Only 13% of B2B Marketers Drive Leads with Social Media

In a recent study of B2B marketers by BtoB Magazine, 59% of those surveyed answered that online lead generation is their biggest marketing challenge. While email is their number one source of online leads, only 13% of respondents reported that social media was their greatest driver of leads.

The survey broke out marketers from agency professionals, which yields a bleaker picture. 18% of agency respondents are getting more leads from social media than other sources, while only 11% of marketers are. The study also found that only 5% felt that social media was a mature and well-optimized part of their marketing mix. 55% of those surveyed revealed that they were in the early stages of social media, and 14% of B2B companies were not using social media at all.

Does this survey seem in line with your experience of social media to drive leads and become fully integrated in your B2B company’s marketing mix?

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Tweet This Stat 59% of B2B Marketers Find Driving Leads Online Their Biggest Challenge

Tweet This Stat 57% of B2B Marketers Get More Leads from Email Than Any Online Other Source

Tweet This Stat 20% of B2B Marketers Get More Leads from Paid Search Than Any Other Online Source

Tweet This Stat 13% of B2B Marketers Get More Leads from Social Media Than Any Other Online Source

Tweet This Stat 5% of B2B Companies Have Optimized Social Media into their Marketing Mix

Tweet This Stat 55% of B2B Companies are in the Early Stages of Social Media Marketing

Tweet This Stat 14% of B2B Companies are not using Social Media Marketing

The B2B Social Media Book as a Social Network

Now that the Kindle version of The B2B Social Media Book has been out for about six weeks, we’ve noticed something interesting. One feature of the Kindle is that highlighted passages not only show up in everyone’s version of the electronic version, but the most popular ones show on the Amazon website. This tells us (as authors of the book) which ideas most resonate with readers. But it also tells readers which ideas were noted by other readers.

This builds some social proof for the ideas (“I can like this passage because others did”), but it also starts a community, or social network, around the Kindle readers of the book. It’s almost like a secret society where people leave messages for each other in the book. While you are reading along, you might pause a little longer on a highlighted passage because someone else thought it was important. In the past you might have checked a book out of the library and it had some notes in it, but that didn’t build any real connections. As more people read the Kindle version, and annotate their copy by highlighting passages and ideas, the collective version of what’s important grows. This is a very interesting development in group book reading.

Below are the 10 most highlighted passages from the The B2B Social Media Book. They are all from early chapters, which makes sense this early in the release of the book. However, the first part of the book is the setup for the later tactic sections, so we expect that even long term earlier chapters will be over-represented in this list. And just for fun, since this book does have two authors, we do get a bit competitive about whose chapters have more highlighted passages.

1. Highlighted by 18 Kindle users
Does your offer:
1. Solve a problem for the prospect?
2. Align with the product or service of the business?
3. Provide unique information not easily found in other online resources?
(Chapter 2: Five-Step Social Media Lead Generation Process)

2. Highlighted by 14 Kindle users
For a B2B company to have successful search engine marketing in 2012 and beyond, it must leverage social media.
(Chapter 3: Yes, Chapter 3 in a Social Media Book Is about Search )

3. Highlighted by 13 Kindle users
Prospects don’t want to hear about your products. They want solutions to their problems.
(Chapter 2: Five-Step Social Media Lead Generation Process)

4. Highlighted by 12 Kindle users
Need for Generating Higher Revenue with Lower Marketing Budgets
(Chapter 1: Why B2B Is Better At Social Media Than B2C)

5. Highlighted by 10 Kindle users
Maximizing content discovery can be done by producing awesome content and reducing fiction around sharing that content.
(Chapter 2: Five-Step Social Media Lead Generation Process)

6. Highlighted by 10 Kindle users
Instead, it is one piece of a well-planned and executed inbound marketing strategy that is tightly aligned to business objectives.
(Chapter 1: Why B2B Is Better At Social Media Than B2C)

