Thursday, January 28, 2010

Five Ways Social Media Will Generate More Leads

Yes, lead generation starts with getting attention and good headlines are one of many components. Of course there are more ways to get attention than headlines, and social media provides many opportunities. In the context of generating leads for a complex type of sale, integrating social media is becoming essential. I’ll define complex sale for B2B and B2C products and services in the following way; in the case of B2B it is usually for business mission critical products and services, like enterprise software, strategic business consulting, and/or decisions that touch many departments in a company and have a significant financial investment. In the case of B2C it is usually a higher ticket item, that will have a long duration of usage, where there is a potentially strong brand attachment opportunity; products such as appliances, computers, and vehicles are examples.

Second, in the world of long sales cycles, relationship building, and credibility I believe the following are essential elements to generate leads:

  1. 1. Content that is valued by the audience (beyond the headline, content does matter)
  2. 2. Formats that are most powerful (all formats are afford, using video, audio, and mash-ups are effective)
  3. 3. Frequency that generates SEO benefits (In this search engine dominated era you have to be known for something, and that something must be indexed by search engines)
  4. 4. Community participation (It is anti-social to think your company is the center of the universe)
  5. 5. Thinking like a reporter ( I think I coined term is the embedded corporate journalist)

In this podcast with Mark Palony, former digital marketing manager for the enterprise software company Softbrands, we discuss the social media tactics he used in conjunction with traditional marketing tactics. Disclosure: Mark and Softbrands were a long-time client until a much larger company Infor purchased Softbrands last summer.

Over the course of years, Palony integrated video, audio podcasts, audio and video soundbites specifically for individual sales cycles, blogging, community participation, and Twitter, among other social elements, as part of a comprehensive marketing program. These components allowed Softbrands to develop a greater relationship with prospects while establishing credibility among its intended audiences. Examples of integrating social media in the B2B enterprise software lead generation include:

  • Video channel with customer stories about implementing SoftBrands inside manufacturing plants.
  • Using Twitter to build relationships with SAP marketing and subject matter experts. (this enabled Softbrands, and SAP partner gain greater exposure within SAP)
  • Effective digital assets developed for sales process (A video and audio library of relevant content used by sales and in conjunction with blog posts, Twitter commentary, and community comments.)

Social Media Today LLC © 2010