social media how toAre you looking for new ways to generate leads with social media?

Could your online lead generation program use an upgrade?

If so, you’re not alone. Only 40% of marketers feel their current online marketing mix meets sales pipeline needs.

In this article, I’ll show you three ways marketers can increase and track qualified leads via social media.

What’s the Real Lead Generation Problem?

B2B marketers often peg social media as a brand awareness vehicle, not a lead generation tool. But if you haven’t given social lead generation a shot, your business is missing out on a lucrative marketing channel.

marketo tweet

Social media can help you generate leads. Image source: iStockPhoto.

If lack of ROI is your biggest challenge with social media, there are likely two issues:

  • Your team hasn’t agreed on how to measure social media success. Don’t get distracted by vanity metrics (e.g., Facebook likes or Twitter followers) when you should be focusing on metrics that contribute to revenue.
  • Your company’s use of social media doesn’t align with business objectives. In many companies, social media defaults to supporting traditional communications or customer service goals. If your social media strategy wasn’t built to support lead generation, it’s impossible to track and report positive ROI.

Don’t shortchange your marketing mix by only using social media as a brand awareness tool. Instead, use the tips below to start generating and tracking social media leads.

#1: Gate Enticing Content With a User-Friendly Form

In marketing, what constitutes a qualified lead?

If you answered with generating a filled-out form, you likely already have valuable content on your website that requires the user to provide information to access it. If you’re not promoting that form-gated content on your social media channels, you can’t measure leads and conversions.

Launch a social media lead generation strategy that uses all available opportunities to promote your gated content. For example, Marketo crafted an enticing tweet to spread the word about its new content creation guide:

marketo tweet

Example of a tweet that drives traffic to gated content.

When prospective leads click on the link, they’re taken to an eye-catching landing page with a short form above the fold:

marketo landing page

Marketo gates valuable content with a form to generate leads.

Instead of just giving away valuable content, Marketo requires prospects to fill out the form before accessing the slide deck. This tactic enables Marketo tweets to directly contribute to lead generation.

Give this setup a try for your brand. Once those social media–generated leads start coming in, say hello to trackable social media ROI.

#2: Amplify Your Audience With Focused Social Ads

Now that you’ve gained some traction with organic social media lead generation, amplify your results with a smart social advertising strategy.

We’ve come a long way since the start of Facebook engagement ads in 2008.

Social media ad formats have matured beyond basic engagement metrics. With the debut of Twitter lead generation cards and Facebook’s revamped objective-based advertising, social ads have successfully repositioned themselves to support revenue-based business goals.

Twitter’s lead generation cards are a two-click solution to social lead generation. They appear as promoted tweets.

When a user clicks on the lead generation card, it expands to reveal an offer or sign-up form that is auto-populated with the user’s name, email address and Twitter handle:

rock creek promoted tweet

Lead generation cards expand with fields that auto-populate with user details.

But do they work? You bet. Rock/Creek, an outdoor apparel company, gained over 1,700 new email subscribers in less than a week when they used a Twitter lead generation card.

Tracking your leads from lead generation cards and promoted tweets is easy. You can download your leads directly from Twitter Ads into a spreadsheet or connect your CRM to automatically receive the new leads.

Plus, Twitter makes it easy to optimize with built-in cost-per-lead reporting:

lead generation card analytics

Twitter’s built-in reporting makes it easy to optimize lead generation cards.

Want to test lead generation on Facebook? No need to invest in an expensive third-party Facebook app provider. Facebook ads can now track website conversions with offsite pixels.

To get started, craft an ad that will grab Facebook users’ attention in the news feed.

salesforce facebook ad

An example of a Facebook post photo ad, as seen in the news feed.

Next, make sure the ad links to a landing page with form-gated content and a clear call to action (“Download” works well).

For example, this Salesforce ad links to an introductory ebook of the Salesforce app for download:

salesforce landing page

Salesforce positions their lead generating form above the fold.

Before you launch the ad, place a custom Facebook conversion pixel on the thank-you page that prospects reach after filling out the form.

Now Facebook will automatically track necessary metrics for ROI calculation, like number of conversions, cost per conversion and conversion value:

conversion pixel analytics

Conversion pixels let you track a number of conversion metrics.

For more on how to create and assign a dollar value to each lead conversion, read Jon Loomer’s step-by-step instructions.

Twitter and Facebook provide simple solutions for onsite conversion tracking, but there can be limitations. For example, although Twitter lead generation cards automatically capture a user’s name, email and Twitter handle, brands may want more detailed information such as job title, so they can pursue more qualified leads.

Fortunately for marketers, Twitter recently announced the availability of conversion tracking, “a measurement and reporting tool which will help advertisers understand the full conversion impact of impressions and engagements from Promoted Tweets”.

#3: Optimize Social Ad Conversion With Google Analytics

So how can you track social media–driven leads even more effectively? Integrate Google Analytics goal and campaign tracking with your social promotion strategy. 

To get started, set up your lead conversion path as a goal within Google Analytics. I suggest using the thank-you page as the destination of your goal flow.

Once your goal is set up, use Google’s Campaigns URL Builder to properly tag your promoted links as a campaign within Google Analytics. Three fields are mandatory to create a Google Analytics campaign:

  • Campaign source
  • Campaign medium
  • Campaign name

An optional fourth field you should include is campaign content. This field is hugely important in optimizing for cost-per-lead tracking because you can use it to A/B test different types of ad content.

url builder

Creating a URL with campaign tags.