7. Highlighted by 10 Kindle users
B2B companies are better suited for social media marketing than B2C companies.
(Chapter 1: Why B2B Is Better At Social Media Than B2C)

8. Highlighted by 10 Kindle users
Reducing approvals and empowering marketing to ship online content is the single biggest lever you can pull to increase lead generation.
(Chapter 2: Five-Step Social Media Lead Generation Process)

9. Highlighted by 7 Kindle users
Generating leads using social media starts with three core elements that are the linchpin for the entire online lead generation process: offers, calls to action (CTAs), and landing page.
(Chapter 2: Five-Step Social Media Lead Generation Process)

10. Highlighted by 8 Kindle users
A lead is someone who raises his or her hand—a person who demonstrates interest in something that a business has to offer.
(Chapter 2: Five-Step Social Media Lead Generation Process)

Do you have the Kindle version of The B2B Social Media Book, and have you highlighted any passages? Have you ever highlighted anything in a Kindle book?

5 Ridiculous B2B Social Media Marketing Myths

B2B social media is gaining wider adoption. We are past arguing if B2B companies can use social media like we did in the early days of this blog. With the gradual adoption of social media marketing for B2B companies, some misconceptions and myths about B2B social media have been born. That’s okay, because myths are a part of change in any aspect of life. Heck, when people started using microwaves one of the big myths was that they leaked electromagnetic radiation. Change and myths go hand-in-hand.

Let’s squash some of the most ridiculous B2B social myths now before they spread any further!

5 Ridiculous Myths About B2B Social Media Marketing

1.  B2B Social Media Isn’t About Selling
This is likely the most common myth. Since social media marketing started to emerge there has always been a misperception that selling is off limits. This is wrong. Spaming people in social media is always off limits. Giving someone what they want when they want it is always a great thing. This is what selling in social media is about. It isn’t about endless product tweets. As we cover in The B2B Social Media Book, it is about providing relevant content and conversion opportunities through the buying cycle using social media.

2.  B2B Social Media Doesn’t Have a Clear ROI
In the world of social media, some purists, or “treehuggers” as I call them, will say things like “B2B social media doesn’t have an ROI. It has a return on emotion.” That is absolute crap. As marketers we are in business to generate revenue. Social media can be a valuable part of B2B lead generation. When B2B social media has a lead generation component calculating ROI is a simple math problem. You simply look at the revenue from the leads generated from social media and the cost it took to acquire that revenue. B2B social media has a clear ROI. Don’t listen to the treehuggers.

3.  B2B Social Media Can Replace Offline Marketing
Social media is only one piece of an integrated marketing effort. It is unlikely that social media can replace all of your current traditional marketing efforts. The truth is that to go cold turkey from traditional marketing is stupid. Instead, social media and traditional marketing efforts should be combined to amplify each other. Doing a direct mail campaign? Why not try testing including your LinkedIn Company Page URL? Don’t ignore offline. Figure out strategies for online and offline marketing to work together.

4.  B2B Social Media Is About Narrow Targeting
This might be the myth that bothers me the most! In B2B marketing it has always been thought that it is all about extremely focused and targeted marketing. The problem is that in a world of social media marketing is no longer linear. Everyone has the potential to influence another person or spread your content. For the first time a non-customer can actually have monetary value to your business. While someone may never buy your product or service, they can easily refer someone else that will. In the world of B2B marketing building an ever growing social media reach has never been more important. Forget targeted! Take a cue from the B2C folks and work on pumping up your social media reach.

5.  B2B Social Media Is Only About Lead Generation
Yes, Jeff and I wrote an entire book about social media lead generation, but that isn’t the only application of social media for B2B companies. In fact social media has applications across most aspects of a B2B business. For example, Lead management, is a post lead marketing process where social media can be extremely valuable. You might want to use data from social media to help better sales qualify a leads. You might want to send a custom product focused email to anyone who is an existing lead and mentions your product on Twitter. This is a simple example, but social medi can be a valuable source of data to determine which of your leads are sales-ready.

