Social media platforms can be your lead generation goldmine if you know how to do it right. Research done by Business2Community showed that social media marketing has reduced costs for 45% businesses at the same time increasing the revenue for 24% of companies that implemented social media in their lead generation strategy.

Social Media Lead Generation

In last six months at Nightwatch, we multiplied not only our social media followers and the engagement, but also observed a significant increase in the number of leads — our trial sign up rate has been steadily growing since we decided to invest into our social media presence.

We are not the only ones. Keeping in mind our social media success in 2018, we are determined to keep our game up as we slowly transition into the new year and we are here to help you do the same.

What worked for us this year can be summed up in 2 words: Facebook Advertising.

To be precise — $70 Facebook ad campaign which brought us not only 2500+ new followers within one week, but also an increase in free trial sign up on our website. Coincidence?

We don’t think so. The ad campaign was well-thought and had two goals in mind — increasing our brand awareness and generating new leads. Take a look at our stats to judge how did we go:

Nightwatch Social Media Performance
Nightwatch social media performance
Nightwatch Facebook Ad
Nightwatch Facebook ad campaign
Nightwatch Page Likes
Nightwatch page likes

But we know there is always more to learn, so we wondered — ok, this worked for us, but what worked for the others? And we decided to find out.

We asked social media marketing experts the following question:

What was your best lead gen strategy in 2018 and how do you plan to develop it in 2019?

… and here is what they said:

Aljaz Fajmut, Founder and CEO of Nightwatch

One of the most effective social media lead generation techniques that we successfully implemented in 2018 was a questionnaire using Facebook Messenger bot. It would reward the participants with 1-month free account of our tool, Nightwatch.

Nightwatch Facebook Messenger Bot
Conversation with Nightwatch's Facebook Messenger Bot

Through the questionnaire, we collected leads and learnt more about the users. This way, we were able to adjust the offers and communication to their specific needs.

On the other hand, users had to invest effort into completing the questionnaire, so when their 1-month free account was approved, they were more likely to take the advantage of it (much more likely than if they got it easily for free, with no time invested).

At the end of the questionnaire, we also invited them to subscribe to our mailing list and join our private SEO and marketing related group, which were yet another two communication channels.

In 2019, we plan to fine-tune the questionnaire and start promoting it via multiple channels to acquire more users.

Keith Keller, Twitter Marketing Specialist

Without a doubt, native video has been an incredible way to network with new contacts this year.

I have run extensive experiments with both Twitter and Linkedin video and they are very effective for me. When it comes to the videos’ length, the sweet spot seems to be about 90 seconds in most of my experiments so far.

Many of my colleagues are reporting that YouTube is no longer working for them so I plan to run further experiments on this idea in 2019.

Keith Keller's Twitter Outreach
Keith Keller's twitter outreach

I will also continue my work with native videos on Twitter and Linkedin as these two platforms are creating massive opportunities for me to meet new and exciting people every single day.

Yam Regev, Founder of Zest.is

We developed our social media strategy and we use what we call The VAT Methodology:

  • Vulnerability
  • Authenticity
  • Transparency

It means that any post of ours should fall under at least one of the above definitions.

Along with cool self-made GIFs, this methodology proves to be a hyper effective way to drive curiosity and engagement around what we do, which is contributing to our double digit growth, month after month.

Vulnerability

Zest.is Newsletter
Zest.is newsletter announcement

When last year we realized we were not doing the newsletter the right and zesty way, we decided to cancel it. We also fucked up one too many times by sending non individualized newsletters.We had enough of it. So we shared an in-depth article on why we made such a move.

Authenticity

Every member of Zest’s core team was initially just a regular Zest member who one day decided to reach out and help. Which is why we love sharing the paths that lead them to us, and vice versa. It’s super interesting to discover how different turns of events shaped every individual that is currently shaping Zest. And Karolis is just that kind of lemon, and his story created an amazing outpour of engagement on all our social media accounts.

Transparency

Zest.is Investor Dashboard
Zest.is Investor dashboard announcement

Initiating our pre-Seed round was a huge moment for, and a huge moment for the community in general. How? Because they were actively involved in the proces. Two weeks into fundraising, we shared with them the same stats we were sharing with the investors, and they responded just like a zesty community would.

