Does Social Media Work for Demand Generation?

by Vered DeLeeuw

You’ve decided to go ahead and add a blog to your company’s website. You also started a Twitter account and a Facebook page, and hired a social media consultant to manage those for you. Or perhaps you’ve hired a full-time social media manager.

If you’re like most companies, you’ve done all that hoping that your social media efforts would serve as a lead generation tool. However, most companies – at least those cited in the survey – report that this is not always the case.

It’s difficult to know if social media efforts generate leads, because they often generate them in an indirect way. Sometimes we can effectively measure the effect of a social media campaign. This usually happens when we create an asset such as a white paper, promote it in social media, remembering to create several different landing pages for each social media channel we use, and requiring people to register before they can download the white paper. In this scenario, we end up knowing exactly how many inquiries we received from each social media channel, and we can also find out how many of those have turned into actual leads and customers.

But in most cases, you won’t go through so much trouble to measure a single social media promotion, especially because social media moves fast and you need to create lots of content and promote it frequently in order to stay fresh and interesting.

There are of course other, less accurate but still powerful ways to measure the effectiveness of your social media efforts. One of the easiest is to take a look at your Google Analytics report. On Google Analytics, you can find out how much of your Web traffic arrives through your blog; you can see if Facebook, for example, is a top referrer to your site, and if it is, how the people who get to your site via Facebook behave – are they engaged? Do they stay for a while, or do they immediately bounce off?

Even if your social media efforts do not directly generate leads for your business, or not a significant amount of them, there’s a good chance you’ll feel like the majority of the above survey participants and still find value in social media. Social media is not just about generating direct leads. It is also about establishing or strengthening your image and brand, connecting with influencers in your space, nurturing your existing leads, and generating backlinks for your website.

Other valid reasons for using social media include monitoring conversations about your brand, and the just as legitimate “I’m there because my competitors and/or my target audience is there.”

Of course, if none of the above applies to your company, and especially if your target audience, influencers in your space and your competitors are not using social media, you probably don’t need to use it, with the exception of a blog that can be used solely for the purpose of improving your search engine rankings – assuming people search for your product or service online.

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