In the world of advertising, you often find activities categorised into two types: Direct response and Brand activity.
Direct response refers to any form of activity where you are looking for a defined action to be taken. A click of an ad, a completion of a form, or a purchase of a product. Brand activity has softer measures of success. Brand positioning, awareness, and engagement with your brand or product with no expectation of immediate action.
Social Media is often thought of in the branding category. A communication medium which allows you to connect with current and potential customers in the hope of building an affinity that results in future sales. And when discussed in an organic sense, this is often the case.
The social media platforms however know that they cannot rely on just being a brand relationship tool if they want to keep growing their advertising revenue and appealing to as broad a market as possible. Many businesses cannot afford to put advertising budget behind any activity which isn’t driving leads into their sales funnel, they need to be seeing a return on investment in a short period of time.
As a result, the more established platforms all now have advertising options for campaigns focused on lead generation which can significantly increase leads into your business.
Instagram Lead Generation Ads
Potentially one of the most powerful lead generation advertising channels if your business has a visual angle to play upon, but it can work for everyone. Utilising the targeting capabilities of the Facebook/Instagram platforms and the lead generation forms built within the ad itself, Instagram ads have taken a lot of the friction out of submitting an enquiry. Just a few short fields (which are auto populated) and the user can register an interest in a product or service with minimal effort.
Facebook Lead Generation Ads
Of course, Instagram is part of the Facebook family, so you can run lead generation ads across their main platform too, albeit with a slightly different format. Here you can integrate the form directly within the ad and it can be auto-populated with the individuals details so all they have to do is it hit submit. You can download the leads generated from the Facebook platform or with a little work, integrate them into a CRM system such as Hubspot or Salesforce so they drop directly into your sales funnel.
LinkedIn Lead Generation Ads
LinkedIn has taken a more B2B focussed approach to its lead generation offering due to the nature of its audience, focusing mainly on promoting pieces of informative content for download, or events for registering an interest in. This approach means it is less of a direct sales activity and more or a top of funnel CRM generator, however that is a lot of how B2B sales and marketing works anyway.
Snapchat Lead Generation Ads
Much in the same vein as Instagram, Snapchat offers a lead generation goal to their advertising with a form embedded within a visual ad. Leads can be sent directly to you for contacting. The challenge with Snapchat is identifying and engaging with the audience in a way which matches their use of the platform and not just interrupting them in an intrusive manner. For younger audiences though, Snapchat is a great platform to consider.
And the others?
Twitter used to have a lead generation ad format but decided to discontinue it in 2017. Newer visual platforms such as Ticktock are still developing their advertising options and will likely start with more brand led solutions before entering the lead generation space.
How effective is social media for generating leads?
Done properly, social media platforms can be very effective at generating leads into your business. The key is to find the platform and the message that reaches your target audience. The advertising options above are specifically geared around making it easy for the user to submit/register their interest, so if you can deliver an offer relevant to them, people will act.
Social media advertising has taken over from Google Adwords as the main lead generating source for many of our clients. Competition with Google Adwords has meant that costs can be prohibitive to generating a good return on investment, and the extra step of a website means conversion rates are lower. With some of our clients we have been able to generate a cost per lead 5x less than they see on Adwords.
What makes a successful social lead generation campaign?
We plan to write in more detail how you can optimise your social lead generation, however there are a few areas you need to focus on to deliver against your goals:
- The right platform for your audience
- Your ads and what you are promoting
- What details you ask for
- How you handle the leads that are generated