Traditional ways of lead generation consist of surveys in the mail or filling out a form in newspapers or magazine. But the internet changed the way businesses get leads. The recent reported number of internet users worldwide was 3.17 billion. People are spending more time online compared to 10 years ago; this is fueled by the increasing use of smart devices like mobile phones and tablets. The average adult internet user spends more than 20 hours online per week. Just imagine this incredibly large market. Business owners can tap this very huge global market through online lead generation.

Lead generation is the heart of doing business and it applies to traditional and online methods of generating leads and converting them into paying customers. There are so many ways a business can generate leads to increase sales and revenues. Company website optimisation, search engine optimisation, content marketing, pay-per-click, email marketing and social media are just some of the tactics that can be used for online lead generation.

Social media lead generation, does it work? The answer to this question depends on who you ask. A growing number of companies are using social media to build their brands and promote their products, but a recent study shows that it isn’t very effective at generating leads. According to BrightTalk report social media ranked the lowest on 15 different lead generation tactics while email marketing was cited as the top tool. Chief Marketer’s data also shows that email marketing is the most effective channel for lead generation. But if we go by Hubspot’s study the best lead sources would be SEO.

There is so much variation depending with the audience biases. Every proponent has different audiences with different skillsets and biases, distorting the result. The reason social media rated poorly on these studies is because social media has been badly misused by marketers in recent years. Most businesses without a digital agency have an ill-fitting social media strategy. We cannot say social media is really a poor channel for lead generation when there are over a billion social media users across all of the major social networks. With that vast number of people it would be ridiculous for any legitimate company not to use them for lead generation.

In our digital age, 28% of time people spent online is social networking.
40% of people spend more time socializing on social media than interpersonal. Average adult user logs 1.72 hours per day on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Social networking now accounts for almost 30% of our daily online activities. Social media can be an amazing way to generate leads when used properly. Marketers who consider social media ineffective lead generation tool need to reconsider their strategies and improve on what they are doing to promote their brand and nurture their community to take the next step in lead generation. Social media must be the key part of the overall content marketing strategy. In order to reap the benefits of social media, you need to engage the community to build up brand awareness first.

Why generate leads through social media?
Build brand awareness – 83% of marketers invest in social media to increase brand exposure. Using social media help in building a positive brand image, it’s like digital word of mouth publicity.
Enhance web traffic – 69% of marketers invest in social media to increase web traffic. Distributing high value content to your audience and linking the post to your website increases web traffic.
Decrease marketing cost – 45% of companies using social media saw reduced marketing costs. Word of mouth campaign is faster and less expensive than tradition advertising.
Increase revenue – 24% of companies using social media saw an increase in revenue. Creating compelling content with calls-to-action moves consumers down the sales funnel.

Whatever social media platform you use, it’s important to engage with your current and potential customers if you want to generate and convert them to paying customers. Engagement is the key to making a sale and social networking sites give business a way to directly engage with potential customers. Each platform has its own audience and businesses will be find success if they will adapt their strategy to each network. Using the customized strategy will help build communities of loyal customers who will like and share post and help in lead generation.