Why is it advantageous to use social media as a lead generation tool? Good question – one I plan on answering in the following post. Let’s rock it!

I’ve had conversations in the past where we have discussed the value of social media from customer communication to lead generation. Remember that social media is a communication tool not necessarily a sales tool. Your customer is your best sales person and you want to use social media to enhance that relationship.

You want them to sell their friends.

We are all searching for ways to better market to our customer base. It is the one thing that keeps business owners up at night (other than payroll). How can you be creative and produce a story that will catch the attention? How do you actually tell your story? Using social media can help bring the guard down.

We tend to listen to peers more than anyone 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. Use Facebook Ads to Drive Leads. Facebook Ads could be one of the more important things you could do in social media in order to drive leads and business development.

Check out the following posts to help with the building of your Facebook ads:

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.

6. Try LinkedIn Ads to Drive Leads. I’m a huge advocate of using LinkedIn for networking and personal brand development. I have used the site religiously for over 4 years and will not stop. However, I have less experience in the LinkedIn ad placement and development. Check out this post – 5 Tips for High Conversion Rates of LinkedIn Ads

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.