It’s one of the top questions I get asked as a social media manager:
How do I know if my social media efforts are translating to meaningful leads?
And honestly, the answer can be tricky.
Social media leads are often “soft” leads. This means that while followers, likes, and shares are great for brand awareness (and super important for the growth of your business), they’re not always indicative of who is going to buy your product or service.
Still, that online activity is a critical step toward influencing your audience, creating consistent and authentic engagement, and eventually encouraging them to take an action that converts into an actual lead.
So, what can you do to make that process happen?
Let’s dive into how to convert social media followers!
There are a few simple steps you can take that make a big difference:
Step 1: Be specific about how you nurture your leads.
A hard lead means you have a person who’s already shown potential interest in your product or service. When this is the case, you can “nurture” that lead by presenting them with a targeted offering: a free trial, a phone consultation, a webinar/workshop, etc. But if you’re dealing with softer leads as we often are on social media, you have to be a little, well, softer with your approach as well. (You don’t want to scare them off with too much “sales” talk.)
This leads me to…
Step 2: Provide valuable, must-have resources.
To keep your followers coming back for more, provide them with tangible resources to show them that you’re a trusted source of information that’s always here to help. (When people believe in your brand, they’re more likely to buy down the road!)
I’m talking about things like free guides or tip sheets, special offer downloads, or how-to videos. For example, I have a shared link on my social media pages dedicated to free, downloadable resources that I regularly promote, and they consistently attract interest from potential clients!
Make these things available to all your followers, and you’ll be able to see who takes advantage and who could potentially become a hard lead down the road. Just remember to ask for an email address or make them log on to your website to gain access to these resources, so you can capture their information and continue to reach out directly through email newsletters or targeted campaigns.
Step 3: Don’t make people work too hard to become a customer.
Just like you should provide potential customers with free information, give them plenty of opportunities to learn more about your specific business — and make it easy!
People want what they want in today’s on-demand world, and they want it FAST, so don’t make them scour your website or social media pages looking for what they need. Make sure your pages (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) are clear, consistent, and optimized with all the information a potential customer could be searching for.
This includes linking to email subscription signups, free downloads, event signups, and purchasing opportunities directly through your social media channels. By making it as simple as possible for them to get more information about your business (both immediately and through a long-term relationship like digital newsletters), you’ll be more likely to develop a trusted relationship with your potential customer and turn that into business in the future.
Step 4: Engage consistently and authentically.
Your followers are smart and can see through phony efforts to “connect.” So, how can you stand apart as an authentic source that they’d potentially like to do business with?
While posting is essential, it’s equally important to spend time interacting with your followers every day. I suggest spending 15 minutes each day responding to comments, leaving comments on other people’s posts, and engaging in Stories.
A small amount of time will set you apart and make you feel like a real person to your followers — not just some account with a face. In fact, the most leads our clients get come straight from DMs. So take a few minutes to nurture those conversations in a casual way, and I think you’ll see that some of those interactions will turn into more direct questions about what you do and how they can do business with you.
Step 5: Measure your success by tracking analytics.
Like with all your marketing efforts, you must track results to optimize your efforts, and you can do this through social media analytics and insights.
This doesn’t have to be complicated; try out different post topics, themes, images, timing, and promotions and see how they do in terms of likes, shares, saves, and comments. (If you want to get a little more specific, you can also see when people visit your website based on a particular social media post and track that correlation for future marketing campaigns.)
With this data in hand, you’ll know what works and what doesn’t, and you’ll be able to better customize your strategies and effectiveness in the future.
Most importantly, you want to become a trusted resource for your followers. You know their needs, wants, and challenges better than anyone else, so hook them in by posting consistently and answering their biggest questions. Start conversations, ask them what they’re struggling with, and then share information that can make a difference in their lives.
And don’t forget to provide proof of what makes your business great. Tell your story, post reviews and testimonials from happy customers, and be transparent about what’s going on with your business. If people feel comfortable with you, they’re more likely to do business with you!