted our very first webinar “UX vs. CRO: The Digital Fight of the Century” As a special incentive for attendees, we had them ask several questions on UX or CRO. The people with the most creative questions won a free website evaluation from Brian Massey himself.

After an extensive social media promotion, we were surprised to find 212 conversions in just 20 days of implementing our content strategy.  That’s more leads in a short period of time than any other strategy we’ve executed. So ask yourself, “What benefits do webinars offer your business?” To see how our first webinar panned out, watch the webinar replay.

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Data from our most recent webinar “UX vs. CRO”

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Conversion Data from our most recent webinar “UX vs. CRO.”

Podcasting

Perhaps the most underrated form of generating new business leads comes from podcasting. It’s free and accessible, and makes radio quality audio shows available for download through an RSS feed to a computer, MP3 player or mobile phone. Listeners only have to subscribe to a podcast once.

First, you’ll need to conduct a keyword search that will get your content noticed in the podcast world. Then, be sure to create short blogs of no more than a few sentences to capture the reader, launch your podcast, and have them listen.

Interviewing an industry expert or hosting a panel debate can help maximize reach and listeners. Be sure to keep discussions focused on topics you can actively talk about with your leads. This is the perfect way to begin establishing yourself as an industry thought leader.

“The goal of the business podcast is to create a conversational thread that you can pick up with your lead on the next call,” says Benchmark. Think of this as a first experience with future customers. You are building trust and proving them with valid information to nurture a business relationship. Again, podcasts are easy to market via LinkedIn groups, hashtag targeting, and Facebook Ads. Also, fan page Apps like 22Social help incorporate podcasts into your Facebook page so followers can listen in.

Guest Blogging

What does your business specialize in? Moving, fitness, prepping, or social media marketing? By writing as a guest blogger, not only will you be showing off your knowledge, but it adds credibility to your business and brand, while introducing your chops to an entirely new audience. This also gives you the opportunity to grow your social media following by adding social follow-back buttons or a Twitter handle to your posts.

Begin by creating a list of publications in your niche market that offer guest blogging and dive into what kind of content they are pitching.

KissMetrics layouts three important goals for Guest Bloggers:

  1. Positioning yourself as an authority and well-known name in the industry.
  2. Getting exposure (traffic) back to your website.
  3. Building backlinks to your website.

Again, you want your potential customers to know that you are an expert in your field, and in the process you’ll be increasing traffic back to your site. We recommend reading KissMetric’s Ultimate Guide To Guest Blogging for more insight.

Video Marketing

Did you know 80% of internet users recall watching a video, and 46% of those viewers actually take action after watching the ad? Now, YouTube is making it an even more refined tool through annotations. By implementing annotations in your videos, you can direct viewers to a landing page on your website where they can sign up for your services, download a free report, etc. YouTube Ads also amp up this strategy, especially since they easily incorporate with your Adwords strategy.

Let’s take this Heineken YouTube Ad for example. Apparently, the internet knows that people like me – people who are my age, have my interests, and share my browsing and search history, for instance – love beer. Again, this is the whole idea of remarketing.

As I’m watching this ad, what do I see in the corner of the video? It’s an annotation that says “Visit Advertiser’s Site”. Since I’m curious, I click on the link and low and behold, I’m on their site and enter for a chance to win in their sweepstakes.

Screenshot 2015-06-09 19.22.19

The sad thing is, the campaign was over before I landed on the page, and Heineken missed its chance to get me on its list. Will I see a remarketing ad in the future? Possibly!

Screenshot 2015-06-09 19.29.57

Are You Ready To Map Out and Fine Tune Your Lead Strategy?

So what will you do today to insure that your business brings in a continuous flow of qualified leads on a daily basis? Can you begin to map out a refined procedure? Remember, don’t just throw content out into the world and expect a beanstalk to grow in your backyard overnight. The business world is not a fairytale.

