Many B2B marketers are haunted by the question “Am I wasting my time with social media for lead generation?” Before you spend a lot of time hanging out on Twitter and Facebook writing new content, you need to ask yourself, “Are my decision makers listening?”
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If you sell to other marketers, or B2C companies, your decision makers may very well be on Twitter and Facebook.
But if you are looking to impress the CFOs of Fortune 500 companies, guess again. I can say with 95 percent certainty that even “if” that CFO has a Twitter account, they are barely using it.
A study from DHR International (cited in Forbes) found that 60 percent of business executives (Directors and higher) use social media only 1 hour or less per week. The higher-ranking the decision maker, the less likely they are to be hanging out on social media. They don’t live in this world, so you need to find them in other ways.
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Here are a few tips to avoid wasting time when you’re trying to use social media for lead generation:
Reach the influencers: Even if your decision makers aren’t on Twitter or Facebook, the people who might influence your decision makers probably are. For example, a 55-year-old high-ranking executive who you’d love to get a sales meeting with is not hanging out on Twitter all day — but the 25-year-old administrative assistant who’s going to schedule your sales meeting will want to check out your company Twitter feed to make sure you’re legitimate. (And Twitter is not totally devoid of business decision makers; according to this Forbes article, 27 percent of business executives use Twitter, and 44 percent use Facebook regularly.)
Find great content to share: Social media is a great way to glean from the best practices and thought leadership that other people in your industry are sharing — and share this content with your decision makers. You can easily find content on Twitter that might be helpful for your decision makers, such as new product reviews, infographics, YouTube videos, how-to advice, or top trends and business intelligence.
Sharing content is a way to show your prospects that you care about their challenges and that you’re offering helpful information and solutions.
One of the best ways to find great content is to follow influential and creative people on Twitter. For example, a lot of my clients are in the technology industry, selling B2B technology solutions, and this article has a list of the 100 best people in tech to follow on Twitter.
Focus on LinkedIn: If you’re struggling to find your decision makers on Twitter and Facebook, then you should focus on LinkedIn. According to a recent survey from DHR International, LinkedIn is the top social media network preferred by business executives (at the Director level and above). There are many ways to start conversations and even directly contact your decision makers on LinkedIn, whether it’s joining discussions in an industry LinkedIn group, networking your way to the top of your prospect’s organization by building on your existing relationships, and building up a reputation as an industry thought leader.
Social media is just like any other lead generation tool: you have to make sure you’re using your time in a way that is bringing you closer to your ultimate decision makers.
Gregg Schwartz is the director of sales at Strategic Sales & Marketing, a leader among appointment setting companies, providing lead generation consulting to hundreds of businesses. To follow the latest discussions in best-practices for lead generation, join Gregg’s Linkedin Group with over 6,500 sales professionals and business owners, Manage Your Leads.