Google Social Media + Lead Generation and you’ll find a wide variety of opinions on this topic. I’d like to suggest that can social media generate leads, is not even the best question to ask. A better question is how can we use social media to best support our business/organization and our customers?
There is an interesting article on just this topic over at the American Express OPEN Technology Forum “Is Social Media Failing to Produce Business Leads?” – read it here. In it, the author suggests that perhaps social media’s “job” isn’t so much to produce leads, but to allow companies to better or more strongly engage with their customers.
I tend to agree with this premise. I think there is an almost involuntary urge to try to make every technology fit in to an old school box about how to use it and what it does. That kind of thinking is a mistake. While those of you who have read posts here before know that I do believe selling is still about putting the right offer in front of the right person at the right time – with social media, we have a whole host of new tools to help accomplish this task.
Social media can do a lot of things, but expecting to setup a Twitter account, a Facebook business page and/or even a LinkedIn profile and then just have the leads flowing in, is a completely unrealistic view of how these tools work. In order to get benefit from them, you have to actively use them. And not just to post your sales information or press releases, but to actually talk to your customers and potential customers.
Social media has opened up brand new ways for people and businesses to communicate and engage with each other, it’s true. But it is important to understand what these tools can and cannot do and how to make them work for you.