Lead generation is the most important step in finding clients for your small business. A good lead generation strategy will enable you to find and qualify sales prospects, reach your target audience, and keep your sales funnel full.
The key to a successful lead generation strategy is to find as many qualified leads as possible and turn them into warm leads–and one of the best ways to find qualified leads is through social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
Not only does social media represent the largest potential target audience in the world– projected to hit 4.4 billion users in 2025–but it’s also where many of your prospects spend their time. In fact, as of 2022, users spend an average of 147 minutes on social media networks every day.
There is no better place for B2B marketers to find audiences interested in your business and influencers who can promote your brand. And there is no better place for you to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to landing pages or your website, and grow community engagement.
This article walks you through the core elements of social media lead generation and digital marketing to create a social media marketing plan, decide which social media platforms to target, build the right sales prospecting plan, reach your target audience, and find qualified leads.
In simplest terms, a lead is a potential customer. They may have expressed interest in your business, interacted with your brand online, or simply align with your ideal customer profile. When putting together a list of leads, you want to include their name, contact information (email and phone number), and relevant background info such as their location and industry.
A social lead is a lead generated from social platforms, usually by showing interest in your content, brand, or what you offer. Social media lead generation is finding and nurturing potential leads through social media marketing and obtaining relevant contact information.
Note that lead generation is only part of your larger social media strategy–which should be focused on raising your brand awareness and positioning your business as a trusted thought leader in your industry. The best social media strategy will attract leads on its own. Your lead generation strategy is how you design and adapt your social media marketing to attract and nurture social leads.
Social leads are important because they are qualified leads. If you do your research on your target audience and you use the right lead generation tool, most of your leads will be high-quality.
That is, they’ll be part of your target demographic, interested in what you offer, and open to having a conversation with you. Social leads are ideal for your lead generation efforts because they are already warm–you just need to nurture them to convert them into sales.
Although social leads are usually qualified, they still need to be nurtured to move through your sales funnel. Lead nurturing is any activity, such as content marketing, landing pages, automated CRM tools, or marketing campaigns, that increases your lead conversion rate. Social media channels also provide lead nurturing tools such as lead ads, referrals, and access to metrics and social listening tools.
The end goal of nurturing is to convert potential leads into customers, but social media lead generation doesn’t stop there. Your existing customers play a vital role on social media. Every time a customer posts about a good experience online, likes or comments on a post, or shares your content, it raises your brand awareness and reputation–which then attracts more leads to your business.
Most social platforms offer free lead generation tools, and of course, participation on the platforms themselves is free. This means you can engage in a long-term lead generation strategy for little to no cost. And the longer you are active on social media; the more your brand awareness and influence will grow.
Social media platforms let you reach your target audience directly, so you’re automatically speaking to people interested in what you offer. And a popular and influential social media presence can raise the likelihood that Google will share your content more often.
Social media platforms make it easy to see how your content is performing – who is sharing, liking, or commenting on it, who is clicking on your lead ads, and how many people you are reaching. Automation tools make this even easier by scheduling content, performing social listening, and moderating discussions.
Social proof is a compelling way to build trust. When you post relevant content on social media or engage in discussions, it conveys that you are a trusted expert in your field who cares about their customers. Social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn also provide targeting features to reach audiences you may not usually touch with organic content.
Social media is constantly evolving. People and platforms are becoming more concerned with privacy and increasingly wary of false information, ads, and clickbait. Your social media lead generation strategy needs to focus on providing value through relevant content and positive engagement to connect with and engage your target audience.
The first step in your lead generation strategy is identifying your target audience and what kind of social leads you want to attract and nurture. How you identify your targets depends on your industry, marketing strategy, and business culture.
Once you’ve identified your target audience and leads, you need to choose which social media platforms you want to target and what tactics you will use.
Here are a few of the more effective social media lead generation tactics:
Gated content is in-depth, relevant content, such as video, case studies, or white papers, that you provide on a landing page. Gated content typically requires visitors to provide their names, email addresses, and other information before downloading the content. It’s an excellent way to create qualified leads and gather contact information because you already know who will find the content valuable. You know they are interested in learning more about your offer.
On platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, you can pin a post to the top of your feed or profile. This makes the post the first thing new visitors see, so it’s a great place to show how you provide value. For example, you could pin a link to gated content, provide a list of achievements, awards, or testimonials to build credibility, or offer a relevant content article about trending topics in your industry.
Promotional events are a great way to collect leads. You can run contests or draws requiring a contact form to enter, offer promotions with a discount code that encourages prospective customers to visit your website or landing page, or run quizzes promoting engagement with your social media content. These events have two benefits for your lead generation: they are an ethical way to collect contact information, and they help build your social media presence when people share your event with their networks.
Most social media platforms offer targeted ads for lead generation. These ads allow you to reach your target audience with relevant content directly via the platform’s targeting algorithm. Social media ads drive lead generation; they are also an excellent source of metrics on audience demographics, level of engagement, and conversion rates.
Live video is an excellent way to engage with your audience in real-time through high-value content. You can run a simple vlog on industry topics and trends, host live discussions, demonstrate how your product or service can solve a problem, or walk through a case study. You can pair the video with gated content that provides a deeper level of discussion to increase engagement.
Your profile is the number one place where people will go to find information about your business on a social network. Make sure your contact information is straightforward, easy to find, and up-to-date. Depending on the platform, you can also add links to your current or most popular content or CTA buttons to book an appointment with your sales team or subscribe to a newsletter.
