Posted 01.31.2020 by Meghan Crawford
No growth strategy is complete without a robust plan to acquire leads.
If you’re a human that sells to other humans, there’s a high probability you can reach those people on social media platforms.
Once you reach them, how do you collect their information and convert them into a potential buyer?
We have some ideas for that…
On a daily basis we analyze marketing funnel metrics from our clients B2B social media campaigns. After reviewing the most successful campaigns of the past year, we’ve outlined the top 15 tactics you can use to take your social media lead generation to the next level in 2021.
This article will present more than a dozen opportunities you can test right away. It’s up to you to prioritize social media lead generation campaigns based on two main factors.
As a team, ask yourselves:
Potential is a key word here. We’re making an educated guess.
Before embarking on any social execution, ask:
A straightforward way of determining the potential impact of a new tactic is to review past case studies, research public/industry benchmarks, and ask peers with experience. Then, create a model that projects out the good, better, and best case scenario.
Keep in mind that the revenue attributed to some social media tactics are difficult to quantity. Tactics that are primarily measured with social media KPIs like fans, comments, and views shouldn’t be compared to direct response initiatives.
Cost is a crucial factor you can’t ignore.
Marketers have finite resources to generate leads, so some channels or tactics will be ruled out based on cost alone.
For every social media lead generation initiative you evaluate, ask:
Make sure that your social media goals are attainable based on your means. You want goals that are ambitious enough to motivate you, but also realistic, so you don’t give up quickly.
Once you have an idea of potential impact and potential cost, you can start ranking your efforts to build the most effective campaign. Use the following formula to prioritize your social media tactics:
Here’s a list of the top social media tactics to generate leads in 2021:
We’ll go into detail on each tactic and how to use it for lead generation. We’ll also give you examples so that you have a better idea of how it works.
You have to come prepared if you want to achieve your revenue goals for social media in 2021.
Testing social media tactics is only half the battle. You’ll also require the proper tools to convert your new leads into opportunities.
Here’s what you need to set up your B2B social media strategy for success:
The more compelling your offer is, the more likely you’ll convert people into leads.
Weak offers such as “contact us today!” won’t get you far. Here are examples of compelling offers you can use to convert qualified leads from social:
If you want to convert top-of-funnel social leads into sales qualified leads (that are open to your conversion offer), you’ll need effective email campaigns to nurture them. Here’s how to do it:
Compiling your email list should be a priority for all B2B brands. Fast-track your list building by offering prospects valuable, actionable information in exchange for permission to contact them.
Gated content can include e-books, guides, case studies, or free tools.
Here are some tips on how to find and market your email offer:
Now, back to the list.
Paid Social Lead Generation Tips
Let’s take a look at the two forms of paid social you can use for your B2B lead generation campaign: Ads and influencers.
Paid advertising can turn your social media accounts into goldmines for driving new leads – if you have the right strategy.
Will all that clutter, brands must find new ways to stand out in the user’s feed.
That’s where social media ads come in. Ads give you the possibility to boost your post and show up in front of your audience.
LinkedIn and Facebook make it ridiculously easy to collect leads on the platform via their built-in lead gen forms.
When every impression and action costs money, every click counts. With built-in forms, you can reduce the friction of filling in every form field manually. At Sculpt, we see form completion (conversion rates) between 15-50%.
Here’s how LinkedIn Lead ads work:
Check out this great example from NetRivals. NetRivals is a SaaS company that helps businesses compare their prices with competition in the market. In the example below, leads can instantly sign up for a free product demo of their service on LinkedIn when they click ‘more information’.
Facebook has a similar option for users with a business account. Instead of being led to a landing page, customers receive a form on Facebook where they can sign up for your offer quickly.
Here’s how Facebook lead gen forms work:
Retargeting leads with interactive video ads is one of the most powerful tactics you can use.
The reason why you want to retarget a prospect depends on the situation. For example, maybe someone clicked on your service page but didn’t fill out a form. Or, you just want to retarget blog visitors based on where they are in the sales funnel (information seeking).
When it comes to retargeting, Facebook has a feature that sets them apart from other ad networks and can deliver you leads.
With Engagement Custom Audiences, you can retarget people who watched a specific duration of your video—and show them another video.
Effectively, you can funnel prospects through the buyers’ journey by nurturing them with very targeted videos.
Here are our top tips on how to use video retargeting the right way to funnel in prospects:
Airtable does a great job of that in this Facebook ad:
Similarly to retargeting video viewers, you can retarget website visitor custom audiences with offers or promotions around your products.
Here’s a list of possible suggestions you can use for social ad campaigns:
You can also retarget known contacts in your CRM with personalized messaging.
