Monday, 29 April 2013

The future of Social Media Lead Generation

Social Media is coming of age and is at the equivalent stage of consumer adoption as telephones were in the 1980's when a useful telephone directory contained every UK citizens contact details. A marketing goldmine no less and the crazy thing is - no-one even minded as it made talking to friends much easier! This triggering a blindingly obvious gold-rush of sales cold calls before the party was abruptly ended when millions of people went ex-directory (i.e. asking for their details to be removed). Can you imagine your phone number being printed in a public directory today?

So turning our attention back to modern social media and inparticular Facebook, what do we find but millions of private information printed in an online public directory. Imagine how crazy we're all gonna look in 10 years time when we recall how our identities were shared across social media sites. From a direct-marketing point of view, maybe, the party is already beginning to end (as happened with telephone number directories)? Record numbers are closing their facebook accounts. Over 600,000 of you raced for the exit sign last Christmas with another 2 million no longer wanting to share anymore in March. So that's over 2.5m people effectively going ex-directory.

However, what we are left with is still the largest direct marketing opportunity on earth with some 31 million direct marketing targets in the UK alone. More excitingly still, CPA (cost per action) advertising is now coming to Facebook which brings social performance marketing right to the fore. Other social marketing innovations are also emerging from companies with access to the Twitter firehose developing lead marketing platforms allowing conversations to be turned into leads at the crucial moment of intent.

Direct selling on social media platforms is notoriously difficult with a user base who are more engaged about doing stuff rather than buying stuff. Lead generation is therefore the most purposeful tool in which to turn all that attention into buyers via a lead nurturing programme. The type of nurturing is dependent on upon the product/service being promoted, social media platform and audience. For example, a competition to win a trip to Australia is great for gathering Facebook fans for an airline, whereas a whitepaper for email marketing is ideal to opt-in a Linked-in audience.

By the end of 2013, lead generation opportunities on the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Linked-in are likely to be more firmly established beyond the standard CPC (cost per click) models meaning pure performance marketing on social media is only just around the next corner. As for the sleeping giant that is Google+, I haven't the foggiest idea what's going on with that. If you are into circles and hangouts, please shed some light by commenting below.