Foreword Online

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How to Generate Leads on Social Media

Posted by Joe Clarkin on 3/2/15 10:00 PM
Topics: social media

There are a number of ways that you can get your store attention on social media. The key is being open-minded and willing to try new things. With those goals in mind, we've found this great article from Hootsuite's blog that lists a number of ideas that your store can use to generate social media leads. You can read that entire article here, or skim through the excerpt that we've included below.

Promote gated content

Gated content may be the most commonly used lead generation tactic online, let alone on social media. Gated content refers to content that requires you to pass through a specific process, often providing your contact information, in order to access it.

On social media, the basic way to use gated content involves promoting a specific piece of content on your social channels—often a webinar, white paper or other forms of more detailed or lengthy content. When people click the link in your Tweet or Facebook message, they are brought to a landing page. This wall or gate, which requires people to provide you with information before you can access the content, will usually eliminate people with only a casual interest in your content or product. A small portion of the people you reach will be willing to exchange their information for the content, even knowing—as many of them will—that this will make them the target of your sales efforts. These people will likely believe the content might help them with their work, or are otherwise very passionate about the subject matter. As a result, this gate helps weed out unlikely buyers while providing your sales teams with more qualified leads.

Promoting gated content directly to your followers is an easy way to generate leads through social media. Since gated content is one of the easiest ways to gather detailed information about prospects, it will also have a secondary role in many of the other lead generation tactics discussed below.


Contests are an easy way to engage potential prospects and gather valuable information for your sales team. The key is making the incentive something related to your actual product or service. Anyone will enter a contest that offers a trip to Hawaii or a free iPhone 6. Simply gathering their information doesn’t actually make them a qualified lead, one that your sales team would benefit from having. In fact, you may actually waste your team’s time by flooding them with contest leads that won’t amount to anything. Your social media contests should focus instead on iterations of what you would offer clients anyways. Try running a contest which offers an extended free trial of your product, or a free upgrade to a higher tier of your service. The people that enter this social media contest are far more likely to be genuinely interested in your offering, and therefore worth reaching out to from a sales standpoint. We did this with our #Hootsuite4Life contest, which offered existing and non-users a chance at winning a lifetime subscription of Hootsuite Pro in exchange for filling out a form and tweeting about the contest.


You will also need to decide on how people on social will enter the contest:

  • Enter by retweeting/sharing/liking/following: Generally these will give you more entrants but are less valuable in terms of lead generation, since the only information you get is what’s publicly available in social profiles. Also, the Facebook algorithm will punish certain posts that explicitly ask for likes or shares.
  • Click through to a landing page/form fill: Forcing people to click through from a social message to a landing page or form will decrease your number of entrants. However, those that fill out the form are more invested in your product prize, and will provide you with more valuable information.

In addition to asking for contact information, consider asking contest entrants for information about their business, business size, industry, title or interest in your product. Adding fields might decrease the number of entrants, but can make for a more qualified lead. Try landing pages with fewer fields and others will more, and see what works best for your audience.

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