They helped us by providing us with tons of feedback and words of love and support. The feedback eventually helped better shape the investor dashboard and spread the word out.

Renee Blodgett, Founder of Magic Sauce Media, We Blog the World, and Blue Soul Earth

A truly targeted plan needs to be in alignment with who you are, not just the products or services you offer. Once you are in alignment, your "voice" will attract the right customers automatically.

A genuine interest in other like-minded followers and industry leaders and authentically engaging with that audience is still our most effective way to not just drive traffic but a following and a community who will support you again and again.

Blue Soul Earth Instagram

Jason Falls, Director of Digital Strategy at Cornett

The best social media lead generation technique continues to be to create great content that drives interest, traffic and share value to your content and website. The ripple effect is too big to ignore. Traffic and social signals from the shares elevate search engine results which brings more relevant prospects to your website who are ready to buy.

If you do a good job of communicating your value to them once there, you can convert that traffic in a much more effective way that you would otherwise.

Kyle Meredith, Social Media Manager at Einstein Marketer

2018 has been a busy year in the Einstein office. We have spent over £1,000,000 ($1,274,595 — editor's note) on various social media marketing campaigns for our clients so far.

One strategy produced amazing results: boasting 98% open rates and 19 % conversion rates, and that is… messenger marketing.

Einstein Marketer Messenger Marketing
Einstein Marketer's messenger marketing campaign

Messenger marketing is an effective inbound and outbound strategy. It allows you to navigate and chat with prospects who have reached out to communicate with you and allows you to build a messenger marketing list which you can then broadcast messages to.

Messenger marketing works by way of an automated chatbot. This AI allows you to create and direct conversations with your audience via a live-chat.

Facebook Messenger Marketing allows you to:

  • Field questions/inquiries
  • Broadcast promotions (at specific times)
  • Create a sequence of messages (a flow)
  • Automate live chat
  • Deliver downloadable files
  • Segment your list (via tags)
  • Share links
  • Natively host videos (so your audience can watch them)
  • Send images
  • Create a sales funnel
  • Automate responses to keywords
  • Create menus

In 2019 we plan on using messenger marketing campaigns to grow our own list. We are going to do this by pushing content through messenger. We believe that by asking people to communicate with our bot, Albert, in exchange for a piece of valuable content we will be able to build a list of qualified people, who are interested in our future content and promotions.

Evan Carmichael, Entrepreneurial Expert

Instagram Live!

It's a great way to build your brand, connect with your audience, and sell your products and services. I'm not scheduling them in 5 days a week at a minimum. It's the biggest shift I've made in my marketing in the past year hands down.

Ted Rubin, Social Marketing Strategist and Keynote Speaker

My most effective social media lead generation techniques in 2018, the years before, and going forward into 2019 and beyond, are about strategy, and execution:

SYNDICATE — share your content via social channels and don't be afraid to do it more than once, periodically sharing old posts via your social channels, especially those that were well received.

Ted Rubin's Facebook Video
Ted Rubin's Facebook video

And here are some content tips:

1) User-friendly navigation: Keeping your blog easy to navigate with intuitive category labels will help people find the information they seek much faster. Also, make it easy for readers to leave comments and share your posts on various channels that will help lead others back to you.

2) Commenting on other blogs: Look for other blogs in your industry that have a good amount of traffic and comments, and contribute a comment, but only if you think you can add value to the conversation. The more you contribute to the conversation happening around you, the more you'll be seen as a thought-leader.

3) Look for holes in your competition: Take a look at your competition's blogs and websites. Are there content holes they've missed that you can take advantage of? Those consistently provide lots of content have a bigger chance of attracting people who are actively looking for information.

Ian Cleary, Founder of Razor Social

The most successful social media lead generation technique was creating super valuable content through my blog, distributing to my social channels and then driving relevant traffic back to my website. From there I build email subscribers and over time generate sales from this!

Ivana Taylor, Small Business Influencer at DIYmarketers

The #BizapaloozaChat Tweet Chat is our most effective lead generation, lead nurturing and engagement strategy on social media. The live Twitter chat runs twice a week; Mondays at 2pm ET and Thursdays at 8pm ET.