Once you know your target audience and lead generation goals, you can decide which social media networks are the best fit for you. This doesn’t need to be a complicated process. Most businesses will want to be present on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. However, each platform has its advantages for lead generation, so it’s essential to do your homework on what the platform allows (and doesn’t allow) you to do.
We’ll walk you through the top four:
LinkedIn is the biggest B2B social media platform, with over 57 million companies and 800 professionals worldwide connecting, engaging, and sharing. Over 89% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn for lead generation, and 62% of marketers report that it generates leads. LinkedIn provides a high level of quality professional data, a pro-business culture, and sophisticated advertising, monitoring, and lead-generation tools that make it a compelling choice for social media lead generation.
You can use LinkedIn filters, targeting tools, and analytics to find and qualify leads, categorize your leads by stage in your sales funnel, and target the right lead generation content. Tools such as Website Retargeting and Content Targeting let you reach leads at any stage of the funnel.
Here are a few highlights of LinkedIn’s portfolio of lead generation tools.
LinkedIn offers lead generation through LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms. These ads come pre-populated with the lead’s LinkedIn profile information, saving time and improving response rates. You can use Lead Gen ads to share gated content, invite people to a webinar or event, share a contest or quiz, or let people sign up for a newsletter or blog.
When you set up your Lead Gen campaign, you determine your target audience and create your offer. LinkedIn provides demographic information to assist you with targeting your ads. You can access analytics to measure your results during your campaign and make tweaks to improve your targeting and conversion rates.
LinkedIn offers sponsored advertising to reach potential leads. Sponsored content ads show up in your target audiences’ LinkedIn feed. They are a great way to share thought leadership, promote events and offerings, and engage with potential leads via relevant, high-value images, video, and text content.
LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences feature lets you customize how your LinkedIn ads are targeted. You can use Matched Audiences to retarget website visitors or you can upload a list of accounts or email contacts to LinkedIn and the platform will automatically target your ads to them.
Text, Carousel, and Dynamic Ads
Text ads and dynamic ads appear on the LinkedIn feed and pages. Targeted ads are a great way to reach specific audiences to raise brand awareness or drive conversions. Dynamic ads incorporate members’ details to increase engagement.
Conversion Tracking provides data on analytics on your ad and lead generation performance. It measures conversion activity such as content downloads, purchases, and sign-ups. Conversion Tracking also measures the activity of people who viewed your ads, even if they don’t click them.
As the world’s largest social network, Facebook offers enormous opportunities for lead generation. Facebook Ads Manager provides powerful lead generation, campaign management, and conversion tracking capabilities.
Ad Manager lets you define your target audience, adjust campaigns on the fly, and test ad performance with real-time analytics. Facebook lead ads are mobile-optimized, and they are delivered to all applications and platforms under the Meta banner, including Instagram and Facebook Messenger.
You can sync leads from Facebook Ads Manager directly to your CRM system.
Another social media platform in the Meta family, Instagram provides excellent lead generation opportunities. The numbers are compelling: 90% of Instagram’s 1 billion users follow a business on the platform, and 2 in 3 Instagram users say the platform enables a positive interaction with their favorite brands.
Instagram shares its lead generation and advertising tools with Facebook, so to create and run ad campaigns you will need a Facebook business account. The platform also offers excellent opportunities to use video and visual storytelling and to work with influencers to grow your brand awareness.
Twitter offers powerful lead generation and conversion tracking tools for small businesses. The Twitter Ads platform lets you choose from various campaign goals suited for different lead generation and advertising goals. When setting up your campaign, you select the campaign type, dates, and budget and set up your ad groups and goals. Twitter uses a bidding system to price and buy ads–you can set up automatic bidding or set target and maximum bids. The ads and promoted tweets will appear across the platform in home timelines, search results pages, and Twitter’s Audience Platform to partner applications.
Twitter provides deep analytics and conversion tracking through an Ads Manager dashboard.
Social media platforms constantly change their lead generation and advertising tools. Make sure your lead generation strategy includes a regular assessment of each platform’s tools so you can anticipate and adapt to change.
Although every social media platform has powerful lead generation tools, LinkedIn is the clear choice for generating B2B leads. We say this for several reasons, starting with the sheer size of its business network. Hundreds of millions of businesspeople engage with each other on LinkedIn every day. This represents an enormous opportunity–as businesspeople, LinkedIn members are more likely to engage with your content if it matches their business interests.
LinkedIn also provides excellent lead generation targeting and analytics capabilities to help you find, qualify, and convert leads.
The choice is clear–your B2B lead generation strategy needs to include building a solid network and nurturing leads on LinkedIn. But once that’s done and you’re ready to pitch an offer, you’ll need to contact your leads directly. That often means sending an email, but what do you do if you can’t find the lead’s email address?
The answer is prospecting software from Datanyze.
Prospecting software gathers relevant information about your leads, saving you time and energy that can be better spent building connections and closing deals.
Using a hybrid machine learning and human verification approach, Datanyze’s Google Chrome Extension provides you with detailed information about qualified leads while you browse LinkedIn.
Datanyze ethically reveals contact information such as email addresses, phone numbers, company details, and market information. It’s easy to integrate with your workflow and is compliant with GDPR and CCPA laws.