Did a miss any B2B social media myths? Which B2B social media myth do you think is the most widespread?

Photo credit: Flickr

Approach Your B2B Social Media Strategy from Many Sides

Many B2B marketers approach their social media programs from a tactic entry point. There is pressure to get started. Sometimes that pressure is from above. Sometimes it’s from below. There can even be pressure from the industry and competitors. This is why so many blog posts about social media focus on the tactics. They answer “how to” questions. They help solve marketers’ biggest challenges. And the small ones too.

Social media succeeds for B2B companies when it starts from a strategic level where goals and metrics are tied to higher level business objectives. I feel like I say this all the time. Not just here on this site, but in my day job, in presentations and in our book. But it is still worth reminding marketers of this. The following articles all get you thinking about higher level strategies that you need to put in place. Even the LinkedIn article about new demographic data available in the platform, which seems very tactical, should make you think about your target audience and how to reach them. Those are strategic thoughts, or at least they should be.

Have you seen any other posts recently that have inspired your strategy approach? Share them in the comments below.

The Evolution of B2B Marketing: Why Generating Leads Isn’t Enough Anymore
from MarketingProfs
If you’re like most B2B marketers, you diligently plan and execute campaigns to drive new opportunities and, ultimately, increase revenue. But unless you’re ready to rethink marketing’s role, you may be throwing precious budget dollars out the window and missing opportunities to drive real customer value.
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Social, Content & Selling – a Chief Revenue Officer’s take
from Inside Sales Experts Blog
I recently participated in a conversation over at How can you create a culture where your employees feel comfortable creating content? The idea being, that the creation of content is now an organizational responsibility as opposed to just being Marketing’s. At one point in the dialogue, I was sick of hearing what all the pundits think (myself included) so I threw down the glove and asked a Sales Exec to chime in. Well, Alex Shootman the Chief Revenue Officer of Eloqua did.
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Lessons from a B2B Summit Coach: Five Steps to Cut through the Noise, Turn off the Hype and Create a B2B Social Media Program that Works
from B2B Lead Roundtable Blog
I am further convinced social media is one of the most challenging channels for B2B marketers to manage. It’s so unpredictable, yet there’s so much pressure surrounding it – everyone feels like they need to be on every social media channel or else. And there’s so many people claiming to be social media experts, but don’t just blindly follow their advice. You see, I don’t believe anyone can be a true social media guru because there are constantly new ideas, platforms and methodologies.
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ZMOT, and what it means to B2B marketers
from Velocity B2B Marketing Blog
What is Zero Moment of Truth and what do buyers do during ZMOT?
They google, of course. They learn about their choices online, read reviews, watch videos, etc., etc., etc. To big brands like Proctor & Gamble, Coca-Cola and General Electric, the new mental model defined by ZMOT has attracted a tremendous amount of attention. Research undertaken by Shopper Science indicated that ZMOT was even more influential on purchases than the original stimulus that starts a purchase decision, and the first moment of truth. Arguably, ZMOT carries more importance for B2B markets than it does for B2C markets, as the larger the purchase the more time for pre-purchase research.
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LinkedIn Becomes More Relevant for B2B Communicators
from B2B Voices
LinkedIn continues to be enhance its platform for B2B communicators. Last month the company announced that companies could stream news and information from its corporate page. That was a small change and a much needed addition. But a much bigger change has just happened.
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42% of B2B Marketers Report Zero Social Media Leads

According to a B2B social media survey by Pardot, B2B cloud marketing automation software provider, even though 95% of B2B companies report using social media (a number that strikes me as way too high), nearly half of them (42%) have received no leads or can’t attribute any leads generated to social media.