If you incorporate just a few of these social media strategies into your overall lead generation plan, not only will you be able to grow your business, but you will start a snowball effect that brings in new prospects for the long term. Now put your thinking caps on and start outlining your strategy, or if you’re looking to generate more B2B leads watch our latest webinar.

Guest Post By Russel Cooke
Facebook has a new advertising network that has some people worried about their personal data online.
The new network, Atlas, uses data it collects from users on Facebook to serve ads on other websites based on what Facebook knows about its users. Facebook already uses personal data to serve up contextual and targeted ads within Facebook, but now Atlas gives them the ability to use this data on behalf of third-party websites and apps.

Atlas allows advertisers to follow users across devices and across the Internet.

Atlas allows advertisers to follow users across devices and across the Internet. Image Courtesy of Shutterstock


 
Facebook bought Atlas in 2013 for approximately $100 million and has entirely rebuilt it. The former Microsoft property will now serve as Facebook’s alternative to Google AdWords, allowing advertisers to follow users across devices and across the Internet.
For example, a beer company utilizing Atlas can use the platform to serve ads on sports websites or game apps that aren’t related to Facebook.

Cookies Aren’t Working

In a blog post, the head of Atlas, Erik Johnson, addressed the limitation of cookies, which had been the industry’s instrument for serving ads on desktop and tracking users.
He noted that cookies are becoming less accurate when it comes to demographic targeting and don’t work on mobile. Cookies also have trouble accurately measuring the customer purchase funnel across devices, browsers, and in the real world. He wrote that Atlas’ focus is on “people-based marketing.”
This type of advertising may make some users uncomfortable in relation to how their personal data is used. Yet, it presents a new opportunity for advertisers and offers up an alternative to Google AdWords management.
The platform will also help marketers and advertisers understand how their efforts across different networks and channels intersect and how they can bolster each other. Atlas eliminates the need for silos in advertising campaigns, which results in a more consistent advertising experience for the end-user.
Facebook’s existing advertising solution previously only used cookies to track the websites that users visited and targeted ads based on that data. As mentioned, Atlas does not rely on cookies to gather consumer information.
In the past if a user browsed the prices of a car on a dealer’s website they would probably see car ads in their News Feed. However, because cookies do not work on mobile, it would have been difficult for advertisers to fully and comprehensively track the behaviors and interests of users.
Atlas is not dependent on cookies and can track the third-party websites that people visit. This more robust information better allows advertisers to target ads around the interests and “likes” of Facebook users.

Tracking Sales Across Screens

The benefits of Atlas don’t end with tracking users and more efficiently targeting campaigns. It also has the ability to determine if a user purchased a product on a desktop after viewing an ad on a mobile device. It tracks the relationships between offline sales and the online advertising that spurred them on.
For example, if a person makes a purchase and gives their email address during the process Facebook would be able to let the store know that the person had viewed an ad online.
These connections will be invaluable to marketers and advertisers, as they will now be able to fully understand the relationship between their campaigns and real life sales activity. As the tracking grows and evolves, advertisers will create more compelling and powerfully targeted campaigns.
Atlas is making the advertising process more people-focused and the most successful advertisers will follow their lead.
Russel Cooke is a business consultant and writer from Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated from the University of Louisville, and worked in the Louisville area for over ten years before become an independent consultant and business writer. He recently relocated to Los Angeles, CA. You can follow Russel on Twitter @RusselCooke2.
 

