As you set your business and marketing priorities for the coming year, you may wonder just how much time, attention and resources to devote to social media lead generation. You could base your decision on how you feel about social media.
However, we suggest basing your decision on how your customers and potential clients feel about social media when it comes to making their purchasing decisions. And the jury is already in on that. They use social media and will continue to do so.
Simply put, social media is where the customers are. You need to be there too.
Experts can say whatever they want to, but it’s the numbers that don’t lie. Let’s look at what the numbers say.
- 62 percent of the adult population uses social media;
- Social commerce sales topped $9 billion in 2012;
- Nearly half of all marketers saw increases in sales owing to social media campaigns;
- And 80 percent of social media users in the United States prefer to connect with businesses and brands through Facebook.
The data clearly shows that customers and prospects are out there on social media and in many cases, they’re seeking you out. Using social media for lead generation, then, is simply a matter of meeting customers where they already are.
The Buying Cycle
In many cases, by the time a customer starts interacting with you, they have independently completed about 60 percent of the buying cycle. They have educated themselves about you and your competitors and evaluated your services to see if you can fit their need. In many cases, they’re using social media to do their independent research.
Using social media for lead generation means that you are proactively providing the information your prospects are looking for. You meet them at the first stage of the buying cycle, awareness, rather than at stage three or four. By then, you may have already lost out to a competitor.
Expanding Your Sphere of Influence
Another exciting aspect about social media lead generation is the infinite possibilities it presents to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
You can do this in several ways. First, use social media wisely to share thought-provoking, engaging and educational content. Secondly, branch out into other social media channels like Pinterest or Google+. Find out what channels your prospects use and capture those customers who see value outside of the Facebook realm.
As you plan your business priorities for the year, base those priorities on the needs and habits of your customers. And your customers prove time and again that social media matters for your business.