The 5 Most Lucrative Lead Sources for B2B via Social Ads

@Wendy | Conversion Optimization, Marketing Automation

We’re always working with our clients to demonstrate the value of social’s impact on revenue and although we find it difficult to come up with number that can quantify organic and user generated content (let’s just say it’s in the ‘frooglepopillions’), marketers tend to gravitate towards more tangible calculations which lands us squarely in the paid social media advertising bucket. This includes traditional display ads on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, as well as less traditional options such as Facebook Promoted Posts and Twitter Promoted Tweets.


I’d like to preface that there is no magic bullet as to which will work for you but suffice to say, they all have potential and with the right integrated marketing strategy behind them, they can optimize your revenue cycle.

Here’s what we’ve determined as the top five sources of revenue generated from social media:

1. Twitter Promoted Tweets

Promoted Tweets can be targeted to search results (such as a specific hashtag) or to specific users (your followers, or like followers) and appear in a user’s search results or timeline. They are clearly designated as promoted and typically include a link to a landing page with a registration form. They are priced using a bid/auction system on a cost-per-engagement model, so you pay only when someone clicks, retweets, replies to, or favorites our tweet. Generally, they score hands down for reach, engagement, and adding targeted followers when coupled with launching hashtags or a Twitter contest.

Opportunity: The secret is targeting the right content and user base and when done correctly, can yield relevant and significant results – a significant gain in followers. The opportunity comes in your ability to engage with your audience via quality, content and conversation. Promoting your account is a good way to get some exposure, but growing and engaging your audience depends on how well you understand your followers, manage your brand and how effectively you create and share your content.

2. Facebook Promoted Posts

When you publish content on your company’s Facebook page, only a small percentage of your fans will see that content in their news feeds. Promoted Posts are a way to increase the ‘weight’ of your posts so more of the people who like your page will see the post; it will also be seen by a larger percentage of the friends of people who interact with your post.

Because it shows up in the timeline (as opposed to an ad on the side of the page), a Promoted Post can have higher visibility and engagement than a regular Facebook ad. (This service has been around for a while for company pages, and Facebook controversially recently released it in the US for personal pages as well.) Remember to embed a link to a landing page with a registration form — and then promote the post to make sure more people see it. This gives us the dual benefit of nurturing the relationship with our fans and generating leads.

Opportunity: Again, investing in promoted posts only yields the best results when the ad itself is engaging and targeted to your audience. Once you have your audience engaged, it’s just more of the same – creating fun, visual content that will either entertain, educate or evangelize your audience.

3. Facebook Advertisements

Facebook Ads are displayed alongside a news feed specifically targeting an interest category (by location, age, interests, friends of connections, etc.). Facebook also recently announced Custom Audiences which let you target ads via email address, Facebook UIDs, or phone number. Facebook Ads can be in the form of a regular advertisement (pay for advertisements on a cost-per-click basis (CPC) or an impressions basis (CPM)) or as a sponsored story (the advertiser highlights a ‘Liked’ a post or page which may increase relevance versus a regular ad).

Opportunity: Relevant Facebook fans are valuable and given the ability to target at a deeper level, you’re gaining fans and potential customers. By becoming fans, consumers are saying that they want to know more about your brand, and are giving you permission to communicate with them, so long as that communication continues to interest them, they are also more likely to become your customers.

4. LinkedIn Advertisements

According to LinkedIn, as of September 30, 2012, it operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 187 million members in over 200 countries and territories. LinkedIn is the newest entrant of the mix for us and they offer a variety of advertising options including:

  • Self-service option for small display ads
  • Complex offerings supporting rich-media display ads
  • Targeted InMail
  • Polls

What LinkedIn offers which is distinctively different than other social platforms is an amazing ability to target specific B2B buyers — by job title, job function, and seniority (e.g. “Vice President” or “Owners”), industry, geography, and company size — as well as the ability to target specific companies  with membership in specific LinkedIn Groups. However, it is much more expensive ($2 mininimum CPCs).

Opportunity: Although granular targeting is available, it’s not always best to use it. Adding more criteria to each campaign reduces the available audience. Create ad campaigns with a target audience size of 150,000 to 400,000 members giving your ad campaign the best chance of success because your ads will have a greater opportunity to receive impressions while maintaining clicks. Ultimately, the targeting is great but if you are trying to get to a really specific audience (i.e. IT storage managers, F500, etc.) it might be an untapped area for your niche.

5. SlideShare

With 60 million monthly visitors, 130 million page views, its among the top 200 visited website in the world. Although this is not a traditional paid advertising platform, with the SlideShare PRO upgrade and their LeadShare tool, B2B marketers can create a custom-branded page and the ability to capture leads whenever someone views, emails or downloads a presentation (or video) and an exception way to monetize your visual content.

Opportunity: The LeadShare tool only gets you so far. If you want to maximize your leads on SlideShare, you need to develop engaging presentations leveraging targeted topics and great visuals with proper messaging. More importantly, be sure to ask targeted, relevant questions in your contact form by choosing the pay-per-lead option. Customize your form  and ask relevant questions at a specific point in your presentation to reach out to leads.

Conclusions:

  • Twitter Promoted Tweets — with the right strategy in place, Promoted Tweets can be an effective channel for lead gen. In our experience, tying high quality, gated content through targeted #hashtag promotions can yield results in line with more traditional PPC. The platform itself has made leaps in bounds in recent months, with added targeting and lower minimum spend requirements which will help our clients to continue to roll out campaigns and benchmark success.
  • Facebook Promoted Posts — relevant, visually engaging content, combined with highly granular targeting and strong content offers are the secrets to success when it comes to effectively promoting Facebook content.
  • Facebook Ads and Sponsored Stories — like all social ads, targeting, content and testing are the ingredients to success, especially for B2B marketers. The typical mistakes B2B marketers make when running Facebook ads is the lack of testing and updating ad creative to help combat social ad fatigue.
  • LinkedIn Advertisements — We’ve had some great success with LinkedIn ads, especially for niche high tech B2B lead gen, however it can get expensive on a per click basis ($2 min CPCs). Advanced profile targeting is LinkedIn’s strong suit, eg. if you are trying to get to a really specific audience (ie IT Storage Managers, F500) it might be a untapped area for your niche.
  • SlideShare — another typically under utilized channel for B2B marketers. From a multi-channel perspective , it can start to fill your inbound funnel due to the nature that people who view and download content on SlideShare are already prospects (although leads can come from the search engine friendliness of the platform).

Additions & Feedback

If you have additional links, sources or ideas that you think would be helpful, please comment below or tag me in Google+.

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