Making Social Media Mean Business

As a consultant, my business is me. I sell my services by showing entrepreneurs how my knowledge—my personal brand—can transform their business. My brand, however, is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to positioning my social media efforts to convert leads. For that reason, I maintain a strict social media protocol that drives lead generation.

To drive results, digital marketing must be designed to convert followers into customers. It takes a skilled practitioner to strategically navigate the complex and overcrowded digital media landscape. With these tips, you will be on your way to using social media as your primary lead generation tool.

Find Your Community

The goal of social media is to engage with your target audience. Tailor your research to determining the social media channel where you will be most discoverable. Check where your competitors focus their social media efforts and analyze how their posts are performing in terms of likes, shares, and comments. The goal is to tap into preexisting communities with audiences who would be interested in what you have to say. For example, my primary social channels are Twitter and LinkedIn: Twitter because it’s where entrepreneurs converse and LinkedIn because of the existing professional groups populated with my target audience.

Sell Without Overtly Selling

You’ve discovered your community, now you need to learn what they are talking about. Analyze the conversations and content shared around the topics of your expertise. Formulate a list of keywords and links that get the most social media attention. Then, align your results with what you post online. On top of giving your audience content they want to hear about, you will position yourself as an expert.

One of the biggest mistakes business owners make is using social media as a self-promoting tool. Only one-third of the content you share should be about you. Being relevant is about being authentic. Talk about things that you’re passionate about that are not you. Everyone is passionate about themselves. By sharing content that aligns with your brand, audiences will organically gravitate to your messages, thus increasing followers with similar interests as you. Often, individuals who hold similar values will want to engage more deeply with you. Make your email available so they have a mechanism to do so.

Treat Social Networking Like a Sales Funnel

Generating leads through social media is challenging. Social profiles lack information and are highly concentrated, making it tough to determine who to invest time targeting. Designing a funnel that filters followers into qualified leads ensures that your networking efforts are directed to individuals with similar values. I follow this filtering process:

Determine the goal of your social networking efforts. As a consultant, my goal is to have coffee with entrepreneurs who have a business and have secured their first 10 customers. These types of businesses have a particular set of challenges I can solve. Of course, I can’t have a coffee meeting with every entrepreneur I find online, but it’s helpful to know exactly what type of person I want to meet.

Follow-up with individuals who engage with my content. Individuals who engage with my content earn their spot down the funnel, which in the consultancy business, means a LinkedIn connection. Connecting on LinkedIn fills the information gaps other social media channels, such as Twitter lack. By analyzing an individual’s LinkedIn profile, I get insight on them and their background, which drives my decision to take the conversation further.

Take the conversation off of social media and bring it to a coffee table. People who get to the coffee meeting are often fascinating people. I don’t always do business with these people, but I get value from our conversations and that alone is self-fulfilling.

I have found in my career, time and time again, that networking is always meaningful. Business revolves around building connections. If done strategically, you can use social media to build a community of leads then use a goal-oriented social networking funnel to qualify them. You never know: Your most recent Twitter follower could potentially be your next business partner.