It’s that time of the year again and Social Media Examiner has just released the latest version of its annual Social Media Marketing Report. The big...
Most marketers know they should be implementing a Facebook strategy for their business (if you’re not, start here and get set-up), but it’s not always easy to generate leads through Facebook. When you get it right, Facebook can be a powerful lead-gen channel to add to your arsenal, but nailing your strategy isn’t so easy.
Facebook is a hugely valuable lead-gen channel for us at HubSpot, but we certainly didn’t get there by doing this:
But how did we get to a point where we can generate top quality leads through our Facebook page, and how can you do the same?
1: Be Clear About the Value You’re Providing
We’ve found that the best way to increase the effectiveness of Facebook posts for lead generation is to be crystal clear about what people will learn from the content we’re sharing. In other words, telling them exactly how valuable this gated content is going to be for them. Without sharing content aimed at solving problems for your audience, you won’t generate any leads through Facebook.
This goes hand-in-hand with creating custom images in Canva or Photoshop to catch a prospect’s eye when they’re browsing their news feed. In a 30-day experiment, HubSpot found that the clickthrough rate of posts containing photos is 128% higher than the CTR of posts containing videos or links. As much as people like to be given an unquestionable reason as to why they should take the time to consume your content, they also tend to respond extremely well to compelling visuals.
2: Don’t Underestimate Indirect Leads
Yes, generating leads by sharing content that links directly back to a landing page with a contact form on your website is hugely important. But it shouldn’t be your entire strategy. This is where a lot of marketers go wrong with social media - we either focus on the lead numbers, or we focus on the fluff. You need to be striving for both.
You should focus some of your posts on generating leads after sharing friendly, easy-to-consume content that doesn’t have CTAs and isn’t housed behind a form. Think of it as growing your funnel right at the top, potentially even before someone even visits your website. This content can include photos, photo albums, links to blog posts, YouTube videos, third-party content and even event invites.
This quote from HubSpot’s Social Media Manager sums up this point nicely:
“When we post product-focused content with sales-focused CTAs, we may generate qualified leads, but we only generate a handful. When we post educational or entertaining content about inbound marketing as a whole, we generate tons of leads, because we reach more people, and give ourselves the opportunity to warm them up to the idea of doing business with us without shoving our software down their throats.”
3: Have Goals Beyond Lead Generation
As marketers, it’s often tempting to discard any goal that doesn’t directly affect your lead numbers, but that’s the wrong way to approach your social media channels. Engagement and reach might sound like fluffy metrics, but they’re the stepping stone to those all-important leads. Think about it: if your page is getting barely any engagement (likes, comments, shares) then it’s highly unlikely that you’re generating leads. More engagement generally results in more visibility.
Whilst these metrics shouldn’t be your only indicator of success, they’re certainly indicators of the performance of your Facebook page and should be included in your reporting, whether your page is generating 1 lead or 100 leads.
4: You Have to Pay to Play
It’s impossible to write a marketing article about Facebook without mentioning advertising. It’s no secret that a business’s organic reach on Facebook tends to be dismal, and that’s no coincidence; Facebook is a business too, after all.
However, the people who ‘like’ your Facebook page aren’t necessarily your most qualified leads, and some of them will probably never be your ideal customers. For example, at HubSpot, we have a lot of people who just like to consume our content (students and marketing professors are a good example). Whilst there’s nothing wrong with that, we don’t want to spend money on attracting these people when they’re unlikely to ever become customers. The best way to reach your ideal customers on Facebook is through targeted ads.
But the usefulness of ‘paying to play’ on Facebook doesn’t stop there. What you might not know, is that Facebook lets you create unpublished posts to test your messaging. These posts appear in the news feed, but not on your Facebook page. Since they don’t appear on your page, you can create as many targeted ads as you like to determine which copy and images resonate best (without disturbing your entire fan base).
Improving Your Facebook Strategy
Incorporate these four learnings into your Facebook strategy, and the quantity and quality of your leads should improve. Executing an effective social media strategy is no easy task, but if you can master the content you share, develop solid and meaningful measures of success and boost all your efforts with some paid advertising, you’ll be well on your way to turning your Facebook page into a lead generation platform.