If you are struggling with nurturing leads, retargeting subscribers with a tripwire offer could be for you.
Tripwire offers have been used as a marketing tactic before the internet was even made. It consists of providing potential leads with an irresistible, low-cost, ‘foot-in-the-door’ offer they can’t refuse.
For example, you could be selling a course that costs around $1,500. (Or because it’s the internet, let’s call it $1,497). Very few people are willing to invest that much money without building considerable trust first.
So what do you do? Retarget your subscribers with a different offer.
For instance, if you create a mini-version of your course, you could offer that for a lower cost to create a customer. DigitalMarketer.com uses this tactic to retarget prospects on Facebook with $7 digital resources, like a Social Media Swipe File.
The goal here is to come close to break-even on the customer acquisition cost, then upsell them to new and better offers to increase their lifetime value.
A SaaS firm might accomplish this with a trial offer of your core product, like Moz.
Or use a product-based freemium offer like HubSpot does to show them value right away.
Social media ads are excellent for driving traffic to webinars and video tripwire offers.
You can use native lead forms on LinkedIn and Facebook to promote your webinar or tripwire offers and sync their data to your on-demand video platform.
ClickFunnels often uses social ads to promote its on-demnad webinars. In exchange for their information (on a ClickFunnels landing page of course), their video presentations offer tips for entrepreneurs who want to know how to grow their business.
Convincing your prospective lead to hand over their valuable personal information means that you need to be offering something of equal or greater value.
So, that begs the question, what is valuable to your lead?
Do some research into what your audience wants explicitly and the issues they’re going through. From there, you can promote gated, downloadable content that aims to resolve their challenges.
Here’s a great example from Credo. This Facebook ad targets users with the specific pain point of needing to hire a marketing agency – it’s valuable content for the prospect and attracts qualified leads for Credo (a marketing agency marketplace).
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a hot trend in the world of B2B marketing. The method consists of using sales and marketing channels to target specific organizations, and tailor your message to a specific individual’s challenges and goals in their role.
The key to using ABM on social media is to track key accounts across different social channels and listen to their conversations. Ask yourself these questions:
From there, you can create targeted content that speaks to their pain points and motivations. You can then promote the educational and conversion offers with hyper-targeted ads on social media that coordinate with other channels and familiarize the prospects with your company.
ABM requires precise, firmographic-based targeting. You can unlock this capability in one of 3 ways:
There are two ways you can generate leads with Facebook Messenger: Messenger ads and Messenger bots.
In fact, the two go hand-in-hand.
Since 2017, Facebook has offered business accounts the ability to launch ads that, when clicked, start a chat on Messenger. The user can continue the conversation by directly replying with a message.
The key to making this work is to make your offer compelling. Once the right prospect clicks on the ad, it’s up to you to nurture them in the chat to convert.
To add more value, Facebook launched “automated lead generation” back in August 2019. Once a user clicks on the messenger ad, they get sent a series of questions they can answer with pre-filled responses.
It’s a new feature that will be familiar to anyone that’s experimented with chat bots.
According to Facebook, advertisers are already seeing great results with the feature. RIFT Tax, a UK-based financial services company, used the new campaign format to increase marketing qualified leads by 42%. Compared with phone followups, RIFT Tax was able to respond to leads in less than 10 minutes resulting in an 18% higher lead resolve rate.
Few companies know how to use Messenger lead generation campaigns better than MobileMonkey. MobileMonkey is a chatbot builder that helps entrepreneurs optimize their conversational marketing campaigns to generate sales.
Their own marketing is proof that Messenger ads work. To generate their own leads, they run Messenger campaigns that lead prospects down a nurture funnel—without ever leaving the platform!
Influencer marketing is a super effective strategy to drive leads on social media—especially in a B2B context. Influencers can boost brand awareness of your product, increase web traffic to conversion landing pages, and carry your product marketing message to a lucrative, new audience.
Why Influencer Marketing?
People buy what other people want.
Influencers on social media have a cult following of dedicated fans. Their follower base trusts them and are willing to consider whatever product recommendations they promote.
Where do you come in all of this? You can use the endorsement of an influencer to promote your product or service. The influencer gets paid and you get to build credibility and social proof to drive more customers to your website.
The stats don’t lie:
The American Express Model:
American Express is on the cutting edge of Influencer marketing with both their B2C and B2B efforts. So what are they doing and why is it working so well?
Having an advertising budget of nearly $3 billion probably helps, but there are some other key factors to their success:
1) They use the right social channels for their product.
