How to use social media for lead generation: The importance of content

Enterprise

The way consumers purchase products has changed. Discover how you can use the power of content to generate leads for your business

Social media has changed the way consumers’ research, and purchase, products. The same methods apply for business, with 72% of B2B buyers using social media during the buying process.

It has been found that the average consumer consults 10.4 sources when making a purchase decision, no matter the industry or the product. So how can companies manage to engage prospects while they travel through the purchase process?

The answer is through quality content. Whether its purpose is to grab the user’s attention and make them aware of your business, or to nurture prospects through the purchase funnel, high quality and original content is invaluable.

Content, when produced and executed effectively, can help establish your company as a market leader, as well as helping to generate leads. 50% of businesses state ‘thought leadership’ was their main goal for content marketing, with 45% of companies aiming for ‘customer acquisition.’

Read on to discover how you can use the power of content to transform your lead generation efforts.

1.   Step into your prospects’ shoes

Before you start producing new content, you need to be able to identify what your prospects want to discover and what motivates them. The key is to know your audience inside-out and then tailor your content to each decision maker.

5 Questions to ask to get into the mindset of your audience:

  1. What buying process do your prospects follow?
  2. What are their main pain points?
  3. What information do they need to inform a purchase?
  4. What are the key industry trends that will affect them?
  5. What channels do they use?

Once you have discovered this, you have the ability to clearly define what your audience is looking for, and you can then produce content that really adds value and resonates with your user base.

2.   Knowing what content works

You know your audience, but how do you discover what type of content resonates well? It varies by industry, but whitepapers are the most engaging content type. 82% of B2B professionals share whitepapers, with case studies (79%) and webinars (73%) proving to be effective at engaging users on social. When producing whitepapers, the key is to offer genuine insight and thought leadership that will resonate with your audience. Base your whitepaper on a strong piece of research – this will add credibility to your whitepaper and combine this with a strong author, ideally an industry influencer, to ensure that your content travels further.

When producing your content – ask yourself the question: ‘Would I give my details to receive this?’ The aim is to create content that can sit behind landing pages on your website, with the user having to input their information such as their name, email address and company name, to receive the content.

Having an exclusive and original piece of content is an effective way at doing this, as the user receives something valuable in exchange for giving their details.  Once you have their details, you can then follow up with useful content that will help them via email campaigns, direct them to industry-specific offers or invite them to relevant upcoming industry events that you are running.

3.   Using content in the lead generation process

Social media is all about visuals such as infographics, Slideshares and videos to highlight your message.  Create a selection of assets that can drive traffic to your landing pages from social media and test what is most effective for driving clicks and engagement.

In addition to raising awareness through social platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, content is effective at engaging prospects further down the purchase funnel. It is not enough to just collect passive Facebook likes and Twitter followers in the hope that they will purchase, the key is offering insightful content to your followers on social media that directly relates to their role or solves problems for them. 37% of B2B decision makers post questions in social media looking for supplier suggestions, so engaging them and getting involved in discussions – while directing them to a piece of content that solves their problems – is an effective way of doing so.

The same applies for giving your sales team a reason to contact prospects. If you have a prospect in the retail industry and have produced an in-depth whitepaper on the key challenges affecting the retail industry with advice on how to solve them, sending them the content is an effective way at nurturing prospects without appearing to be overbearing.

What content have you produced that has resonated well with your target audience? Let us know and comment below or tweet your thoughts to @BlackBerry4Biz

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