Some tips on using social media for lead-generation

Twitter logoMost companies now recognise the need for a social presence for their business, whether that’s a corporate blog for a company with a serious business message, a fun Pinterest board for a design company or a Facebook page for a consumer brand launching its latest product. While Twitter works for engagement and brand awareness for media brands that can tap into two-screening (be that Heat Magazine or Channel 4) or huge global brands with huge marketing budgets (such as Coca Cola), a belief persists within most businesses that the ROI of Twitter as a channel cannot be measured or proven.

For many businesses, particularly B2B companies, proving ROI is all about generating leads. So when businesses learn that 82% of social media leads come from Twitter, suddenly the business case for investing in Twitter becomes much more tangible.

Apart from Twitter Ad Cards, there are two main data sources on Twitter that can be useful for lead generation. The first is users’ social profiles, comprised of the number of followers and friends (as well as the ratio of these against one another), combined with users’ Twitter bios – the few words that the person uses to describe themselves or that particular Twitter account, along with the language, country and city they live in. All of this information is publically available and may already show you significantly more than you knew about your prospect than a simple email address or business card could tell you. With the added functionality of private or public lists, you can curate and segment these Twitter users, and engage with them using the knowledge you have learned from their social profile.

The first step to using Twitter for lead generation is to find your ‘leads’ based on the Twitter profile information. Once you’ve done this, the second main data source is the tweets that the user sends out. These allow you to listen to your customers and engage with them directly. This data is much more qualitative and rich. It can range from the simple, for example you now know that your prospect is a supporter of a particular football team, to the complex, such as the fact that they regularly reply to direct tweets on their journey home from work at around 6pm. While this information may not immediately tell you that this person will ultimately become a customer, it will allow you to communicate more effectively and build a real relationship with the prospect. Again, lists are useful to segment your audience once you’ve taken into account their tweet and retweet activity.

As with all marketing activity, Twitter does not exist in a vacuum, and for it to be truly effective, it should tie into a wider marketing and lead-generation strategy. When building a Twitter community or using the social network to build a list of your potential leads, remember to enter all of this information into your prospecting and CRM database, don’t keep data you discovered siloed to individual channels or platforms.

Twitter can make powerful and direct connections with your prospects and customer base, as well as providing large amounts of qualitative data on the people you want to reach out to and build relationships with. It’s this that enables the social network to be used for large scale, targeted and personalised marketing activities and ultimately prove ROI.

Javier Burón is CEO and founder of SocialBro