How To: Generate leads from social media

In case you hadn’t noticed, social media is big - and getting bigger all the time. What was once the domain of just a small number of people is now everyday currency in and outside of business. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc are now familiar channels for many of us. Now 23 per cent of all the time we are online takes place on social networks and blogs. Internet users are now spending more time on Facebook than on any other web brand combined (Source: Nielson). Business is quickly catching on to the potential, with recent research showing that a third of companies in the UK now put up to 20 per cent of their marketing budget into business social networking (Source: Regus).

Social media’s growing profile can make it look like a relatively simple way to generate leads. Social media was the leading emerging channel for lead generation in 2010 (Source: Hubspot Marketing) and many companies already see it as the next step in attracting more customers. But the reality is a great deal less simple. Here are just a few reasons why:

Most companies have a drive to make the most of social media.  The 2011 IBM Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) study showed that 82 per cent of CMOs plan to increase their use of social media over the next three to five years - yet just 26 per cent are tracking blogs today. This suggests how detached the drive is from the approach. So what do companies need to do to turn social media activity into real business leads?