My small, woman-owned public relations/marketing firm, Advice Unlimited, has been serving the Federal government marketplace for nearly 30 years to help companies with innovative technology get their solutions to the government. Every month, I’ll offer unlimited advice on how to work with this unique market. Please email me with questions or comments.

Advice Unlimited

Advice Unlimited

Monday, January 6, 2014

Use Social Media to Generate Business Leads

Social media has become the way of the world. People all over the globe use social media in some way. It is not just individuals, either; organizations are all over social media sites. The question for organizations is how to turn social media into a good return on investment. Social media helps you engage with your audience, build a ‘corporate personality,’ and communicate directly with your audience – but the most powerful social media pages also generate business leads and inspire sales. Leveraging social media effectively can help you to make a good impression on both your current clients and potential clients – and inspire them to do (more) business with you. Every day, organizations and their target audience are directly interacting through social media. Here are some quick tips that could help you turn your social media visitors into quality leads.

Make Your Page Shine

Signing up for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is a start, but each page needs to show your organization in a consistent way. Make sure each page is reflecting consistent messaging to your target audience. It is important to make your page unique; that can be done using specific types of content, including enticing visual images.

With so many different organization and brand pages, being unique is difficult, yet vital. An example of a Facebook page that does that very well is The Federal Trade Commission  -- this organization does a nice job of making an impression on first sight. The picture of the building is visually appealing. The site has a lot of visitors and followers, building on its interactions with interesting posts designed with their followers in mind.

Posts and Content Make Connections

Posts are the way that organizations show people who they are. They are a way to relate and engage your audience – quality posts can really attract a good following to your organization.

Here are a few quick tips for posting:

·      To generate a good post, remember who you are trying to reach. Each post is a building block to demonstrate your credibility and knowledge of your given field.

·      Direct your followers to your content. If there is an event or news that the public should know about, post it! People want to know what is going on.

·      Creating contests is a good way to build interaction and get your customers and followers’ contact information. It allows the customer to feel involved while also providing a good way to secure lead information.

People follow your organization to see what the organization finds important and to personally engage with the organization. It makes them feel involved and it helps your organization build recognition with the followers.

FedScoop is a great example of using social media to promote content and build credibility. They give their readers the top government headlines of the day in a quick and informative manner. They understand that not everyone is going to read an entire story; they use social media to quickly inform their readers of the government headlines they need to know about.

Let your followers know you are listening

Responding and commenting on your followers’ feedback is important to build trust. It will help to create a strong conversation with the customer. It lets the customer know that they have a voice when working with your organization and that their input is taken seriously.

A good example of a way that customers and organizations interact is Federal News Radio. Not every post has a comment on it, but when there is a meaningful conversation or something to add to a recent post, they do a good job of interacting and following up. This lets you know instantly that someone from Federal News Radio is interacting with their readers directly.

Promote Your Pages Everywhere

Getting others to follow your pages is an important way to leverage social media. Make sure to let others know that your organization has and uses social media. Put social media symbols in an email signature and on your social media sites. Have a link at the bottom of emails linking to your social media pages. Make sure that everyone has an opportunity to find your company on every social media page you have. If no one knows that you have a social media page, no one will follow it.

It is important to remember that there is not a limit to the number of followers an organization should have. The more people who follow your page, the more people hear what you have to say, but quality is more important than quantity – don’t post kitten videos to get followers; only post content that is relevant and of value for your audience in relation to your organization. It is important to monitor what your organization is saying on all forms of social media. Responses and comments should be made quickly and should be well thought out.

Building a relationship with your customers doesn’t just happen because you’re on a social media site - it takes time, creativity, consistency and commitment – just like anything else that works well in business. The advantage is that you can reach many people quickly and relatively inexpensively, providing a broader canvas that also encourages one-on-one attention and interaction. Use social media effectively, and you can build not only your organization’s credibility and reach, but also its source of quality business leads. Social media gives your organization a direct link to your customer – be sure to use it well.