How to generate leads through social media

There are countless opportunities to gather information from potential clients using social media, but the difficulty lies in collecting details that are worthwhile.

Dave Chaffey compiled the Global social media research summary 2016, which shows that there are over 2.3 billion active social media users as of February 2016. This gigantic pool of people are at the fingertips of your team, offering endless opportunities to find them and convert them into leads – but first you need to know where to look.


Understand where your audience is, rather than trying to generate leads from everywhere all at once. Research the favourite social haunts of your target audience and focus your energy there to use your time and budget optimally. Once you know where they are you can adjust your strategy to suit the platform, and effectively target your audience in line with the objective – generating leads!

An example of this is a recruitment client who had been focusing on Facebook and Twitter (as many companies do), but the engagement levels were low and the results disappointing. Research showed that moving to LinkedIn would be a positive move, so we built a profile and created a great strategy which incorporated regular and relevant news posts and blogs. This worked wonders, helping them generate interest and gain the attention of social users that are worthwhile and meaningful.

Gated content

Presenting people with a user-friendly form weeds out those of no value, leaving you with the attention and details of anyone who thinks they will find your content useful, or are interested in what you have to offer.

Promote this gated content using attention-grabbing, concise and meaningful copy that is adjusted to suit the platform. You’re used to writing bite-sized and enticing tweets to encourage clicks, but it is worth remembering that platforms call for succinct posts – you are trying to grab the attention of people who are scrolling or skimming through a social feed, so getting it right is vital.

Social ads

It is notoriously difficult to achieve organic reach on Facebook, so paid ads are a must – they won’t break the bank, will drastically increase the reach of your posts, and will help you to generate those all-important leads. Boost your competition posts, news of exciting new products or details of upcoming events.


Twitter Lead Generation Cards

Twitter Lead Generation Cards are an excellent tool for collecting information from interested parties. They appear as Promoted Tweets in timelines and offer Twitter users the chance to sign up to a newsletter or free trial using their email address and details. Make the most of these by making sure the copy is outstanding and the image enticing.

Search and digital marketing newsletter signup


Running contests is a fantastic way to engage prospects and gather information, but you need to get the competition perfect to attract information that is not only extensive, but relevant too.

The objective of the contest is to entice potential prospects, so bear this in mind when making competition decisions:

  • Ensure that the incentive is relevant to your business and industry – you may get a ton of entries if you offer a top of the range MacBook Pro as a prize, but the entrants won’t be worthwhile.
  • Method of entry is important – asking for retweets, shares or follows may earn you more entries, but ease will encourage those of no value. Choosing a more time-consuming entry method will help you gain valuable information from people who are invested in the prize and your business, even if it means fewer entries. This method could be linking users to a landing page that requires them to fill in a form to gain entry.

Social listening

Social media is a powerful listening tool. It couldn’t be easier to tap into your audience, and there are a range of tools that give you the opportunity to create streams and lists where you can keep an eye on who is talking about you and what they are saying, as well as anything being posted about your industry and competitors. Try Hootsuite, Followerwonk or Social Mention to get you started! 

Social listening allows you to respond quickly to questions, comments and conversations, helping to build relationships and potentially identify leads. For example, you can reach out to people who talk about needing the product or service that you provide. Like in this example, where Kernpack has identified that this user is attending an event that they have written a guide to:

Twitter chats

Participating in relevant Twitter chats, offering opinions and engaging with others, can lead to people following you (especially if you follow them first) and open up opportunities to continue this conversation later. Any conversations that follow will come with a view to converting these individuals to customers later on.

Hosting your own Twitter chat is even better – you can include calls to action that are relevant to the chat, which would be expected of the host. While Twitter chats can be challenging at times, particularly when it comes to encouraging people to participate, stick with it – everything will grow with the right promotion, and it provides an excellent opportunity to connect with people and provide them with information. Get it going by choosing a unique hashtag, contacting influencers, and promoting your chat with plenty of time to spare.

Most importantly, remember that social networks are not selling platforms, and shouldn’t be used as tools to peddle your latest product or service. Use them correctly and not only will you achieve brand awareness and customer loyalty, you’ll also be able to generate meaningful leads based upon a solid relationship built through your social channels. 

Things to remember

  • Network – follow people, ‘like’ pages, interact and chat
  • Content – create engaging and enticing content that interests your target audience and positions you as both an industry expert and an invaluable resource.

So does it actually work?

If you’re in any doubt as to how successful social media can be for generating leads, check out these examples below of what we have done for our customers.


Becky Storey profile picture
Becky Storey

Becky joined Vertical Leap as a Social Media Specialist in 2015, having previously worked remotely as a Social Media Manager for an agency alongside her degree, and in-house for a growing poker company in Hampshire.

More articles by Becky
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