Social media agencies are doing a lot for their clients, but there’s one area where most fall behind. This was made obvious to me a few days ago when I read a benefits statement from an agency that outlined the advantages of its services, including “building a bigger fan base” and “increasing positive sentiment” across social channels.
For big businesses with budget to burn, I guess this makes sense. Have an agency rack up likes and followers, publish social content and use social monitoring to make sure social conversations are positive. It checks social media off the marketing to-do list, and the business generates sales through its other marketing and sales channels.
But this approach doesn’t make sense for a smaller businesses, or even big businesses who are focused on financial return. Granted, awareness is important, but a large fanbase or following isn’t worth anything unless a business can turn it into actual leads, sales and dollars.
A Better Focus for Agencies
The majority of agencies are doing an incredible job of promoting awareness of their clients and getting them involved in social conversations. However, when agencies shy away from bottom line conversations, they do a major disservice to their clients.
How can an agency boost their clients’ bottom line? By focusing on social media lead generation. Ask clients’ fans and followers to exchange contact information for an incentive: exclusive content (ebooks, whitepaper, etc.) or as part of an entry process for a giveaway or contest. Once a business has contact information, they can add these leads to email and sales campaigns.
This has two main benefits:
1. Fans and followers don’t want to see direct sales messages in social feeds. They’re there to talk to friends, be entertained and have fun. But the email inbox is a place of business. In fact, 77 percent of consumers prefer to receive sales-type communications through email (compared to 5 percent for social media). Valuable content and giveaways are a great way to transition fans and followers from a soft, fun channel (social media) to a more sales-receptive channel (email).
2. Your clients won’t need to pay to play. As social media sites become more crowded, it’s very easy to get fans and followers, but incredibly difficult to get a message seen without paying for ads. On Facebook, less than 16 percent of fans see a page’s posts, and on networks that show all posts, like Twitter and Pinterest, they are buried in minutes.
Social media is an incredibly effective way to find new potential customers, and there’s nothing wrong with regular posts, but once potential customers are fans and followers, it’s cheaper and more effective to collect their contact information and move the conversation to phone or email.
Obvious, Measurable Results
I’ve seen a social lead gen focus make a tangible difference for businesses. Most recently one of the clients I work with, James Breese of Kettlebell Fever, tripled his revenue by focusing on social lead generation. His main tactic was using Facebook giveaways, and then putting entrants through a qualification process, and it worked like magic.
Obviously creating lead forms, giveaways and contests for clients takes some time and energy. The process is a lot easier, and faster with an agency tool that allows agencies to add pre-built elements, but also customize to their clients’ specifications.
When agencies focus on lead generation and the bottom line, they keep their clients, even in hard times and bad economies because they are actually generating revenue.
What do you think? How do you incorporate social lead generation in your agency offering?