Likes to leads

Presented live on Tuesday, Sept 17, 2019

Attend our live tutorials

Wanna use social media to generate not just likes… but leads?

But of course! We all do.

In this live tutorial, we’ve brought in social pro Michael Patterson to share all things lead gen on social media, including:

  • What content to give away to attract leads in the first place
  • How to find conversations you should be involved in
  • How to interact in convos that hint at a need you can relieve
  • What to write in your bio (so followers become leads)
  • Free insights available right now – within FB, LinkedIn, etc – to help connect you with the potential leads that are following you… and see who’s missing from your tribe

Check it out!


Introduction [00:00]

Joanna: Mikey. Just kidding. No, I just want to call you that so badly. I’m so sorry. It’s like, a problem.

Michael: It’s okay. It’s fine. I feel like it’s endearing. It speaks volumes to how well we know each other.

Joanna: Yes, because we met eight months ago maybe. Maybe nine. So let’s pretend we know each other really, really well.

Michael: Perfect.

Joanna: Yeah, great.

Michael: Blossoming friendship.

Joanna: But it’s awesome that you’re here. Thank you for being here. You’re very busy over at Sprout as their marketing lead. So what are you going to share with us today?

Sprout Social’s Background in “Generating Leads” [00:50]

Michael: Well, it’s really interesting to talk about this because I do work on somewhat of the demand on the lead gen side. So that’s the leads component at Sprout Social, which is a social media management tool. So that’s the social side. We obviously live and breathe social media. There’s just so many different ways that you can grow your following and convert that following into interest individuals. You may see that I crossed out leads. I was listening to the Drift podcast this morning and they were talking about how they changed their entire nomenclature around leads to interested people. because we’re marketing to individuals, so we’re just recognizing that. So I just made that little tweak.

“But I’m going to talk to some of my favorite ways that you can actually generate leads in social with some of our Sprout data and with how everybody can pull their own data.”

Joanna: Love it. Are we ready? Are you ready to just lay it down?

Michael: Ready to go.

Joanna: Yeah? Awesome. Oh, people with exceptionally good taste is what Hannah prefers to call customers.

Michael: Oh. Okay.

Joanna: Yeah. I’m sure that’s-

Michael: I will make that edit for the next time I present this.

Joanna: That’s awesome. All right, let’s see it.

You Grow Your Following by Being Social [02:00]

Michael: All right, so kind of, because there are so many different ways to go about growing your following and converting those into leads I just wanted to kind of go around this one central theme that kind of the idea around social is you want to be social and that is how you actually grow your following. Not just casting a wide net of growing whatever following you can, but actually getting those individuals who are going to engage with you and who have the highest propensity to buy your products, the ones who are actually interested in your products. So it’s all about engagement.

And in that vein, I wanted to take a step back to talk about my favorite tweet of all time. Because it was an engagement tweet, Joe and I were just talking about how six and a half years ago I was applying to be an intern here at Sprout Social. And after I got off that internship call, I immediately tweeted something super boring. Like, “Hey, I’m going to go celebrate with the Price is Right,” without actually tagging the Price is Right. I was a senior college so I didn’t really know what I was doing.

CBS Daytime actually saw that tweet through their social media listening and they favorited it. That has always had such a impact on me to where even though I couldn’t find the actual tweet, six and a half years later, I do remember them actually reaching out and engaging with me. So kind of the big central theme is to be social on social and to engage. 

Overview of 3 Strategies to Generate More Followers  [03:14]

Three ways, from a high level, what we’re going to talk about is using the data from our recent study and data from your personal social media to create content, to create better content. Which isn’t to say that your content’s not great, but this is really how to level it up.

Then we’re going to transition into how to use social media listening to find relevant buyers and relevant conversations to join. And then inevitably, once you grow that following, you’re part of those conversations, how to convert those followers into leads or interested people. I didn’t change it everywhere I guess.

Strategy 1: Understand the 3 Types of Content that Followers are searching for [03:50]

All right, so increasing followers with better content. What to share at the top of the funnel, because later in the deck we talk about at the bottom of the funnel. So this was a recent study that we did at Sprout asking individuals what they wanted most from people to share on social media. So, 59% of people want content that teaches. 

So if you’re looking to create content that’s educational for your specific niche or for your brand’s audience, some tips that I’ve put together are look to your FAQs, whether that’s insights that you just have as a marketer or if you’re talking to your sales team, like what are the biggest questions people have on social marketing and something that we might start to create content for.