The Monday chat is more business oriented while the Thursday chat is more fun and casual. This twice-weekly strategy keeps the hashtag alive on Twitter and the community always talking about something. The biggest surprise is how the community has come together to help each other with either giving advice or cross promoting. Another way our Twitter Chat drives leads and engagement is by featuring brands the community loves.

While it does take time and dedication, it's a single strategy that hits on all cylinders.

Bizapalooza Chat Data
#BizapaloozaChat data

Moss Clement, Blogger and B2B Freelance Content Writer

I use the number one tool to build bonds and generate leads, and that is — high quality content.

I consistently create and curate quality content my target market loves to engage with and post regularly on social media sites. Posting frequently at the best time of day will help your audience to see and interact with your content, drive traffic back to your site, thus generate more leads and improve your Google search rankings.

In fact, besides organic search traffic, my top referral traffic source is Twitter. Why? Because I tweet regularly at the best time when my buyer persona is online. This has helped me generate more leads (increase email signups).

How do I plan to improve my social media lead generation technique in 2019?

Gated content — I plan to up my social media lead generation game in 2019 by sharing “links to gated content.”

Gated content is any online material that require website users to fill out a form before they can gain access to the content. The added value of a gated content makes it a remarkable tool for capturing leads because it provide marketers the contact details of prospective customers who are ready to buy from you.

In that way, when a lead sign up, I can link him to my social media accounts and put him on check.

Social media advertising — I also plan to boost my social media lead generation tactics by running social media advertising campaigns which enables me to target highly specific audience and put put my brand offer or message in front of my target market and convert them to leads.

Stefan Debois, CEO of Survey Anyplace

Our best technique for lead generation via social media turned out to be the influencer nurturing.

When nurturing influencers on social media, it’s important not to rely on your standard feed. The standard feed only shows specific posts based on the relevance assigned by the social media provider’s algorithm. As a result, you only will see a small number of posts. To see all posts for a given set of influencers, proceed as follows:

On Twitter, put the influencers in a Twitter list and view their tweets by putting following string in Twitter’s search box (my list is called “marketing influencers w2”). Here is a search string I use to find questions tweeted by people belonging to this list — reacting on these questions is a great way to engage: -filter:links -filter:replies list:sde77/marketing-influencers-w2.

Twitter Search String
Twitter search string to find influencers' questions

On LinkedIn, there are no lists: you need to add to “/detail/recent-activity/shares/” to each of the influencer’s LinkedIn URLs to see their posts. If you have many influencers to follow, put their LinkedIn URLs in a google sheet. Subsequently, you can generate the URLs of their posts via the CONCATENATE function:
=concatenate(A1,"/detail/recent-activity/shares/").

To open each URL in a separate tab in Chrome, use the extension Bulk URL opener. Simply copy-paste the URLs from your sheet and they will open in separate tabs. You can now easily check each tab to identify opportunities to interact. Limit yourself to bulk-opening no more than 15 tabs at once, otherwise your PC will struggle. ;)

Neal Schaffer, Social Media Speaker and the Founder of Maximize Social Business

I believe that the key to social media lead generation is being everywhere your customers are and being active there.

Today, that means being active on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, AND Instagram. Obviously you need to manage effectiveness of paid vs organic on each one of these social networks and find the right balance for your business, but in 2019 you need to start to shift from a paid vs organic to a paid vs organic vs influencer marketing mindset to take advantage of the benefits of partnering with influencers.

Furthermore, being active on all of these networks means combining original content creation in text, photo, video, and story while also curating content to remain active.

Some businesses have found success by focusing on Instagram and influencer marketing alone, so if you find one social network and one type of promotion that generates the highest ROI, don't feel like you need to be everywhere. Instead, put a majority of your effort in one social network while keeping the other ones "warm" because social network algorithms and our preferences for social network are always in flux.

Audrey DeSisto, Founder and CEO of Digital Marketing Stream

Our strategy this year has been primarily to focus on optimizing all content for mobile and voice search. We are laser focused on imagery in order to attract new fans and followers for existing and future clients.

Stock photos no longer do the trick, and the heat is on to stand out online by using video, graphics and creative storytelling.

We consider everything posted online content, whether it is for DMS or for our clients. Less is more, and consistency and quality matter most.

