Yesterday, we talked about the difficulties of tying social media efforts against actual lead generation results. Today, we'll share the first few steps you can take to initiate social media strategies with measurable returns.
1. Make LinkedIn central to your social strategy. Though your industry may focus on other channels, Kelly finds that for B2B, LinkedIn members are most responsive; it’s a one-to-one channel initially. Though Kelly suspects this won’t last forever, right now, “When you send messages to people on LinkedIn, they respond at a ridiculously high rate,” she says. As you add new connections, LinkedIn’s robust Contacts manager provides an excellent place to categorize information and keep notes about your interactions: comments on posts or status updates, and links to articles you’ve shared.
2. Use tagged links and analytics to track inbound sources. Social is great for client retention and general networking, but how can you measure its impact on new sales leads? Every time you share a link to content on your website, make sure it’s a trackable link. Google’s URL Builder is a useful tool for tagging your links so web analytics can identify the sources of your traffic, enabling you to track different outreach campaigns, including social. Use one tag per channel so you can monitor each source separately. “If you’re not collecting this data, you can never get it back; it’s not retroactive,” Kelly says. “It’s amazing when you actually do it, because you’ll start to see everything that’s coming through your website.” When prospects turn into users you can analyze their site interactions, but first you want those visitors tagged as coming from social.
3. Pump up the volume: Use LinkedIn search to find new prospects. To grow your list of connections, define your targets and plug the parameters into LinkedIn’s powerful search tool. (Upgrading to LinkedIn Premium gives you eight extra search filters, along with access to full names and profiles and the ability to contact people you’re not connected to.) Save those you find in that search and tag them in Contacts as your prospect list, keeping them separate from clients. And spread your net wide. “You have to have high volume to get high results,” Kelly says. Your target will depend on your business size and goals, but try to start with at least 1,000 names, then use a multi-touch strategy to begin reaching out to them.
4. Use LinkedIn groups to build connections via direct outreach. Analyze your prospect list to discover the LinkedIn groups these people belong to, and then join those groups yourself. Monitor group conversations to learn about prospects’ concerns, make comments, offer assistance when appropriate, and post links to relevant information. Note, too, that groups offer a little-known feature especially valuable for free accounts: group members can contact each other by direct message without a prior connection. So introduce yourself to key prospects by mentioning the group you have in common, then share an idea or one of your trackable links.
LinkedIn Daily Checklist to Optimize Results
- Plan to spend 30-60 minutes a day
- Update your status with a relevant article
- View status updates, changes, and announcements in Contacts first, then on the LinkedIn home page; comment/congratulate where appropriate
- Send three prospects a personalized note asking if they would be interested in meeting
- Send three clients a personalized note or comment on a status they've posted recently
- Post an informative article to one or more LinkedIn groups with a thought-provoking, conversation-starter question (then follow the conversation for easy updates)
- Comment in at least one of the top discussions in groups
- Accept LinkedIn invitations
- Help at least three people each week - recommend them, endorse their skills, refer a client, and/or make a valuable introduction
Tomorrow: More low-cost social media strategies