By Rachel Foster published May 26, 2011

3 Keys to Creating Social Media Content That Converts

According to a recent study by FUSION b2b, the top B2B marketing priority for 2011 is lead generation. This supports what I’ve been hearing from my clients and peers – that their biggest challenge is attracting high-quality leads their sales teams will love.

More marketers are turning to digital channels to connect with great leads. In fact, the FUSION b2b study also revealed that an amazing 96.9% of B2B marketers plan to increase their use of social media this year.

For these reasons, I’d like to explore how to generate leads through social media. Here are three keys to creating social media content that converts.

Share valuable content

People join social media communities to engage with like-minded individuals and exchange ideas. If your content isn’t relevant to your audience’s needs, they will drop you from their social networks. Always look for ways to bring new value to your community.

Rethink your call to action

In direct marketing, your call to action may encourage readers to contact you for a free trial or purchase something right away. While you can get direct sales through social media, the bulk of your social media efforts should focus on building trust with your community. For this reason, you should consider the following calls to action:

  • Posing a question to solicit feedback and start conversations.
  • Encouraging readers to click a link that takes them to your blog or other educational content.
  • Inviting readers to post comments on your blog.
  • Asking your community to share your content with their friends.
  • Inviting your community to attend webinars, educational events or chat sessions.

Know when it’s OK to sell on social media

I like to think of social media as a great starting point for a relationship. It’s hard to sell an expensive product or service with a 140-character tweet. That’s why it’s important to move your relationships onto other platforms.  Once you have an established presence on social media and an engaged community, you can start to put out more marketing messages. Instead of trying to sell your products or services on social media, try to sell the next step. Ideally, you should get leads to move from social channels to your list, so you can start sending them marketing content. Here are some ways you can do this:

  • Use social media to invite your community to check out landing pages for videos, reports, podcasts or other educational content. These landing pages can include banner ads, opt-in boxes or other calls to action to get leads on your list.
  • Make sure the subscription options for your blog are prominent. When people visit your blog from social media sites, you want to make it easy for them to subscribe.
  • Promote your webinars and live events on social media. Social communities love to share ideas and information, and many people will trade their contact information for the chance to learn something useful at one of your events.

Just remember to keep the bulk of your social media content non-salesy. The more sales-driven your messages, the more you will turn off your community.

You should also realize that opening a Twitter, Facebook or other social account isn’t a magic solution that will solve all your lead generation challenges. It takes time to develop relationships that lead to sales – whether you’re connecting with prospects through social media or a traditional marketing channel. Like any other business strategy, you must commit for the long-term to see measurable return on investment.

What about you? What do you feel is important when using social media to generate leads? Feel free to share your thoughts below.

Author: Rachel Foster

Rachel Foster is a B2B copywriter and CEO of Fresh Perspective Copywriting. She helps her clients improve their response rates, clearly communicate complex messages and generate high-quality leads. Rachel has taught white paper, sell sheet and case study writing for MarketingProfs. She is also one of the Online Marketing Institute’s Top 40+ Digital Strategists in Marketing for 2014. You can connect with Rachel on LinkedIn, follow her on Twitter or check out her B2B marketing blog

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  • http://www.FaceForwardMedia.com SEM Services

    Great points. Social media is just as its name implies, social. Taking the time to meaningfully interact and build relationships goes a long way. You’re completely right about the “long-term”; those who stick with it are able to constantly refine their approach and define their own success.

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  • http://www.stadt-der-zukunft.info Oliver

    Thank you for the post. Yes, a valuable content is a key to web 2.0

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  • Cmiles

    Great article. I totally agree that we should not be using social media to be super sales-y. If we bombard people with sales pitches or with too much information (either in the amount in a single post, or in the number of posts), we’re going to turn people away, as you said. It’s more tactful to be subtle. I read an article that had similar thoughts & it’s really well written. http://www.btobonline.com/article/20110523/BLOGS/110519993/why-content-marketing-2-0-is-like-8216-inception

    Thanks for writing your article!

  • Rachel

    Thanks for the comments! The other thing I see is companies who use social media during a campaign or for an annual event, but then are absent for the rest of the year. Once you start using social media, you create the expectation that you will be there to share info, answer questions, etc. 

  • Anonymous

    Rachel,

    This is a very helpful article and the tips are well explained. Our marketing agency deals only with B2B companies and you’d be surprised how many prospects we talk to that haven’t yet committed to social media as part of their marketing mix. Many of their questions are answered within this post and it’s always helpful to see the basics explained so clearly.

    To provide an answer to the question you ask at the end, I think the idea of content marketing requires an understanding of the “inbound marketing process” and how social media, blogs, landing pages, calls to action and conversion all work together as a lead generation engine. A good content management system and understanding of keywords and SEO basics is helpful too.

    I’m bookmarking for future reference. Thanks Rachel!

    • Rachel

      Hi Billy,

      Thank you for your kind words. I saw a stat that said 93% of marketers now use social media, but it doesn’t seem that high to me. Once companies start to use social media, their next concern is figuring out how to integrate it with the rest of their marketing. You’re right that an understanding of inbound marketing will help with this.

      Sincerely,
      Rachel 

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  • http://twitter.com/getsocialpr Rodger

    Rachel, this is great information and advice. Social media tools finally give use the ability to cultivate two-way communication and relationships. The initial ROI for social media is a return on influence. I also like your suggestions for calls to action. Teaching this stuff in college, I distinguish between soft CTAs and hard CTAs. You’re primarily focusing on soft CTAs that are low-cost and low-commitment, which follows with how we build relationships. We always invest more as the stakes get higher and benefits increase.

    Business owners must learn that investing in customers relations is an investment in the company’s future.

    I write on social PR at http://www.getsocialpr.com.

    • Rachel

      Hi Rodger,

      Thanks for your comment! I agree about soft CTAs and hard CTAs. You first have to get people to take small, risk-free actions – such as reading a blog post or downloading some free content – before they’re ready to take bigger steps. 

      Sincerely,
      Rachel

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  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    You are absolutely right that it takes time to build a relationship on social media.  The first thing that you need to gain from a prospect is trust.  That can be done by providing relevant, informative content on a regular basis in order to establish yourself as an industry expert.  It takes a lot more effort than simply setting up a social media profile.  

    • Rachel

      Hi, Nick. Thanks for your comment! 

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    Really great point and i appreciate with you.

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  • http://www.mactonweb.com web development bangalore

    More marketers are turning to digital channels to connect with great leads. In fact, the FUSION b2b study also revealed that an amazing 96.9% of B2B marketers plan to increase their use of social media this year.The initial ROI for social media is a return on influence.

  • http://www.adsyou.com/ سيارات للبيع في الاردن

    Great article. I totally agree that we should not be using social media
    to be super sales-y. If we bombard people with sales pitches or with too
    much information.