Social Media – Can It Be Used to Generate Leads and Revenue?
In the past few months, I’ve seen a number of interesting articles, blog posts and LinkedIn discussions lately that explore the question of whether social media is a good vehicle to generate leads and revenue. Some people say it is worthless as a lead generation tool and others say it works great. Some of these prognosticators are highly biased (e.g. social media agencies) and others have actual experience.
The correct answer is that while it depends on the company, target audience, and product or service, most of the time you can generate leads and revenue through social media. I know this because my company, Fusion Marketing Partners, has generated very good clients entirely through pull marketing strategies like social media. Second, because our clients have had similar results. They are primarily companies who offer technology, services or training to other companies (B2B). The ones who make a commitment to blogging, tweeting, content creation and LinkedIn updating, are rewarded, and the ones who choose not to do this (or let us do it for them) don’t get results (big surprise huh!).
Several months ago, I was visiting with a prospective client who is CEO of a medium size software company. When I asked whether he had considered pull marketing and social media to raise his compan’s market awareness and generate leads, he answered, “Of course not, that crap doesn’t work.” I tend to be blunt about such things so I asked him how he knew it didn’t work if he had never tried it? His answer: “I don’t use it myself and don’t believe in it.” My reply was: Who cares what you like or don’t like – isn’t it your prospects and customers that count?
As I wrote in a recent blog post, social media should be considered a marathon, not a sprint. You have to put the time in to get the results. When someone tells me they tried social media for a month or two and didn’t get results, I want to ask them if they took up jogging for a month or two and then tried to complete the Boston Marathon. Of course the answer is no and the same is true if you expect instant results from social networking.
There are times when social media should be a part of your pull marketing strategy and times when it should not be. My blog post titled Should You Say YES or NO to Social Media talks about some of the pros and cons. But more often than not, social networking can drive awareness, leads and revenue, and sometimes in a big way. If you are in doubt, jump on the social media bandwagon. You can always jump off later but make sure you give it a thorough evaluation – keeping in mind that you are running a marathon, and not a sprint.