This is a guest post by Simon Campbell

Facebook is not only the most popular of the many social networks; it’s also the most prone to changes. What worked well just a few short months ago on the site may not be the best formula to try in 2014.
Changes in the News Feed have been among the most recent from the site. With a much larger emphasis on quality content that weights well via Facebook’s unique algorithm, marketers are forced to up their engagement tactics in order to survive inside of News Feeds without being missed, ignored or forced out.
Along with other changes, such as the sheer size of the mobile market today, anyone’s Facebook ad tactics should be updated. Not overhauled, just tweaked to remain a relevant and engaging brand on the site.
Facebook Tactics

The Audience Growth Survey: Subscribers, Fans, & Followers – Report #22 by ExactTarget a Salesforce.com company

3 Must-Use Ad Tactics for Facebook Marketers

1: Find the Right App

Facebook presents many tools to help marketers achieve success without having to venture offsite for much of anything. However, creating, testing, tweaking and targeting content is exceedingly difficult to do without some third-party assistance. Marketers looking for a sharper edge this year should try to find a third-party ad-management application that offers freedom and ease of use.
What you’re looking for in the right ad-management app includes:

        

  • The ability to schedule entire ad campaigns
  •     

  • Automated campaigns with rules you (the user) create
  •     

  • A plug-n-play Google Analytics feature
  •     

  • A streamlined interface
  •     

  • Templates for saved work
  •     

  • Organizational folders
  •     

  • Split-testing capabilities
  •     

  • Easy features for creating ad variations
  •     

  • Full control over which ads are actually used.

The end results is an easily programmable app that allows you to create, change, test and launch entire ad campaigns on a schedule you select, using ads you personally deem appropriate for the task. Every other tactic’s success depends in large part on the app you select for your ads.

2: Expand on Proven Organic Content

While paid advertising will, by design, always trump organic reach, many marketers find that some of their best ongoing success comes by way of everyday posts that ultimately build an organic following. Due to changes with Facebook’s Promoted Posts feature, you can now take an ad that was already popular and really kick it into overdrive with a bit of paid targeting.
Used in conjunction with your ad-management app to fine-tune the targeting, a Promoted Post can provide you with a litany of benefits, including:

        

  • The ability to boost a post visitors have already been engaged with
  •     

  • Adding new life to a post you feel hasn’t run its course
  •     

  • More views in more News Feeds
  •     

  • A longer lifespan in News Feeds for quality, paid posts
  •     

  • An expansion of the audience every time someone engages with the post
  •     

  • The ability to pin the post to your own page
  •     

  • An affordable way to keep pace with bigger brands

Along with greater reach comes greater recognition. Using a Promoted Post in 2014 is one of the safest, most affordable, and effective forms of Facebook advertising.

3: Target Small

Although niche marketing is a tried-and-true principle of advertising that doesn’t change much on a year-on-year basis, 2014 presents a couple of solid reasons to quickly narrow your advertising focus. With more brands, more mobile users, and many more advertisements, focusing on direct niche marketing allows you to target those most likely to engage. This offers quality control abilities you wouldn’t otherwise have.
When setting up your next advertising campaign, think about:

        

  • Starting with no more than 1,000 people
  •     

  • Split-testing and tracking variations of ads for effectiveness
  •     

  • Choosing a single interest so that you can directly target prospects
  •     

  • Split your campaign between male and female, measuring the results
  •     

  • Try age variations to see which demo bites the hardest

Targeting small, and in spurts, allows you to quantify your efforts easily and without must hassle. After seeing which group is most responsive to a certain ad type, you can begin expanding your efforts to draw more interest from more areas.

Bonus Tip: Tracking Advice

No matter the type of app you’re using, the type of ad you’re releasing, or the size of the market you’re targeting, your progress must be tracked in order to ensure the success of your tactics. Releasing an ad campaign and letting it run its course without a watchful eye could result in disaster.
Use Facebook Insights to your advantage to view your engagement numbers, such as Likes, comments, shares, etc. You can view an assortment of graphs to tell you if you’re heading in the right direction.
Using the right app for ads is also going to give you an easy way into Google Analytics. This is a more in-depth analysis of how your campaign is doing. You can track URLs, create separate landing pages, and pretty much customize the system for optimum convenience.
Tracking allows you to tweak when necessary, to cut your losses if needed, and to double-down on working tactics. A campaign that’s not being tracked is a campaign doomed to failure.
Simon Campbell, author
 
