When you think about it, sharing on social media is a lot like bees carrying pollen. People who come across remarkable content spread it across the web, resulting in fertile discussion and the birth of new ideas -- just like pollen gives birth to new fruit.
But while this amazing phenomenon transpires in social media, businesses often fail to harvest the fruits of their labor. They fail to move their website visitors down their sales and marketing funnels by converting them to leads and sales.
Of course, social media is first and foremost about people and dialog. But if it is being used as a business tool, you should get some business results from it!
Here are some social media tips that you can apply at the top of the funnel that will help you move people lower down the funnel.
1) Be relevant to your business
We talk about being relevant in social media, especially when it comes to Twitter. However, if the content you're sharing and the dialogs you're having are not relevant to your business, where is the value to your bottom line? Share content that is fun but also share information that will attract relevant business visitors to your site. They are out there!
2) Be greedy for traffic
Very simply, create your own content. While it is cool to share and retweet the content of thought leaders (I'm guilty); do your business a favor and write your opinions down as a blog post every once and while and share your response! You will build your brand and thought leadership and drive traffic to your own site!
3) Use calls-to-action to facilitate conversion
I cannot stress this enough! You've done all the hard work for months building up followers, fans and friends. You've spent countless hours writing some remarkable content, engaging with them online and bringing them back to your site. How are you converting the relevant visitors to leads? A simple call-to-action at the bottom of your blog posts or on your website pages can help get you those leads your business needs!
4) Make it easy to share your content
Piggy backing on the previous point. Why not make it easy for your visitors to spread that around? A simple button like the one below can help gain you new followers and attract new potential customers.
5) Build the right bridges
When starting out in social media and networks it is common to follow friends, family and co-workers. More than a few people I know are obsessive about having a ton of followers. However, it is important to cultivate the right kind of follower and friends base. Quality is important. Once you reach a certain critical mass quantity might become a factor, but in the short term the right people is more important than lots of people.
To sum it up for all you hard working bees, it's great to fill the top of your funnel using social media, but if you're in it for business reasons, make sure your pollination results in some fruit that can be harvested!
How have you been using social media to help with generating leads for your business? Please share your thoughts in the comments section!
Photo credit: Antonio Machado
Video: How to Use Social Media for Lead Generation
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Originally published Sep 16, 2009 9:00:00 AM, updated March 21 2013