Businesses need to drive monetary results—they measure their investments based on the rate of return. A lot of people question the “ROI” of social networking, yet everything online can be measured better than anything offline. You know how many people visit your website, who clicks on your links, where they are being referred from, who signs up for your newsletter, and who wants to do business with you.
Through analytic tools, you can trace a lead from visitor to phone call. You can also ask leads how they came across your name for verification. The metrics are all accessible through tools such as Google Analytics, Compete.com and Quantcast. An Ad-ology survey at the beginning of this year of 752 U.S. small business owners showed that 57 percent cite lead generation as the top benefit of using social networks. Of the networks that they thought were the most valuable in driving results, Facebook was on top, and then Twitter.
It’s obvious that social networks are great lead generators for small businesses that don’t have large budgets and need to build a brand experience using mainstream tools. After you have your own website, and an installed blog, here is how to use Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to generate new leads for your small business:
First, you need to create your own business page. This will be your channel to grow your audience on Facebook’s 750 million person platform. You will use this page to generate discussions, share links, ask questions and learn about your audience. You will also need to create a custom landing page to allow users to learn about who you are, what you do, and then have them register for your newsletter.
Then, you will want to promote your Facebook page to your current network base on your Facebook profile, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. This way, you will have a foundation of people connected to your page. It will also build the perception of the page so it appears that it’s already popular and more people will “like” and share it with their networks. The more you update on Facebook, and market your page, the more leads you will generate through Facebook and your homepage.
With LinkedIn, you should create both a professional profile and a business profile—and they should both be interlinked. This way, when someone finds your profile, they can learn more about your company and vice verse. Both profiles should be stacked with keywords that are relevant in your industry and that you want to rank high for. Next, you should import all of your e-mail contacts into your LinkedIn profile.
There are three main ways to generate leads on LinkedIn. The first is being found through LinkedIn search based on how you’ve optimized your profile. The second is joining targeted LinkedIn groups that cater to your audience, contributing to discussions in those groups, and then adding members to your LinkedIn database. The third way is to search for people at companies you want as clients and ask for introductions through your current network of contacts.
If you’re looking to generate targeted traffic to your homepage, then Twitter is useful. By establishing your profile, finding targeted users with Twellow.com and following them, you’re able to cater to a specific audience that’s interested in what you have to say (and what your company does). Also, by using Search.Twitter.com, you can discover people that need help by using keyword searches. Even if you don’t have a product or a service that aligns to what someone is looking for, you should help them because they might refer business to you.