About the Author: Simon Campbell, a writer from a Facebook ad campaign tool – Qwaya. He loves to write different topics about social media and participates in some communities and forums. If you have more social media marketing questions, feel free to ask Simon on Twitter

This is a guest post by Simon Campbell
Social media sites can be used in a wide variety of ways in many different industries. Though for most businesses, a site like Facebook is typically used to promote products and services rather than to sell them. With a few key tweaks, however, you can change that and actually use the social networking giant as a direct sales page for your products.
You can sell directly on Facebook? Yes! Some market analysts even think that Facebook will eventually spawn a whole new category of online e-commerce, called F-commerce.
Melding your social media advertising with your selling and creating one centralized hub might just be a great way for your small business to cut costs and increase productivity. Follow these five simple Facebook marketing steps to help you sell products.

Selling Products with Your Facebook Page

1: Building a Store Page
Creating a Facebook page (rather than a simple profile) is the first step in this process. Take advantage of the customizable tabs and other options on Facebook to fill in your company information, your mission statement, and other essential info about your business.
Use the cover photo of your page to present your brand’s logo and to create a clean, professional-looking environment that seeks to use Facebook for business and not for  personal interactions.
2: Constructing a Landing Page
You  need to create a separate landing page, where you will set up a store experience. Chose a platform that allows you to create custom pages, different categories, an SSL certificate, a responsive, adjustable format, and more. Just search around through different apps and platforms, read real user reviews, and find a store platform/app that’s affordable, feature-rich, and one that can be used to tie your store in with Facebook seamlessly.
3: Finalizing the Store
Once you have a landing page/store created and your Facebook page finalized, you have to bring the two together to create a seamless store experience on Facebook. To do this efficiently, you should use one of the e-commerce widgets on the market today.
Ecwid is a one widget to try out. It’s affordable, provides around 30 separate payment options, and you can sell shipped products, downloadable products, and more. It’s also a responsive widget, meaning that mobile users will go to the same fully functioning store that desktop users go to.
This isn’t your only option, though. Other widgets, including StoreYa, are available and allow you to create multiple product categories, list dozens of products, choose from a variety of templates, and ultimately integrate your store with your Facebook page to create a seamless e-store experience. Your Facebook fans will be able to purchase your products without ever leaving your Facebook page.
4: Marketing Your Products
Now that your store is created and running on your Facebook page, it’s time to implement some Facebook marketing to help you sell your products. Your first step  should be to check out some of the literature available on Facebook marketing tips and tricks. Look into third-party ad-management apps, various ad types, different organic methods, and other marketing staples.
To start out with a bang, however, you may want to try running a promotion right out of the gate. Spread the word around through targeted advertisements that you’re offering a free product or a hefty discount for people who like or purchase through your Facebook page.  You can use a wide range of apps to create games and other promotions, hold photo or slogan contests, and a slew of other promotions that will draw people in.
5: Performing Brand Upkeep
It’s up to you to stay entertaining and engaging as a marketer on Facebook. Make sure you post on a regular schedule, provide interesting material that your audience wants to see, solve problems for your niche, always add incentives, and give people material that they would want to share with their friends.
Paid advertising in the form of Sponsored Stories and Promoted Posts are great, but don’t forget basic methods like video reviews of your products, real user feedback, infographics explaining things, and other social-friendly and trending methods that will help keep your brand in a good light.
From creating your Facebook page and store page to promoting your products and working to engage with existing fans while attracting new ones, you have to play to the social context of the network. It’s hard not to come across strictly as an advertiser, so don’t try to be something you’re not. Promote yourself as a business – just make sure to include a personal side that likes to engage with people on Facebook, that cares for and appreciates fans and customers, and that always offer quality products and quality customer service.
Simon Campbell, author
 
 
About the author: Simon Campbell, a writer from a Facebook ad campaign tool – Qwaya. He loves to write different topics about social media and participates in some communities and forums. If you have more social media marketing questions, feel free to ask Simon on Twitter.