Identify those top questions. You can use something like Quora to see what people are really looking for in your industry or just any site. You could use your keyword data and things like that just to start creating educational content that people are actually going to enjoy. And there’s somebody that I just started following who is a consultant and she put together this entire slide deck that you could just download right from her website. So kind of giving away the entire store and just making sure that you’re adding a lot of value.

56% of people want content that entertains

This is always kind of dicey because you don’t really have to be a full comedian on social media. I think we all look to like the Wendy’s of the world and think how do I get that funny or or that weird on social media. That’s not really what everybody wants though. When I was at Inbound we were talking about how something as simple as just infusing your social media posts with a little bit of wit can go a long way. I think that unless it mirrors your brand persona to be this over the top comedian, less is more.  

Then 56% of people want content that inspires.

And I think that this is where we start to get more towards that bottom of the funnel sharing case studies or user generated content, testimonials of what you can do for somebody that follows you or just what they’ll get if they start to follow you. That will inspire them. And these are just the three kinds of content that you can start creating to grow your following.

Top Content To Avoid If People Are Unfollowing You [05:55]

On the other side of that coin there is the what not to share. This kind of goes back to really staying true to your brand persona, not posting too many promotional messages. I think you need to infuse value for every post that you’re putting out that talks about what you can offer somebody. Using slang and jargon, especially I think if you don’t know how. I being one of those individuals that don’t really know much about the current slang or jargon, so I wouldn’t play with that. Just not having any personality. So I think developing your social media brand identity and what that looks like and staying true to that while adding value and you’ll be just fine avoiding the annoying actions that get people to unfollow you.

Free Tools For Social Media Analytics To Discover Your Target Audience [06:47]

Once you’ve kind of dig into or create a presence that you have posted enough content or you’ve grown your following a good amount, you can start to leverage some of the free insights that the social media networks themselves provide. So social analytics through platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, they’re all free with your accounts. There are tools like Sprout that do offer social media analytics, but you can also pull them right from the native networks if you don’t have access to a tool like that. And once you start doing that, you’ll get a better sense of who exactly is starting to follow you and their interests, their occupations and things like that. And then you can start to put on your marketing cap and get a better sense of what kind of content do I create to really satisfy this person in management or a self-employed, sales and marketing. And then catering your posting strategy around that.

Once you start to do that, you can sort of look towards your top tweets and sort them by which of my tweets … And this is my feed. They’re not really gems, but you can sort by the amount of impressions a certain tweet got so you know that it resonated or the engagement that it got. Where I think is probably the better place to start, because back to that point of you don’t just want to amass this following of people that aren’t going to read your messages or interact with you. 

“You want to grow, I think, a smaller, more tight knit community of engaged individuals who are actually going to read your content, look to you for advice and then potentially purchase what you’re selling, whether that’s a service or a product.”

So you start to make these kind of connections to where, okay, sorting by impressions, I can see that the top tweets that I’ve sent out were ones that were actually in replies to big brands. So those were the ones that got viewed the most. But in terms of engagement, it was some self-deprecating image. Start to sort your content like that and get a better sense of the content that people like and then cater your content around that.

Joanna: Michael, can I just ask, because is that report view you just showed actually in Twitter? I am very guilty of not doing anything outside of posting and reading in Twitter, so I never look at what’s actually happening with any of the content.

Michael: Yep.

Joanna: So we can just find this view in Twitter?

How To Find Your Top Tweets on Twitter [08:50]

Michael: Yeah. If you click on your little profile picture icon, you can go down to analytics and then it has a ton of insights around what is your top tweet, how is your following growing, how is it declining and things like that. There’s a ton of insight you can get on almost all the native networks. For some of them, I think Instagram or LinkedIn, will require you to have a actual business page. I know some of us here are freelancers or consultants, so that may not be as accessible, but in that case there are other tools that you can start to pull those analytics as well.

Joanna: Okay, that’s awesome. Thanks.

Michael: So you’ve got to dive in and see which tweets are resonating.

Joanna: I know, right? What have I been missing? Yeah.

Michael: All of them.

Joanna: All of them.

Michael: And just to showcase another look is … I don’t share any videos on Facebook, but this is kind of showing just how much content you can pull from all of these networks. So Facebook has a ton of the same insights and then some.

What Is Social Listening? How To Use Social Listening to Grow Your Audience [09:50]

Okay. So that’s kind of creating all the content that you know is going to resonate with your audience, get shared, engage, and start to grow your following. But once you’ve kind of … If you’re super proactive and you create an entire content calendar, maybe a month out, you maybe thinking to yourself, now what? How do I continue to grow my following? And the answer that I like is social listening. So it’s finding conversations that people that are your ideal customer profile are having on social networks. So it could be somebody asking a question or maybe a LinkedIn group, but finding all those relevant conversations through social listening.

