Of all the possible website marketing channel, social media is the most debated. Your own opinion of social media’s effectiveness likely correspond with how much you engage with it in your personal life. However, using social media in business is different from how you use it personally, and expectations for how social media fits into a marketing plan may need to be adjusted.
Using Social Media Strategically for Lead Nurturing
Marketing is hard. Finding prospects, reaching out to them, connecting, and communicating with them all take precious time. Even when all your marketing efforts finally pay off and with the valuable but brief moment of attention from an identified prospect, the likelihood that they’ll need your service or product right then is pretty low.
But don’t lose heart. Making a contact with a prospect is a big win, even if the timing is off. All that’s needed is to keep your company top of mind for when the time is right, and that prospect can become an opportunity and, hopefully, a new client if there’s a good fit.
Leveraging Social Media: Nurturing Prospects and Staying Top of Mind
And this is where social media comes in. Those who tire of social media and feel like it doesn’t pay off often get drawn into the hype or distracted by rare viral success stories. When they spend weeks or months diligently posting to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter without anything going viral or new prospects flocking to their doors, they assume social media is a bust.
However, this confuses the proper function of social media as a lead nurturing platform with the unrealistic expectation for it to be a magical lead generator.
Social media is by far the most ephemeral and transient touchpoint in a marketing program, but it’s also the most lightweight and simple to maintain. A typical social media post doesn’t need to be highly engaging or the most persuasive content you produce. It just has to keep a business in the stream of a prospect’s awareness so that you’ll be top of mind when the time is right. Of course, if you can also be persuasive and engaging in a post, all the better.
Best Practices for Effective Social Media Marketing
When you adjust your expectations for what social media is for and how it fits into a marketing program, it actually makes creating posts much easier. You don’t have to swing for the fences every time. Just keep them coming on a regular basis. When your connections see your post as they quickly scroll through their news feeds, that brief moment of remembering you is enough.
With this in mind, you should consider a few best practices for your posts.
Always include words layered over the images that go along with a post. When people flip through their feeds, they don’t click on every post, and they don’t always read the accompanying text. They just scroll. Therefore, you want your statement to be right there on the image so they hear your message as they scroll by.
Always include your company’s branding on the image. Remember, simple ongoing awareness is the main function, and if you post a photo all by itself, your prospect may never connect it back to you unless they actually take the time to stop and read, but you don’t want to count on that. Make a statement and associate it with your brand in such a way that the connection is made even if all they do is scroll by.
Keep your accompanying text short and make the first line count. Often, a reader will need to click a “read more” link to reveal your full post content. Don’t assume that this will happen. Ask an interesting question or make your statement clear in the first line of your text.
When you adjust your expectations for social media and use these platforms to nurture prospects in small ways over time, you’ll find that it’s much easier to keep it up.