B2B marketers are responsible for generating leads and social media should be part of that process. Using social media for just brand awareness, connecting and engaging is not enough. And it is not what B2B marketers should be spending their time doing. A coordinated plan of blogging with calls to action on every post, and sharing that content on company social media profiles can generate leads.

Other statistics from the study:

  • 11% of companies have a formal social media policy
  • 55% said contacting a social media-generated sales lead by phone or email is ok
  • 48% said the reverse is true and it is ok to respond to phone or email leads via social media
  • 100% said it is acceptable to invite a prospect to join a marketer’s online social networks
  • 31% said it is acceptable to critique a competitor via social media

How do these numbers compare with your B2B company? Are you able to attribute leads to social media?

7 Awesome Email And B2B Social Media Integrations

B2B Social MediaGreat inbound marketing is integrated marketing.  Social media can’t be an isolated tactic and succeed. Instead it has to be part of an overall inbound marketing strategy that includes search engine optimization, blogging, email marketing, marketing automation, and other strategies.  One of the most powerful points of integration exists between email marketing and social media.

For most B2B marketers their email database is the most powerful tool with the biggest reach at their disposal. When teamed up with B2B social media, email becomes even more powerful. This integration lays the foundation for a future in which email is a less reliable source of lead generation.

7 Steps For Integrating Email With A B2B Social Media Strategy

1. Include Social Media Follow Links In Email Marketing Messages - It seems simple, but many B2B companies simply don’t do it. In all of your marketing email include clear and visible links for an email recipient to click on and follow your active social media accounts.

2. Use Social Media To Grow Your Email List – It isn’t enough to have a prospective customer only connected with you via social media. Getting them  on to your email marketing list will increase their likelihood of becoming a lead. Schedule regular updates to encourage social media connections to become part of your email community. Note: It is critical when doing this to set expectations. Let you social media followers know what information they will receive in your emails.

3. Test Email Marketing Offers In Social Media – Since your email list is your most significant marketing channel, you don’t want to waste it. Share a lead generation offer to your social media connections before your email list to determine if it converts visitors into leads at a high enough rate to merit an email send.

4. Use Email AND Social Media To Nurture Leads – Nurturing existing leads is about far more than email. Social media can be a valuable way to move leads through the sales funnel. Sharing content on social media that helps move leads from investigators to buyers. Use your marketing automation software to help you send custom social media messages to leads when they take an action on your website.

5. Source Email Content From Social Media – What are your social media connections talking about? Use hot topics in social media to fuel content for new email marketing offers and copy. Give people the information that want!

6. Make One Coordinated Push – When you send out an email marketing message for lead generation it should be part of a coordinated push. A blog post about the offer should go up that day and social media messages about the offer should be shared throughout the day. This coordinated push will help to maximize response rates and subsequently leads.

7. Source Leads Correctly – Make sure to use tracking URLs to understand which leads for a particular campaign are coming from social media versus email marketing. Data is powerful. Having clean data will allow you to make informed choices about future campaigns and  increase results.

Have you seen benefits from integrating your social media and email lead generation efforts?

6 Instant B2B Social Media Lead Generation Improvements

Social media that doesn’t drive revenue doesn’t last. As B2B marketers, focusing on generating leads and revenue is our top priority. Social media can help. It can help reduce cost of customer acquisition and provide sustainable long-term lead flow. As a marketer who is already leveraging social media, how do you supercharge your efforts to make sure that you maximize leads from your social media marketing time investment?

Their are tons of approaches to help do this, but let’s start with six that can provide an instant boost to your social media lead generation efforts.

6 Instant B2B Social Media Lead Generation Improvements

1. Add a Call-to-action to your Business Blog – One of the biggest mistakes B2B marketers make is forgetting to include a call-to-action on their blog. Have an upcoming webinar that you are using to drive leads? Put a link or image to drive registration in your blog sidebar or at the end of blog posts.