Social listening can be free as well. Right? So on the left hand side here is the Twitter advanced search. So you enter some of the words or the exact phrases and hashtags that you think people in your industry could be talking about that you want to jump in on. And I have an example. So on the left hand side I used the Twitter advanced search to look up all these words, not particularly in this order. Social, tools, recommend, question mark. So the idea being that [inaudible 00:11:01] recommendations for a social media tool would probably benefit from hearing from Sprout Social. And that said, I found this conversation. Have you social listening for your business? If not, how come? And then somebody actually commented, “Which social tools do you use and/or recommend?” So at this point the Sprout Social social media marketing team can jump into this conversation. Say something along the lines of, “Hey Sprout Social offers a feature you’re probably looking for,” and [inaudible 00:11:31] can start to sell the value why to use.

I think pro tips are, if you use Google CPC, a lot of those phrases are the ones that you want to mirror over into your Twitter account. So something like social media tools is something that we would definitely want to start searching. You can save out those most successful searches as well to save some time in the future.

But once you find these conversations, I think the big thing to remember is to add value based off what somebody is typing in is going to indicate where they are in their journey, whether they’re still in the awareness phase of somebody could ask what is a social media tool. I wouldn’t want to just send them to Sprout’s pricing page and say, like, “Hey, buy Sprout,” because they’re just not ready for that. So somebody asking for a recommendation of tools, clearly kind of aware that the tools exist and at that point we could send them something a little bit more proactive to get that sale. So kind of creating value dependent on where that person is in the customer cycle based off what the conversation says.

How Much Time Should I Spend On Social Listening to Grow Followers? [12:30]

Joanna: [crosstalk 00:12:35] quickly, when it comes to social listening, we think about … As you know, there are small business owners, SAS founders, consultants in the room right now. And I’m wondering how much time would you recommend a person spend on social listening? A day or a week? Is there a rule? Is there a, “Try X”?

Michael: I don’t know if there’s a hard and fast rule as much as it I think depends on the success you’re finding. If a small business person here is wearing the hats of the CPC manager, they’re doing all the SEO, they’re doing the website design and all these different things, I would probably just look at it through the lens of how many leads am I finding and is it because I’m not giving myself a chance or have I just kind of tapped out all the resources and it’s just not working for me. Because I would just keep … The one I think about is a small business restaurant, say in Chicago. You can look up near Chicago, pizza recommendations or something like that. And I think you’ll find a bevy of messages coming in that you could just jump in hungry, hungry hippo style. But if you’re in an industry that’s kind of new and not a lot of people know that it’s growing, it may not be the best use of your time. It maybe a little bit more beneficial to start those conversations on the publishing end until the industry catches up.

I don’t know if there’s a silver bullet.

Joanna: Okay. Just I think the first thing is just prioritizing it in the first place. Start putting it in your calendar, put it in your to do list. Start actually doing it instead of just plain not doing it.

Michael: Yeah. Completely.

Joanna: Okay, cool. Thanks.

Monitoring Hashtags to Grow Your Online Presence [14:16]

Michael: And then the next one is about monitoring hashtags. Somebody I work with was talking about how they love this Gary Vaynerchuk strategy. And I know the idea was around free strategies. So the $1.80 isn’t actually money, right? It actually is. Gary talking about you find the nine different trending hashtags that you think are completely relevant to your business and then within those hashtags, comment on 10 of the different Instagram posts within there. And comment something valuable, something that adds value. So you’re joining conversations and you’re growing your sphere of influence throughout Instagram or Twitter and LinkedIn if you would do it through those networks as well. But then the 10 posts for nine different hashtags multiplied by your two cents is what gives you the $1.80. So first step is finding all the best hashtags in your industry, engaging with the top ones, leaving your two cents. Then over time just continuing to comment and make yourself somewhat of a pillar of those communities.

And then with all of this, it seems really passive, like a really passive thing to do, like publishing content, joining conversations. But over time you will see these followers increase as people are looking to you as this kind of staple of the community who’s out there lending value instead of just somebody who’s trying to immediately sell them on something that they potentially don’t know about or need quite yet.

