By Pawel Tomczyk
Gone are the days when you would get a call from a telemarketer in the middle of a meeting, trying to sell you something you had absolutely no wish to buy. Okay, you probably still get some calls like that but the fact of the matter is that most companies who know what they’re doing have moved on from this model of prospecting cold customers to actually doing inbound lead generation.
Lead Generation Explained
Lead generation is the process that happens one step before you actually start selling to a potential customer. It’s the process of converting strangers into people who’ve actually expressed an interest in your product or service.
Lead generation helps your sales team talk to customers or clients who have already shown some interest in what you’re trying to sell and have some level of awareness about the product. This makes the sales team’s job much easier. As can be seen from the diagram below, lead generation is the second stage in the sales funnel and comes right after converting strangers to visitors.
How Marketers Can Generate More Leads
Effective lead generation happens when you get a visitor to your website, blog, social media channel or email newsletter to express interest in your product, usually by filling up a form on a landing page. This is what the process looks like:
Here’s a breakdown of these common methods that marketers use to generate more leads.
Content marketing is a great way to go. Great content provides your visitors with free and useful information which is relevant to your product, and makes it much more likely that they’ll fill your landing page form.
Email is a good way to get those who have already subscribed to your newsletters to fill your landing page form and become a qualified lead. Most people’s inbox is full of spam these days, so it’s important to create good copy.
Social media platforms are one of the most effective ways to generate relevant leads for your business. Most leading social media platforms have a huge number of users (Facebook – 2.23 Billion, Instagram – 1 Billion, Twitter – 330 Million, LinkedIn – 467 Million) which gives businesses a chance to pitch to a major captive audience.
B2C vs B2B: The Differences In Social Media Lead Generation
To put it simply, B2C refers to businesses which sell products or services directly to consumers (e.g. shoes, mobile phones, and so on). B2B, on the other hand, refers to the situation where businesses sell products or services to other businesses (e.g. SaaS companies).
Both B2B and B2C businesses use social media to generate leads. However, there are some fundamental differences in which social media channels serve which kind of business better. To understand why we must first understand the fundamental differences between B2B and B2C businesses as outlined below.
Based on these differences, different social media channels are more suitable for B2B and B2C companies.
Social Media Channels for B2C
Since B2C marketing generally caters to a wider target audience, the social media channels to be used depend a lot on the kind of consumer you are targeting. Here are some commonly used social media guidelines when it comes to B2C marketing:
- Facebook – Facebook has the maximum user base and is, therefore, the go-to for all B2C marketers. It’s almost necessary to have a good Facebook marketing strategy for any established B2C brand.
- Instagram – 41% of Instagram users are 24 years or younger. If your product is “hip” or “trendy” or caters to a primarily younger audience, Instagram is your go-to social media channel.
- Twitter – While not always used as the primary marketing platform, Twitter is used by almost 65% of B2C marketers. It’s a great tool to provide quick customer service and build brand loyalty.
- LinkedIn – Although not usually seen as a great B2C marketing tool, many B2C brands do use LinkedIn as a major social media channel. This depends to a large extent on who your target audience is. For example, Starbucks (which targets young office goers and entrepreneurs) uses LinkedIn extensively, as do many education and skilling platforms.
Other channels like Pinterest, Youtube, and Snapchat also work for B2C marketers. Since B2C covers such a wide target group, the social media channels that a company uses depends mostly on their unique brand positioning.
Social Media Channels for B2B
While the jury is still out on B2C marketing, there is a clear winner when it comes to social media channels for B2B marketing. LinkedIn contributes to over 80% of all B2B leads from social media channels whereas all the others combined (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, etc) only provide 19.67%.
The reason for this is simple: out of LinkedIn’s 500 million-odd users, 61 million are senior level influencers and 40 million are decision makers. Moreover, LinkedIn is largely free from the personal chatter and clutter that is present in other social media channels. This makes it the most effective channel for B2B marketing by far. A survey by Social Media Examiner shows that 40% of marketers believe LinkedIn is the best platform for B2B marketing. The details can be seen in the graph below:
Is LinkedIn the Best Channel for Lead Generation?
LinkedIn is by far the most effective channel for B2B lead generation. It’s more clutter free than most other social media platforms, and the majority of users are executives. It also tends to have high conversion rates in cases of certain B2C products. It has a visitor-to-lead conversion rate of 2.74%, almost 3 times higher than both Twitter (.69%) and Facebook (.77%) combined!
So if you’re a B2B marketer or are marketing a B2C product whose target audience is active on LinkedIn, it can be one of the most effective social media channels for lead generation.