2. Share Lead Generation Offers in Social Media – Social media purists would tell you that tweeting out a landing page to an ebook or product demo shouldn’t happen. They are wrong. Prospects that have opted into your social media content want more information about industry best practices and your business. Sometimes this might be from a blog post or an email. Other times it will be from a more hearty lead generation offer. Go ahead and start sharing these in social media.

3. Test Paid Methods of Building Social Media Reach – Social media advertising is an interesting beast. Beyond doing pay-per-click lead generation, marketers can also use tools like Facebook’s promoted stories to increase the number of likes on a Facebook Page. The benefit to paying for reach is that unlikes of social media accounts is fairly low. So instead of paying per lead, B2B marketers can pay for a fan or follower that has the potential to drive multiple leads over their lifetime as a connection. You will need to do some math to determine how many leads a follower or fan generates for your business over their lifetime, but that is another post for another time.

4. Follow, Friend, and Connect - You have to have social media connections to see and spread your content in order to generate leads. A simple way to get more social media connections is to search for related connections on a social network and then connect with them. Taking the simple action of connecting exposes your social media accounts to new connections and results in reach growth over time.

5.  Leverage Email – Email is social. Make sure to include links in your email to make it easy for email list members to connect with your business in social media.

6. Analyze Offers – Marketing without data crunching only results in wasted effort. Look at your lead generation offers and see how they perform in different social media channels. Use this data to promote the best performing offers by channel. This should increase your overall lead flow by channel by making simple changes.

We cover this topic in MUCH more detail in The B2B Social Media Book, but these are a few simple action items to get started. What other lead generation suggestions would you make for B2B companies?

Photo credit: Flickr

5 B2B Social Media Ideas to Get You Thinking

This week’s list of recent B2B social media posts are not linked by a theme, but they should all make you think. A good blog post should have an a-ha moment where an idea crystallizes in your head or it inspires you to do something new with an increased level of understanding. These posts all did that for me. I hope they do it for you. And if you have come across any a-ha moments in recent posts, share them in the comments below.

B2B Social Media Lead Generation Explained
Guest post by Eric Schwartzman and Paul Gillin
B2B social media marketing is particularly well suited for business-to-business lead generation. Business purchasing decisions are made by stakeholder committees with diverse priorities and a voracious appetite for details. Social media is the most efficient channel for committees of engineers, product developers, purchasing managers and marketers to self-educate, and a way for marketers to abbreviate sales cycles.
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5 Ways that PR is Evolving In Spite of Itself
from Bliss PR
Sometimes I wish the PR profession would get out of its own way. Last week, I was asked to give a speech explaining what “Modern PR” is, and I shared five ways that PR is evolving. But as I began to speak, I found myself thinking of how many PR firms might disagree with me.
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Social customer care: QR codes and self serve
from being guy1067
I hadn’t thought much about how QR codes could be used for customer service until recently. I was at a conference and the ever erudite Richard Sedley (@richardsedley) almost in passing talked about imprinting a QR code onto an object, but I can’t quite remember what the object was. Although for some reason a pipe sticks in mind. Perhaps a pipe that has frozen during a cold snap and instead of ringing up your supplier about what to do, you could simply scan the QR code imprinted into the pipe which would have a set of instructions about what to do, and also an idea of how to escalate the issue if the problem continued.
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LinkedIn Reaches 100 Million Users
Below are links to two different blog posts from LinkedIn. The size of this professional network should inspire you to make sure everyone at your company and your clients’ companies have complete personal profiles, company profiles and are leveraging Groups and Answers to develop and strengthen business connections. A new professional is joining LinkedIn faster than every second. And you may not be interested that there are 74 Elvis impersonators listed, but you might be interested that 100% of the Fortune 500 have executives with profiles on LinkedIn. That may be the only social media stat you have ever seen, and will ever see, that is 100%.
100 million members and counting…
100 million gumballs

