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5 Social Media Lead Generation Best Practices Your Business Can Use Today

Everyone’s talking about it but very few have truly mastered it - I’m of course talking about the art and science of social media marketing. The best social media campaigns aren’t campaigns at all, they are a fundamental part of how you do business, interact with your customers, and turn them into brand ambassadors and advocates.

Businesses that succeed in using social media to generate leads are different by design: they realize that prospects need nurturing and relationship building, a necessary step in building the trust it takes to make that crucial sale. Here are 5 things your business can do to master Social Media Lead Generation.

1. Identify Your Audience and Competitors’ Social Media Channels

Find out where your ideal prospects are spending their time on social networks. Are they talking to their friends on Facebook, voicing their tweets on Twitter, or watching videos and commenting on Youtube?

Insider Tip: Compile a spreadsheet of your competitors and note down which social channels they are actively participating in. Find network(s) that have the most competitors participating actively on them and make those your first priority.

2. Tune in & Produce Content They Like

Prospects don’t use social media to find your services or products, but they do voice their feedback openly about brands and their experiences with them. You can use all-in-one social media management and monitoring tools such as Hootsuite to setup lists and keyword searches relevant to your business. For example, you may want to setup a ‘list’ to track all your competitors’ tweets in one column, and another to track keywords mentioned by twitter users who may be potential customers. Then, respond to a user who’s expressed a problem that you can help solve.

Insider tip: Use a tool such as HootSuite’s auto-scheduling function or Demand Media’s Time.ly to schedule your tweets when the most number of followers are likely to see them.

3. Go Viral with Facebook Fan Page Contests and Promotions

Perhaps you’ve already got a Facebook fan page but aren’t utilizing it to its full potential. Did you know that you can run contests, polls, and promotions to increase your reach to the 900 million people that like and comment an average of 3.2 billion times per day?

Setup a custom Facebook ‘fan gate’ page to offer prospective fans something valuable in return for a ‘like’, such as a free e-book, cheat sheet, or report on your industry. Then, follow up by nurturing your fans with timely and popular updates such as those containing pictures, videos, and polls to keep them engaged.

Insider Tip: Include post-tagging (@brandxyz) mentioning the Facebook fan pages of complementary brands as well as your suppliers and partners. Your updates will show up in the newsfeeds of users who have liked their fan pages, allowing you to cross-promote between channels.

4. Follow Influencers and Turn them Into Brand Advocates on Twitter

Every industry has its thought leaders and influencers. To find them on Twitter, use search.twitter.com or a tool such as FollowerWonk to find bloggers or journalists, in your niche who have tuned-in and engaged followers themselves. Start following these influencers, and build a relationship with them by @replying their tweets, retweeting (sharing their tweets with your followers), and participating in Twitter etiquette such as the #FF (Follow Friday) trend to strengthen your relationships.

5. Youtube Videos and Responses

Youtube is the de-facto destination for prospects to find interesting, funny, and useful content. The best lead generation videos on Youtube involve how-to videos, product showcases, and customer case studies and testimonials.

One way to gain a Youtube following is to encourage viewers to subscribe to your channel at the beginning and the end of all your videos. You can also place subtle call to actions on your video by placing a video annotation embedded with hyperlinks.

Insider Tip: Search Youtube for keywords relevant to your business and take note of the most popular and relevant results. You can respond to these videos and attract viewers who have viewed these to your channel with a highly relevant response.

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Dev Basu is the founder of Powered by Search, a Toronto based SEO agency and 2012 Profit Hot 50 award winner. Follow Dev on Twitter or connect with him on Linkedin.