Content Strategies to Convert Followers to Leads [15:50]

But that said, once you do grow your following through these first few steps, maybe you have a sizable following as it is, talking about converting your followers to actual leads. This was from the study that we did at Sprout. So how brands can actually encourage followers to shop with them. This is what people are doing now from a marketing perspective. So 61% of people are creating posts, offering discounts or trials. 45% provide more information about products or services. 40% demonstrate how a product or service is actually used. 23% post about something the consumer personally supports. And this is where we get into a lot of, I guess the politics of Twitter and whether or not you want to take a stand on these certain things. So that’s a way different discussion. But moving on past that. 16% actually increased transparency into their operations and kind of show the people behind the keyboards.

So what is some of that content? So create posts offering discounts or trials. But what does that look like? So what to share. The bottom of the funnel edition. So two out of three … What we’re looking at here is what marketers post on social channels versus what the consumers actually want. So marketers are posting things that teach, things that tell a story and inspire. But [inaudible 00:16:58] on the other side of that, consumers also [inaudible 00:17:00] posts that showcase new products or services. So when you look at that all in totality, two of the three top consumer preferences are actually that consideration level. So once you grow that following with those inspirational educational posts like that, then you can actually start to turn those followers into your leads with that consideration content.

So we’re only meeting a fraction of what consumers prefer to see on social media and we’re pushing audiences down the funnel with some of that consideration content, like case studies. So if you do have a happy customer or if you’ve worked with somebody as a consultant who has nice things to say about you, see if you can get a case study and start to share those on social media with some of those data highlights. Potentially a quote from them about what it was like to work with you. Once you get into that more product or service driven is the discounts and trials if you have those or maybe a contest as to how somebody can win a trial or a discount. And then some of those FAQs, but not so much about the industry but about your product. So at Sprout we get a lot of those more technical questions that people ask, like what networks do you integrate with and things like that. So those are the more product driven FAQs that we can start to share and people can make up their mind about whether or not we’d be a good fit.


Your Customer’s Values May Not Always Align With Yours [18:20]

Joanna: I was just going to say quite a difference between what consumers want versus what marketers want to share. The discounts or sales is very telling and posts that tell a story. They’re like … This is not aligned. Not that I can’t see why. Some brands don’t want to always be associated with discounts and sales, but it’s just, it’s very interesting.

Michael: And it seems like we always, I think as marketers, kind of over-correct as well. And I feel like these numbers kind of flawed, because then we’ll start to see something like this and this will go get really popular and then we’ll just do nothing but [inaudible 00:18:54] discounts and deals and [inaudible 00:18:55] because I think we sometimes have a propensity to ruin things. But not always.

Joanna: Never. Marketers have never ruined anything.

Michael: No, no. Search results are great.

Joanna: Yeah.

Michael: So this is hearkening back to that. 60% of the social users want content showcasing new products or services. So if you are getting out there and creating new products or if you’re adding something to your consulting, maybe you did social but now you’re doing search, sharing out some of that stuff so that those individuals who earlier may not have found you to be the best fit because you didn’t offer that may now reconsider you as well.

But actually getting the conversion. So how do you get somebody from the social network into your CRM or just get that phone number so you can call them and have a discussion? [19:35]

Pushing into your website using your bios and I have a few bio examples in here later. But there’s freedom that add links to your bios. Some works more than others but make sure you fully build your about sections, including your offering. Messages to share links to your site within your tweets or your Facebook posts, like how to actually get people from that network to your website. Also I think the idea around building a specific landing page for your social media traffic as well. So say that you don’t really know where somebody is at within the buyer journey. You can create a landing page that has everything from the awareness level, like, “Hey, here are our top blog posts to consideration. Here are our case studies,” all the way down to potentially a form at the bottom which says something like what, ” You know what? Get in touch with us. We’ll reach out and have a conversation.”

Direct messages are also incredibly powerful as well. A lot of the networks allow you to [inaudible 00:20:42] people right to your direct messages. Facebook is doing a lot of really interesting things as well with their Facebook messenger services. They have chat bots now that you could add to your website and live chat experiences you can add to your website as well. So direct message is super powerful as long as you ensure that those are open for people that are interested to reach out to you.

Then within … So let’s assume that you’re sharing content ,like case studies or blog posts, things like that. Just making sure that within those pieces of content you have places that people can click to get to, maybe a form or a phone number to get in touch with you or potentially just adding a chat experience like Facebook chat or like a tool like drift so that they can sort of have that conversation.

How to Use Google Analytics to Track How Your Audience is Finding You [21:26]

There’s a lot of different things that you can probably get people to convert with. Maybe it’s a newsletter that you want people to subscribe to. So I think one of the bigger things that is important to remember is if you’re not using a social analytics tool, you can always use Google analytics. I was looking through Google analytics yesterday as I was building this out to get a sense of how easy is it to figure out what social networks and what’s social posts are driving conversions. And it’s super easy. This is just right out of the box. I just clicked on the left hand side. It’s social media. Then you can drill into the social networks that are driving people to your website, the actual landing pages they get to, the posts that they came from. And with that you can start to, based off how your Google analytics is built out, look at how many conversions each social network is sending, especially if you associate a conversion value. 

“Then this becomes really powerful to start to kind of make the case of do I spend too much time on YouTube when it’s not really working for me?” [22:22]

How are my Instagram stories and what are these new networks and are they actually driving revenue and leads for your business? And then kind of catering your content strategy and your time spend to that.

Example of a Successful Facebook Profile for Generating Leads [22:40]

Now optimizing your profile. I don’t know if everybody here has heard of Marty Smith but she’s the queen of Facebook. I looked at her profile yesterday and it’s amazing how well built out this is. So you can see the left hand side, there is a ton of different pages you can go to including a free video success kit, which is its own lead gen magnet. But even just in the about section, it has the business information, a mission, contact info, including website, Twitter, Instagram. So kind of that cross promotion from different social networks, affiliation, about, company overview. I think the [inaudible 00:23:19] that is consistently looking at the profile that you’ve built and your homepage and how you’re adding links to that and making sure that, because these networks are consistently adding new functionality to describe yourself because they want more information about you, just making sure that you fill that out with as much as your business capabilities as possible so that people can always get in touch with you and figure out what [inaudible 00:23:44] taking things like these lead magnets.

We have Instagram as well, so in talking about this presentation with somebody that is part of our Facebook community group. Okay.

[inaudible 00:24:01]

and I think you start to see that in a lot of posts. It’s like LinkedIn bio, so actually making sure link in your bio. There’s [inaudible 00:24:12] out there now where instead of just having one link, it’s a link to a page which is more like a gallery and that has links to other pages so you can add more content, services, products and things that you do. You can also save some of your [inaudible 00:24:28] kind of like your brand presence. So this is looking at Sprouts. It’s our team Sprouts, our insights and we have all our custom imagery and things like that. So taking full advantage of this to not only push people to your website and become those leads, but also showcase your brand.

Tools and Strategies to Optimize Your Social Media Pages [24:45]

And just over time, optimizing your presence, your bio, making sure that you have that clear CTA. People understanding the bio, especially on Instagram. Sharing links to your site or links to a library of your resources and functionalities. Networks, kind of like we talked about, making sure that you’re consistently looking at the networks that you’re using and that they’re actually providing value for you. Social media is really dynamic and we have all the new networks coming out. Is Tick-Tock good for my business? And there’s no one size fits all. It could be good for some, bad for the others such as a matter of jumping in and testing it for yourselves. And then just testing a variety of goals because people are at different stages of the funnel at all time. And Google analytics provides a ton of free data points that you can use to make the case between what networks and what goals are working for you.

I feel like this was a lot, but I just wanted to give some tips and I guess if you have any questions about them, I don’t know if we’re answering them now or if you want to send them to either the Sprout Twitter, my Twitter. Happy to expand on any of these thoughts.

Joanna: That is awesome. We are right at the end of our time, but it was fantastic. Thank you so much, Michael. There’s a ton of here. People are asking for the slides, but we will have the replay available afterward. Follow up, please, everyone with your questions that we weren’t able to get to. Joseph, Martha, VS, Crystal, Mohammad, if you want to tweet directly to Michael, I assume these are both, mpatterson22 and SproutSocial [crosstalk 00:26:23].

Michael: [crosstalk 00:26:24] Mikey.

Joanna: What was that?

Michael: I got to change it to Mikey or something.

Joanna: I’m just saying, it’s charming. It’s a charming name.

All right, cool. Well that was great and I’m sorry we couldn’t get to questions, but it was awesome information. Everybody’s chatting that it’s awesome and super informative. So thank you so much for taking time out of your day to teach us this awesomeness and someone wants a discount code. Ha ha. But yeah, then hopefully we’ll see you on Twitter.

Michael: Send me a message. I could probably do it.Joanna: Do it. Do it. Sprout’s awesome. We use it too, and we love it. So, cool. Thanks everybody. Michael, thank you. And we’ll see you all next week for our next Tutorial Tuesday on using voice of customer data to write sales pages. All right. See you later guys. Bye.

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