B2B Marketers, Analyze This: How Do Prospects Score YOU on Their Experience?
Guest post by Bob Thompson, CEO of CustomerThink Corp
Last year I was looking for forms software to support CustomerThink. As I reported in my “Customer 2.0″ buying experience post, I searched for solutions, interacted with various web sites and engaged with some of the vendor reps, by email or phone. I eventually found the right solution, but that’s not where the story ends. To most of the vendors that I engaged with, I was just another not-very-valuable small business buyer. And I was treated accordingly, no doubt thanks to some nifty lead scoring algorithms that have become de rigueur for B2B marketers.
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3 Steps to Make B2B Social Media Produce Sales

Blogging, engaging, listening to customers on Facebook or Twitter. They’re all necessary components of being online. But doing these things won’t help your B2B company generate leads and convert sales using social media.

Converse in ways that solve problems
Following customers and prospects into social spaces is a smart idea. But an incomplete one. Grabbing their fleeting attention isn’t enough. Successful social marketers are capturing demand and converting it to sales. They’ve found the answer to selling more with social media.

Start conversations that are worth having. And converse in ways that generate questions that your brand has answers to. Connect those answers, ultimately, to your products or services. This is how to generate customer inquiries using social media.

For instance, global real estate firm, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) is using social media to close leads on prospective and existing accounts more often. The strategy is successful because JLL is using short, compelling, relevant videos as a means to initiate conversations. But only those that are worth having. The firm’s strategy is certainly to influence. But for JLL influence includes behavior… conversations that lead to mutually useful outcomes.

The strategy works largely due to the provocative, insightful content within the videos themselves. But also due to how JLL’s account team uses them. The two to three minute videos are often used surgically. JLL is delivering videos to prospects within short email messages, prompting clients to quickly view and react. JLL is focused on process more than the content itself. Prospects are prompted to view videos in a personalized manner via a direct email. The videos directly connect to a sales process and lead management protocol.

Step 1: Question your consultants
Overzealous gurus say the social web has revolutionized everything. And getting attention is the answer. We’re told to listen first. Then engage customers. But when does engage connect to sales? As David Ogilvy himself reminded marketers decades ago “we sell or else!”

Why is managing your reputation and developing enthusiasts more important than generating sales? Because someone who sells social media monitoring software says so? Or why is the end goal for Twitter something called engagement or attention? Because someone who wrote a book on Twitter decided so? And who said you cannot use LinkedIn to generate sales leads? Research funded by an ad agency that sells banner ads?

It’s likely not your imagination. These questions are often being birthed by well-intentioned, social media experts. But they have something to sell your marketing staff.

Step 2: Align marketing to produce behavior
“You don’t sell someone something by engagement, conversation and relationship. You create engagement, conversation and relationships by selling them something,” says Bob Hoffman, The Ad Contrarian and CEO, Hoffman Lewis. Read that again and notice how it flies in the face of what we’re being told to do by experts.

Businesses that sell with social media are reaching beyond attracting customers. They’re generating leads using these three practical success principles. They’re aligning social marketing with sales by:

  1. Designing marketing to produce behavior — always
  2. Translating customers’ evolving needs and prompting discussions worth having
  3. Publishing useful, relevant tools that get customers to ask questions that you can answer (and connect to products)

Consider your current social media marketing activities and everything you’re doing to join the conversation. Your tweeting, blogging, posting updates on Facebook. Are your activities talking with or “talking at” customers? Or are you truly interacting? Making marketing produce behavior is the first step. Make the call to action — or don’t use social media at all!

Step 3: Ask better questions
Press your marketing consultants, ad agency reps and employees to answer business questions first. And without using words like traffic, engagement or buzz. Make them squirm. Then turn the guns on yourself. Ask yourself: “Are we hiring employees and vendors based on tactical skills rather than ability to create strategic results? Do they ask the right questions of us — or avoid ours? Might the sales process itself be home to what we already know works?”

The answers may surprise you and prompt bold actions.

