How many con­nec­tions do your company’s employ­ees have on LinkedIn? How many fol­low­ers does your LinkedIn com­pa­ny page or Twit­ter feed have? It’s easy to get excit­ed as these num­bers build, but does it real­ly mat­ter?

Yes and no.

It mat­ters because more con­nec­tions and fol­low­ers can result in an increased num­ber of leads and ulti­mate­ly boost rev­enues. How­ev­er, the sad real­i­ty is there’s no guar­an­tee that social media buzz will trans­form mag­i­cal­ly into qual­i­fied leads.

So how do you trans­form online fol­low­ings and social activ­i­ty into bot­tom-line results? You need to inte­grate your social media mar­ket­ing ini­tia­tives into your lead gen­er­a­tion process.

That’s eas­i­er said than done, so let’s break it down into bite-size chunks.

Be Social

You may have con­nec­tions and fol­low­ers, but are you engag­ing with them? This is the first step to build­ing rela­tion­ships and trust. So what should you be doing on each of the social plat­forms?


Once you’ve opti­mized employ­ee pro­files and your com­pa­ny page, start shar­ing con­tent on your news­feed. Each time you share infor­ma­tion, it’s a chance to remind your con­nec­tions of your exper­tise and the com­pa­ny you rep­re­sent. When you do so, think first about your audi­ence. What do they want to learn about? To serve their needs, curate con­tent from a wide range of sources and mix it with your company’s resource. Even though your busi­ness did not cre­ate all the con­tent you share, you’ll start to devel­op a rep­u­ta­tion as a thought leader and val­ued resource.
There are oth­er oppor­tu­ni­ties to inter­act, such as when con­nec­tions have birth­days, change jobs or receive pro­mo­tions. Con­grat­u­late them and say “hap­py birth­day,” just as you would if you were at an in-per­son net­work­ing event.


Sim­i­lar­ly, on Twit­ter, engage with your fol­low­ers by com­ment­ing on their tweets and retweet­ing them. Also, post con­tent — once again, a mix of your own and curat­ed arti­cles. A good rule of thumb is a four to one ratio of curat­ed to com­pa­ny-cre­at­ed con­tent. With­in your own con­tent, you can post links to your land­ing pages, per­haps once a day.
The same gen­er­al prin­ci­ples apply to Face­book as to the oth­er social plat­forms — engage with peo­ple and share a mix of con­tent.

Capture Leads

Your next step is to cap­ture a lead. To do so, you need to attract your tar­get audi­ence to your web­site by offer­ing them some­thing that’s of val­ue to them — a piece of con­tent that pro­vides help­ful insights. That’s why you mix your con­tent with curat­ed con­tent.
You can start small with blog posts. Alone, they will not bring in the leads, but they estab­lish your cred­i­bil­i­ty. You should include a call to action that directs read­ers to a land­ing page. It can be at the end of the page or in a side­bar. Offer a free e‑book, white paper or webi­nar in exchange for con­tact infor­ma­tion — email address and first name at min­i­mum. If you’re offer­ing high­ly sought-after mate­r­i­al, such as an indus­try research report, you’re more like­ly to be able to cap­ture addi­tion­al data, such as phone num­bers and com­pa­ny names.

Qualify Leads

The truth is, you don’t just want leads. You want qual­i­fied leads. And here’s why social- media leads often get a bad rep­u­ta­tion. It’s because in many com­pa­nies they’re treat­ed dif­fer­ent­ly. Some­how they cir­cum­vent the lead qual­i­fi­ca­tion process.

Instead, review the data you have col­lect­ed with the objec­tive of win­now­ing down the list to those who are worth the time to fol­low up. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, that’s eas­i­er said than done. You can­not mere­ly look at the email address­es and dis­card those that use Gmail or a home address because it’s rel­a­tive­ly typ­i­cal for some­one not to use a busi­ness address on social media. That means you have to do some dig­ging on LinkedIn and oth­er resources, such as Insid­e­View, to estab­lish whether a lead match­es with your cus­tomer pro­file.

Once you have honed down the list, have a busi­ness devel­op­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tive con­duct a lead qual­i­fi­ca­tion call. The pur­pose is to deter­mine whether this indi­vid­ual or some­one else at their orga­ni­za­tion has the bud­get, author­i­ty, need and urgency to pur­chase a solu­tion that resolves their prob­lem.

Once the lead has made it through the ini­tial screen­ing cri­te­ria, you may want to for­ward the lead to an inside sales or tech­ni­cal sales per­son who can ensure your prod­uct is a good fit for the individual’s com­pa­ny and deter­mine next steps.Having gone through this qual­i­fi­ca­tion process, you should inte­grate your social media leads with all the oth­ers. Now they can fol­low your stan­dard lead man­age­ment process, giv­ing you a struc­tured method­ol­o­gy for trans­form­ing social buzz into leads, sales and rev­enue.

So social media lead qual­i­fi­ca­tion starts with engag­ing the right fol­low­ers and con­nec­tions on social plat­forms. Then you want to attract them to your web­site and cap­ture leads. The qual­i­fi­ca­tion process begins with man­u­al screen­ing and match­ing leads up as much as pos­si­ble to sec­ondary infor­ma­tion. Then take the leads that make it through that process and call them to make sure they are in the mar­ket for your prod­uct and have the means to pur­chase it. Final­ly, add your social media leads to your stan­dard lead man­age­ment process.