Category: Leads · 7 min read
Using Social Media to Drive Leads
on August 28, 2018
on August 28, 2018
“You can’t drive leads with social media.” Have you ever heard someone say that? Don’t listen to them.
Financial professionals can, and do, drive sales leads using sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to attract attention, funnel leads to their website or business, and convert new customers. All it takes is simply adding a little strategic thinking to your social media profile management.
While the financial services industry presents specific challenges in leveraging social media to drive leads, they can be overcome. Here’s our rundown on how to successfully drive leads with social media.
The Social Media Lead-Generation Challenges
One challenge for financial professionals to drive leads through social media is a “sales first” mindset. Your social network audience probably wants the exact opposite. Think of it this way: You go to search engines to find answers to questions or solutions to problems. That means you are in active buying mode. But, when you’re on social networks, you’re being social—looking at pictures of your friends or their children, connecting with your own children, or seeing what your friends are doing.
You are in interacting mode, not buying mode.
So, if someone walks in your virtual room with a megaphone blasting, “Buy my stuff! Shop here now!”, it’s a major turn-off.
In order to successfully drive leads on social media, you have to counter-intuitively begin by participating, not selling.
If someone walks in your virtual room with a megaphone blasting, “Buy my stuff! Shop here now!”, it’s a major turn-off.
Instead, establish yourself as an active member of the network. This means engage in conversations and participate along with everyone else, and perhaps provide useful information and ideas from time to time. When you do that, you’ll earn the right to say, “Here’s what I do. If you’re interested in this type of thing, let me tell you more about it.”
How to Drive Leads Using Social Media
The information and ideas you provide over time to earn that credibility often come in the form of articles, videos and insightful shares.
Content that builds credibility can be:
- Insightful commentary on the day’s news
- Links to interesting articles or videos
- Original articles or videos that help your audience solve problems related to your industry
- Event invitations
- Webinar or seminar access
- White papers
- Links to your slides from a presentation
Maybe you find a helpful article on saving for your child’s college tuition and post the link on your own Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn pages, to share it with your network. Perhaps you retweet or use the Facebook share button to amplify someone else’s social media posts. You could also write your own blog post, or record your own video talking about how the latest state legislation affects certain types of investments, and post them on your website and your social media profiles, so others can learn from you. Or maybe you create an event on Facebook, and invite your social network to attend your next luncheon if they’re concerned about planning for their retirement.
Each post reinforces the idea that you are knowledgeable and a valuable resource if and when your audience needs an insurance product.
All of these examples are ways to build your credibility with your audience, but aren’t directly tied to selling them something. At the same time, each post reinforces the idea that you are knowledgeable and a valuable resource if and when your audience needs an insurance product.
Drive Leads with a Newsletter
Now you’re posting all this useful content and building credibility with this audience on social media. Great! But how does that translate into leads?
This is where a newsletter comes in. Start a weekly or monthly email newsletter using a service like MailChimp where you build an email featuring links to your own original content or to the best content curated from your social media channels. Promote this content on your social networks with a “Hey, did you know you can get my newsletter?” post and a link to your sign-up page (through your newsletter service or your own website). Future followers can provide their name and email address for access, and now you have a soft lead.
Here’s another tip: Be sure to set up your email newsletter sign-up form so that your followers are aware you are allowed to send them “periodic” emails about upcoming events, promotions, or offerings, on top of the promised newsletter and you are set!* Not only can you now send your audience newsletters, but you can also invite them to your next luncheon or dinner, or give them information about products and offerings.
Now you’re leading your fans and followers into your lead funnel. If you successfully denote and track where they came from, you can even do a financial analysis of the true return on investment (ROI) of your social network activity by calculating the sales from social media leads versus the time or money invested there.
*NOTE: There’s more to complying with the law regarding email marketing than this, depending on your country. In the U.S., your email newsletter is legal if it complies with the 2003 CAN-SPAM Act, which requires, among other things, that your emails have a way for the recipient to opt-out of the emails, a physical mailing address is presented for the sender, and the subject lines and sender indications can’t be misleading. Letting people know they’re opting in to receive more than your newsletter is a best practice and good business.
When the Leads are in, Work the Funnel
After you do all this, it’s time to work the funnel the way you would with anyone else. If your first step with a new lead is to call and qualify them for a seminar or sales call, then do that here, too. Assuming your conversion process is sound, you’ll see leads generated and, ultimately, be able to confidently report that you are able to drive leads with social media. And then you can tell the naysayers that you proved them wrong.
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