As for 2019, our focus will be on digital advertising, video and what's evolving in artificial intelligence as it relates to the different industries. We also consider privacy and information security a priority and we will continue to share those insights.

Allan Pollett, SEO Guru

Social media is insanely powerful. Personally, I'm a big fan of Twitter. The thing that amazes me about it is that you can tap into the minds of their 300+ million users.

People are literally tweeting out every aspect of their lives. With this in mind, you can use a monitoring tool like Hootsuite to watch real-time conversations that are happening on Twitter.

For example let's say you own a restaurant, you can set up tracking for all the conversations where people mention being hungry, or food, or wanting to go to a restaurant. You can then narrow the search to only the conversations that are within a small radius near your restaurant. So you will see the tweets of anyone that is interested in possibly going to a restaurant near you. At that point, it is just a matter of engaging with those people.

You need to be careful about the way you approach them so that you don't come across as a stalker, but sending them a friendly simple message like: "You should check out my restaurant on so and so street. If you mention that you heard about it from Twitter, you can get a 10% discount"

This approach can be a really fast way to find and connect with many new potential clients and it doesn't just work for the restaurant industry. It can work for whatever industry you are in.

My plan for 2019 is to have full-time employees using this method to generate leads for my business and my clients' businesses.

John Hall, Co-founder of Calendar

In 2018, it was a year of building other profiles of companies and people around me to help with the amplification of my messages and content.

Distribution methods are becoming key to success in social and when you have a little army of profiles that have influence then it makes it easier to have viral effects.

Janice Wald, Blogger and Social Media Coach at Mostly Blogging

I learned a strategy years ago I implemented on Twitter. As a result, my Twitter following blew up. Now, I'm using the method on Instagram. The strategy is working just as well there.

The culture of social media sites is to follow back like-minded content creators. I know Neil Patel is a like-minded content creator since he's in my blogging niche. Therefore, I follow his followers. Most of them follow me back and my Twitter following grows.

I've dramatically grown my Twitter following (from 3.9K to 16.8K!), and I did it with very little effort. I only tweet about 10 times a day since I work outside the home.

It was simple:

Step 1: Follow the followers of someone in your niche.
Step 2: Use tools to keep the countdown of the people you're following. To keep your countdown on Twitter, I recommend using tools like Crowdfire and Commun.it. To keep my countdown on Instagram, I use the Followers app. That's really all it takes to grow your social media following at Twitter and Instagram.

Do I plan on continuing this strategy into 2019? Absolutely!

Vlad Calus, Co-Founder at Planable

I believe that the best lead generation platform for social media this year was LinkedIn. It's been by far the most incredible way to generate thousands of users, customers and I've landed multiple writing partnerships by using LinkedIn at its best.

Over the past 8 months, I've automated half of my presence on LinkedIn, using Meet Leonard & LinkedIn Premium to connect with more than 150 connections a day. Then, I sent them an automated follow-up message and started to created conversations around the social media industry.

I've asked mostly for feedback on Planable, did no try to push & sell. On the other side, my LinkedIn became my brand. I started to shoot short videos about social media and my journey as an entrepreneur. Added tons of links & articles to our blog. Started engaging with all the social media people from tons of companies, industries, agencies & brands. We see customers coming each week specifically from this channel.

Planable.io Traffic
Planable.io traffic

Final thoughts

Whether you decide to exploranable messenger marketing, focus solely on the video content, or implement the VAT methodology, your social media strategy should match your chosen objective. Nobody wants to waste time and resources only to get their message ignored, and yet so many of the businesses do exactly that.

As you can see — a well-thought strategy including carefully selected channels, providing highly valuable content, and creating a personalized experience can be a real killer for attracting new potential customers.

With 2019 at our feet and rapidly decreasing attention span of our potential customers, grabbing their attention has never been so difficult and costly — in both time and money. Using social media platforms for lead generation is still one of the most effective ways to find your prospects, and if you don’t jump on this train quickly, you might be losing tons of cash and opportunities.

The recipe for success? Research, strategize, implement, test, measure, adjust, repeat...

… and learn from the best.

And what was your most effective lead gen strategy fand how are you planning to develop it in the upcoming year?