As an example, in a staff/vendor meeting make a point to understand if you’re using the social web to interact with customers intimately –- or if you’re blasting and tweeting into the ether. If you’re interacting, is it organized? Or do tactics work apart from, or compete with, each other? What actionable information does each interaction produce and where does that information go? What’s done with it, or not? Do interactions even produce actionable information? Does it connect to a lead nurturing or follow-up process?

Finally, ask yourself if there’s room for each social strategy to cooperatively push customers down the sales funnel… like a musical symphony… using the collected information. Task your social marketing team to organize around logical customer behaviors and prompts.

Social media marketing is a necessary component of being online. But being on Facebook and Twitter won’t generate leads and convert sales unless you design them to. What can you change today to drive leads and sales with your social media marketing?

5 Ways to Socialize Your B2B Content to Increase Leads and Sales

As B2B online marketers, creating new, socially shareable content to generate leads and sales is a huge part of our jobs. It’s not always easy to come up with highly engaging tweets or status updates, and it can be even harder to correlate that activity to leads or sales due to a complex B2B sales cycle. However, social content extends beyond the popular social platforms. Traditional marketing materials can easily be converted into socially shareable ones! Here are five types of content to share socially.

1. Slideshare Presentations
Turn the Powerpoint on it’s head! Create short and simple presentations and upload them to Slideshare. In the last slide include a call-to-action for the viewer to get something additional. When they click the link, they leave the presentation and arrive at a landing page with a short form, in order to receive something else of value.

I’m a firm believer that most marketing content should be free and readily accessible without registration, but only until you prove that you can provide value. Once you’ve done this, there’s no reason not to move on to the next step and ask for something in return for your content. Asking for basic contact information is usually that first step.

Slideshare makes it easy to tweet, like or Facebook share links to each presentation. They track the most shared presentations on Twitter and Facebook and will feature your presentation on the home page or a channel page if it is really popular. They alert you with an e-mail that says “your presentation is hot on Facebook.” This is very exciting if you’re a social marketer. It always makes my day!

2. White Papers
White papers have long been used for lead generation. We hide them behind a form and ask for contact information in exchange for sharing industry knowledge. However, how many more people would view the white paper if there was no form to fill out?

It may seem scary to free your white paper from its cage because publishing a white paper is traditionally a lead generation tactic. But putting it in front of the form ensures that more people will see it. The white paper also then becomes a lot more socially sharable. Just include a call to action at the end of the paper that leads to a form where you can collect contact information.

You can also embed the @Anywhere Tweetbox app on Thank You pages to add an even more social element.

3. Videos
Video marketing can be used to directly drive leads and sales. This is a great post by Jay Baer on how to humanize your brand with video.

Include a nice big call to action at the end of the video to drive the viewers to a landing page. This way, you can continue the conversation and, ask for contact info via a form or even get them to buy something directly.

And don’t forget to give viewers the opportunity to share the video socially with a tweet or LinkedIn/Facebook share.

4. Mini-Guides
Think of these as mini white papers. They can be Top 10 type guides that are a little meatier than a blog post, or they can be introductory type guides that introduce beginners to a complex topic.

At ion, our mini guides are about 1-3 pages long, but may be longer if we include a lot of visual examples. The Guide to Online Testing is our longest at 14 pages.

Mini guides can be used in the same way white papers are, but require less time on the part of the content creator. Set up a schedule where you’re creating one full-fledged white paper every quarter, but also producing a mini guide once per month. Depending on how big or small your marketing department is, you can adjust that schedule accordingly. The important thing is to constantly be creating new, valuable, consumable content that can be shared socially.

5. Blog Posts
Blog posts are a great way to generate traffic and interest in your products or services, so don’t miss that opportunity to capture leads from them. Why not add a call-to-action at the end of a few posts to direct your blog readers onto the next step of a long and healthy relationship with you.

Those are my five favorite ways to drive leads and sales with content and social marketing. What are your favorite ways to make your marketing content social?