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Can you recall the first time you heard someone mention social media as a business tactic?

Odds are, you were skeptical. Yet social channels like Facebook and Twitter quickly proved that they’re much more than status updates and cat videos. Today, most businesses understand that social media can be a vital sales and marketing tool — but the playbook for leveraging these channels is still shifting.

Social media offers businesses an unprecedented opportunity to connect with prospects and customers in an authentic, human way. As such, it also allows for new approaches to sales, marketing, and customer service. Here, we’ve pulled together a few of the key ways companies of all sizes can start turning social media into a meaningful business tactic — and, ultimately, acquiring new customers to keep their business growing.

1. Answer questions and inbound messages on social media

An estimated five in six social messages that need responses are not answered by brands. A simple way to acquire new leads is by implementing a social listening strategy and making it your goal to respond to every inbound tweet, Facebook post, blog comment, and so on.

2. Monitor social media for hot leads

Social media monitoring isn’t just for customer service, or answering questions that relate specifically to your brand name. You should also monitor social media for buying indication terms within your industry and product category. Watch for people asking for recommendation requests from friends in your product category. Listen for general discussions, questions, and conversations about your industry and product category.

These might provide great opportunities to engage and possibly even acquire a new lead. Don’t be a creepy, though, and only interfere if it makes sense. You may not need to get involved at all — or your form of engagement may simply involve sharing best practices or tips with a prospect until he or she gets closer to a purchase decision.

3. Use Twitter cards

Twitter cards help you by removing one more step between a click and a form complete. They allow you to collect a lead’s email address directly from his Twitter feed, without interrupting his experience by sending him to a different site. Be careful with these leads, though, as many people use a personal email address instead of a work address for social media accounts.

4. Implement Facebook’s CTA button on your Facebook page

Facebook rolled out a new call-to-action feature in December, giving brands the ability to select from a group of seven distinct CTA buttons such as Sign Up, Watch Video, Contact Us, Book Now and more. The CTA will be featured at the top of your page in the featured image next to the “Like” button. This gives you an easy way to use your Facebook page to generate new inbound leads.

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5. Post presentations and slide decks to SlideShare

SlideShare allows you to easily embed a lead form into the body of your presentation. You can also allow people to download your presentations by filling out a lead form. This can be an easy way to capture new leads.

At Salesforce, we use SlideShare to post presentations from our events as well as presentations with content from our recent ebooks and research.

6. When posting to social media, use images

Tweets with photos are twice as likely to be retweeted — yet our Social Engagement Benchmark Report for Twitter found that brands tweet photos only 8% of the time.

Incorporate more photo tweets and Facebook posts into your social strategy for increased engagement — especially with posts that contain links to gated ebooks, webinars, demos, and other content.

7. Share exclusive content on your social channels

Social audiences love exclusive content. Brands are creating so much content now that it’s easy to put something “exclusive” to share only to your social channels to encourage a form complete.

Social Advertising

Advertising on social media, such as promoted tweets, Facebook ads, and LinkedIn Sponsored Updates can be a great way to generate new leads.  Below are a couple unique ways you can specifically use social advertising to generated new leads beyond the “traditional” sponsored tweets, stories, and posts.

8. Advertise to lookalike audiences.

Most of your social audience likely already knows your brand and may even be customers. Sometimes it can be hard to find new audiences on social media — social advertising can be a great way to reach new audiences. Using lookalike audiences  on Facebook, you can create an advertising segment that is similar to a specific list  of great value — say your email subscribers. This will give you the ability to target a brand new audience with very similar characteristics and likes as the audience you already know enjoys your brand and value proposition.

9. Use Custom Audiences.

Using a tool like Active Audiences or Social.com, you can now reach customers and prospects you already know. You are able to upload your own list of customers or prospects — like everyone who registered for last month’s webinar, downloaded a specific whitepaper, or attended your conference — and target them directly on Facebook or Twitter, giving you the ability to be much more personalized and targeted in your social advertising, moving these prospects further down the funnel toward purchase. 

 

Social media can be a powerful way to acquire new leads and customers — especially in the beginning for small businesses. The cost per lead tends to be slightly lower and can help you gain your first milestone of customers. As you continue to grow, your social strategy should evolve and will continue to be a major source of new leads and customers. 

Learn more about how Salesforce can help you grow your business. View a demo or download our free e-book, How a CRM Solution Helps Small Businesses.

CRM Ebook