American Express is a massive global company with a significant presence on every social media channel. However, they’ve chosen to concentrate their influencer marketing efforts mainly on Instagram and LinkedIn.
Instagram is a visual platform, the better to show off their product which is not, in fact, the credit card itself.
The Amex product is all the things the credit card can do for your lifestyle, or in the case of B2B, your business: airline rewards, cash back on business expenses, travel perks like private airport lounges, etc.
So how do you sell those intangible things? Of course, you can’t take a picture of airline points. But you can snap a selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower and tap out a caption about how much you saved by using points.
Enter the #amexambassadors, Instagram influencers with glamorous, enviable lifestyles.
While Amex targets both B2C and B2B on Instagram, they take a more precise approach to B2B on LinkedIn.
CEOs, small business owners, digital nomads, and other entrepreneurial influencers on LinkedIn use #amexambassadors to share how American Express helps them run their companies. While their engagement numbers are significantly smaller than those on Instagram, the value of those likes, comments, and shares is exponentially higher.
Amex knows that their LinkedIn influencers are reaching their target audience of other entrepreneurs, business owners, or high-level decision makers at larger companies.
2) They target niche audiences.
American Express Canada recently rolled out their Business Edge card and launched a campaign targeting entrepreneurs and small business owners. More than 40 business owners partnered with American Express Canada for the campaign.
The social and digital creatives feature a few of the influencers, including hockey star Fred VanVleet; cofounder of beauty company Nudestix, Taylor Frankel; and Toronto chef and restaurant owner, Grant van Gameren.
Each of these entrepreneurs appeals to a different niche audience – restaurateurs, start-up owners, sports fans. By varying the type of business owners they featured in the campaign, American Express Canada was able to reach a wider audience over all.
There’s also the added benefit that each entrepreneur can speak to different pain points and how American Express Business Edge solves them, thereby showcasing different aspects of the product.
Another way that American Express varies their approach to influencer marketing and targets niche audiences is by partnering with micro-influencers. Take for example travel blogger Melissa Lau. Her Instagram account has fewer than 50k followers, but she’s an #amexambassador.
Her following is smaller but highly engaged. When she talks about the perks of using her Amex Platinum card for her business (running a lucrative travel blog and jet setting all over the world) her audience views it like they would a recommendation from a friend, rather than a celebrity pushing a product on them.
View this post on Instagram
I’ve struck gold (or, well, platinum in this case). As a small business owner who travels a lot, @americanexpressuk helps me get more from my business expenses. Not only do I earn 1 Membership Rewards point for every £1 I spend on the Card, I’m able to also earn one additional point for every £1 spent when I book my flights, hotels, car hire or experiences through American Express Travel. This allows me to get the maximum benefits of essential business tasks I’m already doing #AmexBusinessPlatinum #a d #AmexAmbassador Terms apply. Annual fee £595.
3) They value authenticity.
American Express recognizes that consumers are more savvy than ever. They are likely to distrust high-production ads, which is why influencer marketing has become such an effective tool. Customers (and yes, B2B clients are still customers) want authenticity. A good influencer will work your ad seamlessly into their feed, keeping the same tone, content, and visual themes. Anything else strikes the audience as jarring and inauthentic.
So, you can’t just hand an influencer a cookie-cutter script and expect it to work.
Even though Amex works with hundreds of influencers, they’re highly selective about who they work with. The partnership must be a good fit for both the company’s brand and the influencer’s personal brand.
Despite being a brand associated with luxury lifestyles, American Express doesn’t set a production quality standard in their influencer partnerships. Consistency and authenticity are the most important factors in building and retaining followers’ trust.
Walter Frye, the vice president of global engagement at American Express, explains their thought process: “We want anything that they produce for us to live organically beside anything that they’re creating that’s not for us. We want the production quality to mirror their other posts” (via eMarketer).
The Squarespace Model:
Squarespace is another big player in the B2B influencer marketing scene. They approach things a little differently than American Express, though. Instead of paying for a post that speaks directly about their product, Squarespace seeks out the content their target audience is already consuming and then puts their product in front of them through a sponsorship. It’s a great way to harness that OTP (other people’s audiences).
Of course, Squarespace isn’t the only company sponsoring content like this. Far from it.
But they’re a great example because of how prolific they are in their sponsorships. Seriously, they’re everywhere. In fact, we’re willing to bet you’ve probably seen a Squarespace sponsored video from one or more of your favorite YouTube creators.
So how is this different from just buying ad placement?
Sponsoring an influencer’s content is much more intentional than just building an advertising campaign in Google Adwords and hitting send. For one thing, you know exactly which videos (or podcasts or blog posts or Instagram TV episodes, the opportunities are endless) your ads are appearing on.
