How Effective is Social Media for B2B Lead Generation – Really?
When we set out to answer this question for ourselves, we were surprised at the range of responses from those we interviewed and surveyed: some generate 40% or more of their leads through social media, while there are those who are yet to see any positive results from engaging in social media lead generation. And so we asked ourselves:
What’s the key factor between those who are successfully generating B2B leads via social media and those who find social media to be a waste of time?
What’s the difference between those who boldly dominate their niche online and those who timidly dabble in social media, never getting the results they see others achieving?
In a nutshell, it’s their intention when on a social media platform – what they expect to achieve.
Let’s face it, the intention of most sales and marketing professionals is simply to generate a lead. And so they create complex marketing funnels, with valuable pieces of content in the hope of exchanging their content for contact details. They then invest time, energy and money driving potential prospects to targeted landing pages.
What we have found, though, is that there are many potential B2B prospects who will want to click on your ads and download your content, or follow interesting links to your blog. In one case we achieved a form conversion rate of over 21% — in the B2B space this is almost unheard of. What we discovered, though, is that most of the “leads” were either independent consultants (probably curious to see how our marketing worked) or job seekers (wanting to educate themselves in hope that would help them land their next job). We received a steady stream of leads, but very few were remotely qualified to buy from us, despite meeting some very strict filtering criteria.
And so, after spending nearly 6 months researching corporate use of social media, we’re confidently saying what needs to be said:
“The traditional methods of using social media to generate B2B leads – those punted by the increasing number of self-proclaimed social media ‘gurus’ – is a complete waste of time. It frustrates and saddens us to see so many well-intentioned but misled business development professionals spend hours trying methods that do not work and then discounting the platforms themselves, instead of discounting the methods. “These methods include:
- Incessantly posting motivational quotes, cute pictures and business advice from others to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter;
- Using LinkedIn groups to blast inappropriate messages to unsuspecting individuals; and,
- Answering questions on LinkedIn to prove their expertise.
There’s no doubt that social media can be a huge contributor to a company’s B2B lead generation efforts. But how successful your efforts are depends on what you are trying to achieve, and direct lead generation is no longer as effective as it was only a year ago.
That said, in our studies, we found that traffic from LinkedIn generated the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate at 2.74%, almost 3 times higher than both Twitter (.69%) and Facebook (.77%).
LinkedIn’s conversion rate also outranked social media as a channel overall. In other words, of all the traffic generated via social media, .98% of that traffic converted into leads, compared to LinkedIn’s 2.74%.
So, why might LinkedIn be the most efficient social channel for lead generation, and how can you use that to your advantage?
Why is LinkedIn such a powerful lead generation tool?
People join LinkedIn to showcase their career, work expertise, and find content and information to make their professional lives better. So businesses who target other businesses will naturally find a higher concentration of their target market on LinkedIn. Also, when someone visits LinkedIn, the person is most likely in a business-focused mindset, helping business’ content perform inherently better.
Less content is generally posted to LinkedIn than to other social networks, which is probably because people almost exclusively post marketing-related content as opposed to their children’s photos or social “chatter.” This means there is less clutter on LinkedIn, making a person capable of consuming a higher percentage of the content that’s active on LinkedIn at any given time. In other words, a business’ marketing posts are more likely to be noticed on LinkedIn than somewhere else.
How to Leverage LinkedIn for B2B Lead Generation
1. Clarify your intention. Are you simply trying to generate names and email addresses or are you setting out to authentically help those who are not yet customers? You can safely ignore the current ‘wisdom’ that claims you should post valuable content far and wide in exchange for contact details. While this method may have worked 12 months ago, it is no longer as effective.
2. Understand and leverage the power of your network. The most valuable part of your network are the contacts of those you have already delivered a valuable service to you, who are willing to refer your excellent reputation to their contacts. How you make this happen needs to be carefully planned and executed, since your contacts have their own reputation to maintain.
Free Lead Generation Strategy Session
If you’re serious about using LinkedIn or other social media to drive new business, why not talk to one of our experts for a no-obligation review of your current or planned lead generation activities. We offer a free 30-45min strategy session to give you clear pointers in the right direction.
In this strategy session, we’ll review your entire LinkedIn profile and company page, including Headline, Keywords, Summary, Recommendations, Groups and personal Network. We’ll then end the session with at least 3 social lead generation tips which you can implement immediately.
Currently available sessions:
Why are we offering a free strategy session?
Good question! Quite frankly, we’re fed up with the bad advice you find online in every direction you turn. LinkedIn is a powerful tool for lead generation – we know this from the results we produce in our own business. If we can provide real value to you in this call you might then be interested in how we can help you achieve your business growth goals further.
We obviously can’t work with everyone who applies for the free strategy session, so please tell us a little more about you.