Whenever I explain the combination of social media, content marketing, and lead generation to someone, there is a point in the conversation when my conversation partner realizes: Ok, this may take a while before I get leads from this.
That is true for the most part, these strategies are not quick win strategies, they are there for people who play the long game. Social media and content marketing, when done right, is not an investment, it is a long term commitment.
But I also believe that you should get leads right from the start (if lead generation is your goal). Why? Because how are you going to test whether your targeting works as intended, if you are not getting results you can measure? How will you develop a sales funnel, if you are not getting leads? How will you ever be able to calculate whether you are going to reach a positive ROI with the current strategy if you don’t have any leads?
But how do you build lead generation into your social media strategy right from the start?
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This article will show you how to implement a lead generation strategy into your Twitter marketing efforts while you are starting out with your social media marketing activity! Parts of this strategy may work on other social networks as well, but on the whole, this article is focused on Twitter.
In case you’ve been wondering in the past weeks and months, Twitter isn’t going anywhere. It’s still a social media platform of the highest importance, and it doesn’t have some of the flaws that almost all other networks have. (Filter bubbles? I’m looking at you, Facebook).
While Twitter’s growth may have slowed, recent numbers from Statista show that Twitter is in fact still growing:
As you can see, Twitter has reached a new best of 317 million monthly active users in Q3 2016, with stable growth over the last 3 quarters.
So, Twitter isn’t going away anytime soon.
For this article I’ve chosen to focus on Twitter for several more reasons:
- Twitter is easy to get into by following just a few rules.
- Twitter can be used for direct and indirect outreach to huge amounts of people. (See below.)
- Twitter is very forgiving if you make a mistake.
- It is possible to get leads directly from Twitter without making them visit your blog first.
Some Twitter Basics
For this strategy to succeed, it is important to follow the basic principles of how to get a Twitter account into growth mode. You can read more about this here, but I will highlight the mandatory knowledge below.
Getting Your Twitter Account Ready
While it is not necessary to get your own content to be able to reach success on Twitter (don’t get me wrong, it would certainly help), you still need to ensure that your Twitter account follows a few guidelines.
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The first guideline is: Make sure your Twitter profile is complete. It really isn’t that hard – since Twitter’s profile requires only a few entries. Here is a look at Pam Moore’s Twitter profile:
Pam is a perfect example of what a good Twitter profile looks like: First look at her header image which already does a good job of presenting who she is. Then look at her bio, which tells the same story perfectly. Her use of hashtags is exemplary. Not too many, but a few to highlight her niche.
Complete your profile as best as you can – and don’t forget to highlight your personality a little, it’s called social media for a reason.
Fill Your Twitter Account with Value in the Form of Curated Content
This article is about generating leads even if you don’t have your own content yet. But you still need content to tweet out regularly to provide value to your target audience.
On Twitter, content is shared in the form of links to the actual content piece. So, if you don’t have a lot of content you own (like an article on your blog), the best way to do this is to tweet our curated content.
Curated content is content from other peoples’ or companies’ blogs, links to whitepapers they released. You can tweet these content pieces in the following form:
<Headline> <Link> by <@author>
Here is an example:
— Digital Authority Co (@DAuthorityCo) 16. November 2016
The content that you tweet through your account needs to be interesting to your target audience – which means you have to give the interests of your target audience a closer look.
You will need to do this at least 10 times a day. While this may sound like a lot at first, it isn’t that much when you follow a few simple guidelines to make this happen:
- Create a list of content sources that provide great content for your target audience and invest some time into researching enough content sources so that you will always have enough content to tweet.
- Use the free tool Buffer to schedule your tweets daily. The free version let’s you schedule 10 tweets in advance, enough for a full day’s amount of content tweets.
- Develop a routine: reserve 20 minutes every day for this process.
Become Active and Conversational on Twitter
The above strategy of regularly tweeting valuable curated content to your followers makes sure that your account holds value for your target audience. But for a successful social media strategy, you need more than just value: Your account also needs to be socially active.
This means you need to actively check your Twitter account, monitor hashtags in your niche, reply to questions people ask around these hashtags, converse with influential Twitter accounts (within your niche), …
Here is my personal way of doing this: I have Twitter’s free tool Tweetdeck open in my browser all the time. Within Tweetdeck I have created several columns for topics and Hashtags I am interested in. On the right, you can see a column for the Hashtag “#Startups.”
A couple of times every day I go to Tweetdeck and quickly check whether I see something interesting that I can reply to. If there is something I want to reply to, I do that, right from Tweetdeck.
Mandatory Component to Generate Leads from Twitter without Heaps of own Content: The Follow-Unfollow Strategy
This article is a guide on how to generate leads from Twitter without having massive amounts of content you own. For this strategy to work, one key component is the Follow-Unfollow algorithm.
The idea for this algorithm is simple:
- Follow a certain amount of people every day on Twitter
- After a couple of days, unfollow those who didn’t follow back.
What this will do, is that a certain number of the people you followed will follow you back.
Now, before you follow 1000s of people at once, wait. That will get your Twitter account suspended. Instead, you need to start slowly. And you need to make sure that the accounts you follow are within your target audience.
