Why is it advantageous to use social media as a lead generation tool?

Yesterday we talked about a new way of thinking for the marketing professional… thinking of your customers as people first. So why does this matter? Why is it beneficial to start communicating directly to your consumer base in a peer-to-peer environment instead of mass marketing?

In my opinion… the sell can be made easier.

We (business professionals) are all searching for ways to better market to our consumer base. How can you be creative and produce advertising that will catch the attention of a passerby? How can you create a brochure that will pull people into the folds and sell them on a product? Using social media can help bring the guard down of a consumer. We all exist in walled gardens… holding our purse strings tight to our chest. It is very rare that anyone or anything will ever get into our mind to sell us on a process. We tend to listen to our peers more than anything else.

Social media (especially blogs) can help in building trust between an individual and a brand. Let’s use social media to build that trust.

1. Tell customer and personal stories on your blog. If you currently have a blog for your company be very sure that you are telling stories and not regurgitating industry information. How are you setting yourself apart from your competition? You are more likely to garner leads (in the long term) if you are telling stories with personality and flair. People will latch on and relate with stories about other customers.

2. Utilize LinkedIN now and forever. LinkedIN is a powerful tool. If used correctly it can open up huge potential for networking with like minded individuals. Your current customers and likely to be connect to other individuals that could be powerful referral sources for you. Do not underestimate the power of your current customers.

For more tips on using LinkedIN: 10 Ways to Use LinkedIN,

3. Connect to a Local Social Network. In Indiana we are extremely blessed to have the local networking site of Smaller Indiana. Smaller Indiana has over 7000 professionals across the state who are willing to talk, debate, and share information among each other. We have used SI to connect to hundreds of individuals and business owners. By sharing in experience and then connecting offline you have a great opportunity to build trust.

4. Track local users on Twitter. If you are currently using Twitter to share information it is extremely important to connect with potential customers in your area of influence (Do you see a trend forming here?) You have the ability to search over different keywords while using Twitter. If a user is talking about a topic that is central to your business… communicate with them!

5. Encourage Your Peers to Share. One of the more powerful parts of social media is the ability to share content over a wide-spread group of people. Encourage your connections, customers, and friends to spread your story out across the masses.

You should always keep traditional marketing in the mix whenever possible. Social media is not the end all of the marketing kingdom. However, the tool will give you the ability to connect with individuals on a completely different level… building trust… and eventually the sale… in the process.

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