Love it or hate it, no marketer can afford to ignore social media. In what has been the fastest growing trend in recent years, web users have embraced the social media revolution, using channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. They are not just connecting with other people, but they are also using social networks to glean prospects, gain first-hand information and reviews, and even make purchases.
Needless to say, marketers have used social media to identify leads who may be interested in their product or service offering. And their efforts seem to be delivering results. Research by Wishpond estimates that 77% of B2C businesses have generated leads through Facebook, and 34% of marketers have generated leads through Twitter. In fact, 20% of marketers have even closed deals on Twitter. Social media is catching up with B2B marketers as well. 84% of B2B companies now use social media. 90% of them use Facebook, and 47% of them use LinkedIn. Furthermore, 77% of B2B marketers have acquired customers through LinkedIn, 60% have acquired leads through blogs, 43% have done so using Facebook and 40% using Twitter.
Overall, best in class companies generate 3 times the leads through social media, compared to average performing companies. Social media provides almost double the total number of leads compared to other popular channels, such as telemarketing, trade shows, direct mailings and PPC.
While it is a great way to generate new leads, what ultimately matters is nurturing such leads and eventually converting them. Social media leads convert 13% higher compared to the average lead conversion rate. However, this does not mean that the marketer can simply afford to relax after a new prospect has liked the social media page. Conversions, by definition, are different in social media terms as opposed to web conversions. A conversion for social media could mean simply following a company on Twitter, compared to a conversion of downloading a whitepaper, which is viewed as a more qualified leads.
Success depends largely on the take-away offered by the social media engagement. Marketers offer a variety of engaging content, ranging from product reviews, latest news, eBooks, contests, and more, through their social media page to keep prospects engaged. Another effective way to advance them up the marketing lifecycle is by inviting them to live events and webinars.
Comparatively, when someone signs up for a webinar, that lead is considered highly more qualified than someone who simply liked a post on Facebook. A prospect is devoting their time to listen to a webinar, and the marketer has the undivided attention of the attendees to use that time to educate, inform, charm, and captivate them to convert to a demo or even a sale. Invitees to a webinar are usually highly committed prospects who are willing to set aside quality time to hear out the marketer. For the marketer, the higher the number of webinar attendees, the better, because the chances of more people converting to a sale or a conversation are greater.
Successful engagement in a webinar requires asking questions and conducting polls to engage with the audience. 54% of all webinars involve questions, and 34% of all webinars have polls. Marketers use the information gleaned from these activities to engage with prospects at a personal level, such as with one-to-one feedback after the webinar. Using social media to invite attendees to a webinar makes the task of the marketer much easier. Social media engagement would provide a cue to the marketer on where the prospect stands in most aspects.
Social media has proved itself as an effective tool to generate leads, but webinars are providing a more qualified lead, plan and simple. Smart marketers should leverage the power of social media to nurture leads, but promote webinars to really gauge how qualified the leads are from social media, and nurture them further within the customer lifecycle.
Compared to other marketing tactics, webinars offer higher quality leads and a shorter lead nurturing phase. This means more dollar signs and a happier marketer. Find out how and why the cost of a webinar lead is justified in your marketing budget in The Cost of Webinars whitepaper. Download the whitepaper today.