How many people you can follow every day depends on a lot of different things:
- The number of followers you already have
- How many of those you follow also follow you back or engage with you
- Your overall followers-to-following ratio
I usually recommend starting small (around 20 follows per day) and then gradually increase. Even at more than 100,000 followers I still won’t do more than a couple of hundred per day. But at this point, your account will grow organically.
There are several ways of ensuring that the people you follow are within your target audience. One of the most recommended ways is to follow accounts that already follow influencers from your niche. Another is to use hashtags and keywords for targeting.
You can read more about the limits of this strategy and how to prevent to go over the limits with this strategy in this article here.
A highly recommended tool that can help you tremendously when using this strategy to generate leads is ManageFlitter.
How to Get Leads
Up until now, all of this was just prerequisites. Until now you have not generated a single lead. Repeat: You didn’t get leads yet. To generate leads you will need a couple of things:
- One single piece of content
- A landing page
- An email marketing tool to capture your leads in an email list
The process to generate leads from Twitter without your own blog is the following:
- From your Twitter account, you will send people to your landing page.
- On this landing page, you will offer these people your piece of content for free in exchange for their email address.
- Once they sign up an automatic email will be sent with the content piece, and your new lead will be sent to your email marketing list.
There is a fourth component that is especially vital for this strategy to lead to the best results. The point is that leads from Twitter are most of the time not nurtured in the same way as they would be if you had generated the same lead on your blog. So, to turn your new lead into a high-quality lead, you need to send an automated email sequence with regular high-quality information to this lead.
- Create an email automation sequence that will nurture your lead into a high-quality lead.
This information doesn’t need to be full blog posts. Often, a sequence of quick tips, for instance, will do the trick.
Let’s examine the above components in more detail.
The content piece
What you are offering your audience in return for their email address is up to you. But there are a few things you should keep in mind.
For starters, this content piece needs to be laser targeted to your target audiences needs. This is vital because Twitter audiences tend to not be as targeted as you would wish, and if your content piece isn’t targeted well, you could end up with an audience that consists of hundreds or even thousands of people that will never buy your product.
The second thing to keep in mind is: You need to make sure that your content is more than just what your audience can find for free online with a simple Google search. It doesn’t need to be highly advanced content, but you should generate the feeling that they are getting something special.
Also, you should always keep in mind that you need to deliver on your promises. If you give your new subscriber the idea that he has been duped into giving his email address away for something he didn’t want or need, he will lose trust in you.
Here are a few ideas on what you can offer as a content piece:
- A whitepaper
- A video course
- A video tutorial
- A cheat sheet
- An industry report
The landing page
Landing pages are a science of their own. In short, a landing page is a web page that is highly optimized to getting visitors to perform one single action, in this case: download a freebie and subscribe to the email list.
I could give you 1000s of links to read up on how to generate a perfect landing page, but this wouldn’t help you a lot. Instead, I will recommend setting your landing page up with the tool LeadPages. Leadpages costs money, but it does provide you with a lot of easy to implement templates for Landing Pages that are focused exactly on what you want to achieve.
(As an alternative you can try out Wishpond, which also has an email marketing tool integrated. However, LeadPages is better.)
The email marketing tool
If you didn’t start building your email list yet, as soon as you start generating leads on a scale, you will have to.
The tool I like to recommend for this is Drip – which I have reviewed here.
Drip is a fairly advanced yet also relatively easy to use email marketing tool. If you decided to go with Leadpages, Drip integrates perfectly with that and will allow you to set up your email collection in no time.
Drip also allows for an easy set up of email automation sequences using their intuitive to use “Workflows” feature which will allow anyone to set up advanced email sequences, even if they fork out into multiple different paths.
How to Send People to the Landing Page from Twitter
This is a vital part of this strategy – because you need to do this not just once but many, many times. Here are ways to do this.
The 90/10 Rule: Tweet about your freebie once per day
We covered how to make your Twitter account interesting above. An account that only tweets out promotional information or only sends tweets to the same page will not generate leads.
To tweet your landing page regularly, the 90/10 rule is useful: It states that up to 10% of your social media messages can be promotional.
This means that you one in 10 tweets can point to one of your landing pages. So you can tweet about your freebie or landing page at least once per day.
You can link to your landing page from your bio – the follow unfollow algorithm also get’s people to quickly peek at your bio, and if you are getting your targeting right, they will also click through on your content.
Invite new followers to get your content for free, now
This may just be the most important part. If you are getting your targeting right in the follow/unfollow procedure above, then you are constantly getting new followers on Twitter, and many of these will have an interest in your free content piece.
There are many tools that allow you to send out both tweets mentioning new followers and direct messages on Twitter to new followers. You can use these tools to welcome new followers and send them the link to your freebie.
If you got your targeting right in the steps before, they won’t hold it against you that you sent them a message – because it is a message that is valuable for them.
The tool I recommend for this is StatusBrew.
In this article a highlighted a complete strategy to fill your database with new leads even if you are not regularly blogging or just don’t have enough content on your blog just yet. And there are some awesome tools to help you make your Twitter activity even more efficient.
Let me know in the comments what you think!
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