Social media has been through its iterations. What started as a place for college kids to share pictures of each other from last weekend (Facebook in 2006) has become a place for retirees to share parody news stories under the impression that they are 100 percent real (Facebook in 2018). Along the way we’ve gained thousands a few platforms — Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter being obvious mainstays — and lost a few as well (R.I.P. MySpace, Friendster and Google+. We hardly knew ye).
Likewise, how businesses use social media has evolved. Traditionally, the professional environment of social media has focused on the promotional capabilities of those channels, meaning businesses have used social media platforms to push information out to the masses. However, a recent trend popping up in B2B social media usage is using these platforms to generate information and business, mostly in the way of leads. You’ve probably seen this in dozens of emails offering social media lead generation training. “This training will teach you to use LinkedIn and Facebook to make hundreds of new connections with a targeted audience to increase your qualified sales calls and spend more time selling and less time prospecting.”
We get emails like this all the time as well, and I must say it’s pretty brazen — asking a marketing company that does social media if they want to spend money to let another business do their social media for them. These emails conjure the same questions and disbelief that one gets when watching a late-night infomercial: “Does that really work? There’s no way that works.”
To answer the question, yes, it does work, but like any as-seen-on-TV product, it can easily become a product that you purchase, use once and then put in the linen closet where it will never see the light of day again.
These social media lead generation programs are great tools when used correctly. They can get you in touch with hundreds of new, highly targeted prospects, but they take up time, a lot of time, which is why most businesses give up on them quickly. To get the most out of these programs there needs to be a near daily commitment to sending connection requests, posting content and messaging about 150 connections. If you have the time or a person on your team who has the time, these can be great methods to bringing in new leads. If not, consider finding a service that will handle those day-to-day tasks for you. If that’s the route you chose, make sure you do your research before choosing a partner:
It’s always important to do your homework before working with any new partner, but it may be even more crucial with these types of businesses, many of whom are some fly-by-nights just trying to get in on the social media lead generation trend.
For those having trouble determining your target prospects, take a look at why it’s more critical than ever to know your audience.