When you’ve completed those fields, click Submit. You’ll get a newly tagged URL. This is the link you’ll need to use in your ad creative so Google Analytics can track conversions.

To see traffic, user behavior and completed goals (i.e., conversions) specifically for your social ad campaign, go to Google Analytics > Acquisition > Campaigns. Here’s an example of a campaign report:

campaign tag analytics

Track the number of leads each social ad campaign generates with Google Analytics.

To monitor your campaign content data, drill down to the ad details by clicking on Ad Content under the Secondary Dimension drop-down menu:

ad performance in google analytics

The campaign content field lets you implement A/B testing to find the best-performing ad content.

Now you can clearly see which ad content drove the most leads. To calculate cost per lead from here, simply use the relative platform’s native reporting to determine spend on each ad creative and divide by number of leads.

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and tell us how you’re measuring social media ROI. What’s working for you?

Images from iStockPhoto.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Get Social Media Examiner’s Future Articles in Your Inbox!

Join 465,000+ of your peers! Get our latest articles delivered to your email inbox and get the FREE Social Media Marketing Industry Report (56 pages, 90 charts)!

More info...
  • aki

    Let me know how to measure the lead generation for a TV channel!

  • This is great advice Lauren. Especially since I believe that all marketing efforts should be building trust and/or inviting a purchase.

    You nailed it with some Holy Smokes insight when mentioned, “Don’t get distracted by vanity metrics (e.g., Facebook likes or Twitter followers) when you should be focusing on metrics that contribute to revenue.”

  • An excellent article which provided tremendous insights about how Twitter and Facebook ads are now aligned to the business objectives of organizations. Thank you.

  • Very good article Lauren, I’ve been doing most of these tips and they work great. Only addition would be: use a referral program to generate more leads. Many times, a qualified lead knows where another lead could be found (friend, colleague, etc…), so adding in the form an incentive for referrals is another effective way to generate more leads.

  • Mark H

    Use a custom URL, and a custom phone number specifically created for that TV channel.

    I’ve done radio ads, and TV commercials that advertised a different phone number and a different URL. Tracked it from there.

  • Thanks for reading, Aki, and thanks for the great response, Mark! Absolutely, using a unique phone number or URL is a good way to track the response to a call-to-action from a TV or radio ad.

  • Thanks, Patrick! So glad you enjoyed it. Thanks again for reading.

  • Thanks, Ricky! Very happy it was helpful!

  • Hi Antonio! That’s a good point. It’s important to test and optimize your form fields for lead gen and trying a referral program is certainly one way to do that. Thanks again for the great input!

  • The Twitter Leads Generation is what is the most interesting part of this article for me to be honest. I’ve seen this before and have begun experimenting with this lately, but just realized that the CPL (Cost Per Lead) factor for these is extremely high. $3 per lead? $3.5 per lead? That’s extremely high!

    What are some more… optimistic CPLs that you’ve seen in the market Lauren and how do you think marketers can go about getting those?

  • I love the way Marketo gated their valuable content and then found ways to present it in an attractive, enticing way to their audience – great idea for lead generation! Having an attractive opt-in giveaway that you know your audience needs is key. Thanks for sharing all of these great examples, Lauren!

  • Jitendra Padmashali

    Yes, I think finnally i reached the perfect and almost all knowledge about Twitter and Facebook. Thanks Lauren, for sharing most important thing to growth business through Facebook and twitter.

  • Mark

    In my experience as a marketer at Oktopost, the number one most effective strategy for generating leads is gated content. Generally, distributing this gated content through social channels works best. Obviously, when posting about the gated content, it’s best to craft your messages as to not be overtly promotional.

  • esornoso

    It all depends on your niche and vertical. I hate to say it, but it’s all about trial and error. You should throw a couple hundred bucks, and see if it’s worth it.

  • Thanks for reading! I agree, a “good CPL” can vary quite a bit depending on the industry. I think the best way to determine if this is a good option for you is to invest a bit in testing, then compare the CPL and lead quality to your other digital lead gen efforts. If you still find the CPL too expensive after a couple rounds of A/B testing, maybe another channel, like a paid search campaign for example, would be a better lead gen investment. Happy testing! Let me know how it goes.

  • Thanks! So glad you found it helpful.

  • Thanks, Jitendra!

  • Thanks, Mark. It’s definitely important for brands to find the right balance between providing a clear call-to-action in their social messaging and sharing content that supports genuine conversation.

  • Pingback: How is #SocialMedia like a Marathon?()

  • Thanks for these offbeat tips Lauren! Would like to add another tip here: simply hold Google+ Hangout. You can set up a webinar that will not just help to earn more traffic but generate quality leads as well.

  • Mark Peters

    Hi Lauren, your work here is fantastic. Thank you for organizing this in one post. Really enjoyed the opening, couldn’t agree more and hope we all will help companies better align social and the business’ objectives.

    One additional thought is you don’t always have to pay for ads (as is the focus of the majority of the article) to increase leads from social.

    Simply adding social share buttons, click-to-tweets, and social sign-in around gated content/demand generation landing pages are hugely beneficial. Although there is an implementation cost upfront, these investments pay back over time.

    Also, for those who don’t have Google Analytics goals tied to social ads, you can start by simply breaking down your landing pages by traffic source or domain name and see how social is contributing. Dig into what channels are under/over performing (if you don’t know what’s good, start by comparing multiple pages), why, and how you can improve!

    Great stuff, thanks again!

  • Guest


  • Guest


  • Guest