For another, it’s not an ad so much as it’s a two-way endorsement. Just because an ad pops up on a YouTube video doesn’t mean the creator endorses whatever that ad is selling. Sometimes, it’s not even relevant to their content. The same isn’t true for a sponsored episode.
By sponsoring an episode or even a whole series, you’re telling the influencer’s audience that you support the show. And the creators are saying the same thing about your product or service – they like it enough to give it air time on their platform and recommend it to their followers.
That’s a far more powerful method of social selling.
Organic Social Media Lead Generation Tips
Using organic reach to generate leads on social media can be a headache for many B2B brands.
First of all, measuring ROI with organic reach is difficult. It’s tough to know how much revenue each comment or ‘like’ brings for your business.
Second, it’s twice the work. You’ll have to keep up with algorithm updates and focus on delivering top-notch content.
Before you bang your head against the wall, we’ve highlighted top examples of what you can do to generate B2B leads with organic reach.
Let’s dive in.
Social media has a reputation for being just the highlight reel (lookin’ at you, Instagram). But the truth is, it’s also a place where people talk about their likes, dislikes, and problems. And it’s a two-way channel.
With a little bit of social listening and some strategically timed DMs, you can be the brand that has the solution to those problems. DMs work so well because they’re simple, personal, and get straight to the point.
Here’s how you can use DM to generate B2B leads on social in four simple steps:
Why spend your time chasing leads if you can get them to come to you? When someone is considering working with you they’re likely to view your profile. Make sure your profile is inviting them to connect and take action. Here’s how to optimize your LinkedIn profile to drive more leads:
Gary Vee’s LinkedIn profile is an excellent example – from the eye-catching branded header image to the impressive headline to the numerous endorsements and recommendations, the whole page highlights his experience and credibility. Plus, it’s prime real estate to advertise his many businesses.
There’s nothing new about using contests and giveaways to grow your audience and business online. It’s one of the most effective ways to interact with your existing audience and also generate new leads you can nurture later.
Different types of social media giveaways include:
Wishpond collaborates with other companies to provide extra value in their giveaways. In this post, for example, they’ve partnered up with Gorgias to create an e-commerce toolkit. By partnering with another brand on their giveaway, they’ve doubled the value of their offer and audience without doubling their out-of-pocket expenses.
Social media platforms have various rules when it comes to running contests on social media. Here are links to the guidelines for each major platform:
One of the simplest ways to turn your social media into a lead generation machine is to add bio links on your page.
Your bio link can direct users to promotions, discounts, or downloadable gated content. You can use branded links to not only determine how many clicks you received but also which device they came from.
Facebook and LinkedIn both offer the opportunity to join groups related to your niche. These groups consist of discussion of relevant topics in your industry and participation from members.
Generating new leads means you have to position yourself as a brand customers can trust. And what better way to do this than by contributing to these groups?
Here are various ways you can use groups to build authority:
As you become more and more active, people will take notice and start seeing you as a thought leader in the industry. You can also start your own group from scratch and build a new audience from there.
By following our tips above, you’ll have everything you need to create B2B lead generation strategy from scratch, gain an edge over the competition, and crush your goals in 2021. It’s now time to start testing different campaigns and go from there.
Want to learn more about B2B social media strategy? Check out these other posts to build your best social media playbook:
Updated January 2020.
Which social media platform is BEST for generating B2B leads?
In most cases, the answer is Facebook or LinkedIn when it comes to quality, volume, and cost.
LinkedIn is hands-down a must for B2B companies. Since you’re mostly targeting business-decision makers, LinkedIn offers the best lead generation opportunities out there.
However, that’s no reason to shy away from traditional platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
With all of the tactics detailed in this guide, you should be able to adapt and be versatile across different platforms. You just have to go out there and test what works for you!
How do I know if I’m generating qualified leads from social media?
It’s true generating tons of leads is good, but it means nothing if none convert.
Lead quality is an issue for many B2B marketers. The best way to determine if you’re generating quality leads from social media is to look at the conversation rates throughout the funnel and measure your attributed revenue from your campaigns. How many of your leads have converted into sales qualified leads? What about Opportunities? What is the expected value of that pipeline?
BTW — this is exactly we’re a social media agency that exclusively recommends HubSpot as a marketing/sales CRM.
I tried social ads but didn’t get great results. How can Sculpt do it better?
Here at Sculpt, our goal is to generate quality leads for your business within only 100 days.
Each of our clients goes through our unique process to find out what works best for you. Here’s what you’ll get when you onboard with us: