Boost Your Lead Generation Efforts with Social Selling: 7 Tried-and-True Techniques

Boost Your Lead Generation Efforts with Social Selling: 7 Tried-and-True Techniques

We already know that social selling is effective.

It’s a powerful digital sales strategy that allows you to expand your reach, build authority, and increase your sales.

But how does it increase your sales?

That’s a question that frequently comes up when finding the ROI of spending time and resources on social media.

Of course, there are a number of ways that it can improve your sales; including speeding up your sales cycle, improving your close rate, and increasing the lifetime value of your accounts.

But today we will focus on the BIG one - generating leads.

7 Ways to Generate Leads with Social Selling

At the end of the day, our ability to perform as sales reps is all about making money. Can we show our prospects why our solution is valuable to their business and make them take action on it?

And generating leads is often one of the most daunting parts of the entire sales process.

It’s the zero-to-one moment. It’s when you are able to make that cold contact and turn it into a potential opportunity. It’s an art and science.

So let’s explore various ways you can generate leads as part of your social selling strategy.

While this list certainly isn’t exhaustive, my goal is to provide you with some starting points to incorporate into your activities.

Here are seven ways to generate leads with social selling:

#1 - Direct Messages

First and foremost, are direct messages. The ol’ DMs.

Direct messages have a bad reputation, as sales reps typically abuse them. But you don’t have to spam and “pitch slap” your prospects. You can use DMs to generate leads in real effective and authentic ways.

Two of my favorite are:

  • Personalized Value - Send personalized messages introducing yourself and explaining how you can provide value. Avoid sounding too salesy; instead, focus on building a relationship and addressing their needs. Use a short variation of your elevator pitch to highlight your impact.
  • Relevant Follow-up - Send a follow-up to a prospect based on their activity. For instance, if somebody comments on a post you made about problem X, or solution Y, you can send them a direct message asking them if they’d like to discuss that more for their business.

The goal here is to start a conversation about how you can help. Most prospects are happy to talk to people who are able to solve their problems.

#2 - Events

LinkedIn has a built-in events functionality, and it is one of the most underutilized parts of the platform.

You can attend virtual events, webinars, and conferences hosted on LinkedIn. Engage in conversations, ask thoughtful questions, and connect with other participants. It's an excellent way to expand your network and generate conversations that turn into leads.

Example of a recent live stream I did.

Even better, you can host your own event on LinkedIn. You can create a registration page, with date/time/details and a registration link. Then send invites directly to your connections. Your attendees will be notified when the event begins (or when you are live if you are live streaming).

The best part of events is knowing the intent of the audience. Based on the event's topic, you know those attendees have shown a direct interest in a product or service. Including a call-to-action in the content and following up with attendees is a great way to capture warm leads from that intent.

#3 - Calls to Actions

Then you have the strategy of simply including calls-to-action (CTAs) in your content.

It’s simple, I know. But many people forget to regularly include calls-to-action in their posts, comments, and profiles.

You need to tell your audience what to do. Don’t assume they know what action needs to be taken, or how they should purchase from you.

Utilize the two different types of CTAs in your post:

  • Transitional - These are CTAs for people not quite ready to buy. They could include signing up for a newsletter, downloading a guide, or following your account.
  • Direct - These are CTAs for people who are showing buying interest. They could be contact forms, book a call links, or schedule a demo.

Throughout your social media content, consider what transitional and direct calls to action include to help generate more leads.

#4 - Become an Authority

As you share insightful articles, tips, and industry updates to position yourself as an expert. Over time, this raises your personal brand authority.

This brand authority WILL translate into increased leads. I’ve seen it with every sales rep I’ve worked with.

It’s not an overnight strategy, but after 3-6 months of regularly posting valuable content, you’ll begin to see leads start to roll in. Most commonly, people will directly message you asking for help on a problem they believe you can solve.

The stronger your personal brand, the more common this is. I get multiple direct messages weekly from people looking for help. While they are certainly not all qualified leads, helping as many people as possible will only continue to increase your authority.

#5 - Socially Surround

Socially surrounding your prospects is an excellent strategy for both lead generation, as well as lead nurturing.

This strategy is simple: like, comment, and share posts from others in your network, especially those of potential leads. Engaging with their content helps you establish relationships and increase your visibility.

You want to “surround” them with the social engagement that you are doing.

The more they see your name interacting with their content, the more likely they will know, like, and trust you.

To do this, I recommend simply going to the profiles of your prospects, scrolling to their recent activity, and then engaging with their content: leave thoughtful comments, like their posts, and add value where you can.

If you use Sales Navigator, I highly recommend you create custom lead lists. This will enable you to quickly see all the recent activity from any companies or individual prospects (better to target people) from anyone you’ve identified as a lead.

#6 - Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

When it comes to your social selling activity, your profile page is your primary landing page.

Every activity you do, posting content, commenting, liking, etc., leads people back to your profile. So you must optimize your LinkedIn profile for lead generation.

Create a compelling and professional profile highlighting how you help people, your expertise, and clear calls to action to work with you. Always use a professional headshot and craft a compelling headline and summary.

Your profile should pass the “grunt test.”

That is, if a caveman with no historical knowledge of your profession viewed your profile, could they grunt out the answers to the following questions within 5 seconds:

  1. What do you do?
  2. Who do you do it for?
  3. What’s the next step to work with you?
An example of my profile, with clear value statements and calls to action. 

Clarity is key here. If your profile clarifies what you do and the value you provide, you’ll generate more leads from it.

If you want a more detailed walkthrough of optimizing your profile, I recommend you check out my course. There, you’ll find step-by-step videos on how to optimize each part of your profile.

#7 - Leverage Your Network

My final lead generation tactic is to leverage your network. Turn your social network that you’ve been building into a lead generation machine.

How do you do this?

Simple - have more conversations.

Just like real-life networking, social networking is a valuable way to meet new people who you could mutually benefit. Every person that you meet online has the potential to either be a customer, employee, vendor, or referral partner.

As you run a social selling strategy, you should leverage your expanded network to generate more leads.

I suggest inviting one of your connections to meet with you each week. This does not need to be a sales conversation, but more of a “virtual coffee” conversation (I hate that term, by the way) where you get to know each other.

I’ve found these conversations to be incredibly effective. In almost every case, there is some way that you can benefit one another, whether it’s providing a resource, giving a referral, or talking through a business challenge.

Remember, “Your network is your net worth.” Use your social network to generate leads and improve your sales process!

This week I want you to get intentional about using a social selling strategy to generate leads. And no, I don’t just mean spamming people with direct messages.

With intentional planning, social selling can transform your lead generation results.

Here are two action items you can focus on this week:

  1. Pick a Strategy to Implement - Review the tactics above and consider which strategy(ies) would be most effective for you and your sales process. Begin to implement that activity over the next week.
  2. Track Your Results - Start to track new leads generated using social strategy. This may require an update in your CRM to allow you to choose “social selling” as a dropdown. Over time, you should be able to see the ROI of your social activity as the leads start flowing in!

Which lead generation tactics have you found to be most successful? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Also, if you've enjoyed this article, please forward it to your friends and colleagues. I appreciate you helping to grow the Sell with Social community!

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