Brands have come to a bit of a crossroads on social media. That crossroads came about mainly because the initial approach to social was firmly locked down into one area: brand amplification.

Marketing on Facebook and Twitter seemed to be just that, a way to get your message across and hopefully use the platforms to build a fanbase. But it has changed in recent times to become an arena that allows for a pretty effective lead generation.

Sure, you still have to pay your way through ads, but each social media platform has ways and means of boosting your lead generation efforts. This is good news for everyone.

The State Of Social Media Customer Support In The Year 2016

Take Facebook. The hoary old behemoth has been the stuff of legend when it comes to lead generation, and it’s not all about paying for ads. Or Twitter, which has a lot more to offer in the lead generation stakes than you might think.

Before you do anything, though, make sure you are totally focused on the platforms that make sense for you. We still can’t think of any brand that has a place on all platforms (if you can, call us, we’re intrigued).

Find a platform or two that is perfect for your product, service and audience and use that as a springing point for your lead generation campaigns. This gives you a good chance of success from the outset because at least the people you want to reach will be there.

Twitter

Underappreciated by many for lead generation purposes, the Blue Bird has Twitter Cards, and that is one of the very best ways to use the platform if you want interested customers.

Keep your message on the cards short and sweet and always, always use high quality images when presenting your offer. The cards are inexpensive, and they allow for plenty of tracking through Twitter’s own tracking support. You can’t go wrong.

Events

You can organise a tweet meet on Twitter and generally offer advice and information on subjects and topics that your audience will want to know more about. Do this right and you’ll bring a ton of people to your event on Twitter.

Ask Me Anything (AMA) is a prime example that is only now starting to hit its stride. And when the event is over, you bet people will want to find out more about you.

Tracking

Hit your analytics and metrics and watch to see who is talking about you. Because they are talking about you, this means they genuinely either like you or loathe you. You can win on both counts. With negative stuff, help out and apologise. This makes you human and possibly opens up the door to leads as people realise you’re not Satan and his followers.

By helping out and retweeting stuff that people say about you on a nice level, you’re showing that, yeah, you really are cool. This will bring leads over time. Okay, it’s not as big and as fast as Cards, but it certainly builds a powerful fan base over time. And that will turn into leads.

Facebook Customer Support 2016

You can use Locowise Sentiment Analysis to identify tweets (whether positive or negative) that you should respond to or retweet.

Instagram

Let’s face it, you all jumped on Instagram because you heard about people getting new business off it. And you’re right about this, people can gain leads through Instagram, it’s entirely possible.

Comments and engagement

Engagement is key on Instagram for lead generation. If you respond to comments in your feed, this makes you approachable, and people will more likely think of you when they’re looking to buy their next beanie hat (if that’s what you sell).

Seriously, ramping up the engagement there on a regular level will gain you even more feedback, and a situation where people actually start to keep you top of mind the next time they want to make a purchase.

And it’s good old-fashioned slow-burn lead generation.

Facebook Customer Support 2016

Hashtag with caution

Hashtags have not yet died the death that so many pundits thought they would. They’re tougher than that. And on Instagram they are a powerful force.

But get creative. Don’t just use your brand name, but focus on using the hashtag as micro-advertising. If you sell eggs, use something like #worldsbesteggs. Okay, you may not find this through search (even if you’re looking for half-decent eggs) but once people have found out about the hashtag, they’ll spread the word, and you’ll gain leads.

Take a look at Locowise Trending Hashtags to identify interesting and popular hashtags that people in your audience engage with.

Facebook

Okay, they can be very annoying if they are overused or just even badly written, but Facebook Ads are still better value than many other ad sources. They’re still cheaper than Adwords, for example.

Use the same principles as we stated with Twitter. Photos rule, as do short and engaging text elements. And sure, the audience is huge, but just make sure you know who you are targeting.

You can use the Locowise platform to add your Facebook ads account, and therefore receive data and analytics even quicker (and it’s a darn sight sexier too).

Facebook Customer Support Replies 2016

Use Facebook properly

The best piece of advice we can give outside of paid ads is to use Facebook as a one-stop shop for your lead generation. Don’t see it just as a simple page, but fill it to the brim (or as much as taste allows) with custom tabs and calls-to-action.

It’s more likely people will find you on Facebook first anyway these days. Give them every reason to stay there and make sure they can buy your stuff directly through your Facebook page. Use custom tags to encourage opt-ins and sign ups, and always link to your website so they can contact you there if they wish.

Guiding principles

With any kind of lead generation, anywhere, whether paid or free, you will always have to be fully aware of being in the right place. Your prospects will need to be there when you’re fishing for leads. If they’re somewhere else, you’re wasting your money and time.

Use the analytics and metrics at your disposal to find out how big your reach is, and how strong your engagement is on whichever platform you’re looking at. If both are looking strong (and to be honest, engagement is what you’re really looking for) then you have a place you can legitimately pay for leads, as well as mount long-term lead gen campaigns.

To get the very best metrics available on your social media (and we mean the very best) try Locowise free for 14 days. Nine out of ten fun and exciting brands (probably) prefer it.