3 unexpected ways to get great leads on social media

Posted in: Digital marketingLast update: 19/02/19

Email is the traditional source for lead generation – the King of the castle, if you will. But social media has become the new voice – and Queen – of online marketing for B2B and B2C. Social media provides a platform for reaching out to existing and potential leads, without having to cold call.

Even though your potential leads may not know you, social media enables you to do a little research on them. This way you can offer them a taste of exactly what they want on the first contact, so they’ll gladly give you their details for more and possible convert on the spot. And according to Business.com, 55% of buyers use social media when considering a purchase, so it makes sense to ensure you’re well represented on the social media platform preferred by your target market.

1. Begin social selling

Social selling is a great way to gain insight into your potential and existing customers before you even talk to them. That means using their actions on social media, like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, to identify their needs. Then figure out how you can fulfil those needs.

Create a live video, webinar, or hangout

If someone is willing to commit their time to view your offer, chances are they’re a lead you want to catch. You can use these options to gain valuable contacts in several ways, while providing insight and benefits for your viewers.

Firstly, you can set up gated access (see below), by asking the viewer to sign provide their contact details in order to gain access.

Sign up page for a webinar about retail marketing for the holidays, 2018. Users share their contact and employment details to join.

Alternatively, if you want to keep your content truly open source, you can gather leads during the webinar, video or hangout. You can request viewers’ information in exchange for additional resources mentioned during the broadcast. Or invite viewers to participate in a live discussion, but request their contact details to enable chat features.

Create and offer gated content

Rather than giving away content that you’ve sweated over, ask your reader for something in return. Direct the reader to a landing page asking them for their details, in order to receive some free content.

The main benefit of gated content is that it returns high quality leads. If someone is just idly interested, they are unlikely to offer their info in return for the content. The result is that though you may get fewer hits, leads will be more solid and engaged in your subject.


An example of gated content. A pop-up invites users to download the Social Media Marketing Industry Report. They must click through to a sign-up page to get the download.

Keep your target market in mind. If you’re B2B, then white papers, webinars and case studies seem to do best. On the other hand, if your business is client-facing, anything from ebooks, templates or access to a complete text will also work.

Polls and Surveys

Sometimes the best way to find out what your customers want is to simply ask them. You also get to ask them for their contact information, while hearing how you can improve the user experience for your products and services.


3 screenshots from a survey to collect leads. 1: a description of the prize, a summer birthday pool party. 2:  a form asking for information such as email, age, gender, and party theme. 3: a screen which thanks the user and invites them to share the promotion online.

This could be as simple as conducting an NPS Survey (Net Promoter Score) to find out how likely customers are to recommend you. After all, according to a recent Nielsen survey, 92% of consumers say they value recommendations from friends, more than any advertisement.

You can also create more in-depth surveys, to find out the gritty details about what your customer wants or doesn’t want from you.

2. Create incentives for your followers

Incentives are one of the oldest tricks in the book. Just make sure you truly are offering your lead something desirable and market-focused.

Whether you share tempting discounts, free gifts or subscription offers, incentives are a smart and pleasant way to get more leads. 56% percent of consumers follow brands to benefit from promotions or special offers, according to Marketing Sherpa. So that 56% could be converted into paying customers if you play your cards right.

Example of a roulette wheel promotion created for Sephora by joseph.vangeffen.org. Users share their contact details and spin the wheel to win coupons and free gifts.

Run Contests

The key with contests is to appeal to your target market only, without attracting random opportunists. That is to say, offering a holiday in Bali is a great prize, but isn’t very specific to your brand if you’re a financial software firm.

Rather, offer something that is industry-specific, like free access to your software, or a free assessment; something clients would otherwise have to pay for.

Example of a giveaway promotion. In exchange for name, email address, and reason for travel, this luggage brand is giving away a pair of suitcases for Valentine's Day.

If you’re sharing the contest via social media, getting interested entrants to click through a link in your bio to a landing page will help ensure they’re really keen.

Offer referral perks

Referring a friend is another smart way of focusing your efforts. While some people will refer anyone they can think of to get a freebie, a targeted prize should result in higher quality leads.

A targeted perk could be offering free subscriptions for a limited time, or discounts when referrals convert.


Example of a referral promotion. This beauty brand offers up to $25 of free merchandise when users recruit their friends to the brand.

Promo Codes

Offering promo codes to your customers is a great way to boost engagement. Basically, you’re saying ‘here’s something free, but only if you act first’. Promo codes could be a percentage off a first purchase, or a discount for subsequent purchases. They could be a seasonal bonus, or targeted more personally: ‘You haven’t visited us in a while, here’s a 10% discount to welcome you back!’

No matter how you phrase it, promo codes are a win for you. In order to access the code, the customer has to provide their details, which creates or adds new leads to your database. And discount codes will set off a sales boost.

3 screenshots showing a coupon promotion. 1: displaying contents of the giftbox on offer. 2: a coupon for a discount in-store. Up to 100 users could win this coupon. 3: a screen announcing the winner of the giftbox. Only 1 user can win the giftbox.

To make sure your promo gets maximum clicks, design it with care. Make it personal, specify which products it’s relevant to, and create a sense of urgency to motivate users.

3. Create your own opportunities

Reaching out to your target market through social media selling and incentives is a great place to start. However, you can also do a little behind-the-scenes work. Target your message to ensure it is reaching the most relevant people.

Be it geographically or demographically, you have control of your social media pages, so make them work for you. Whether you handle your own SM admins or you’ve appointed an agency to do it for you, these are handy ways to get in touch with prospective leads – before they even know they want you to!

Use geo-targeted search

Geotargeting really makes sense for businesses with a physical location. What better way to attract customers, than by finding out who’s in your area? This could mean targeting your posts, or promoting Facebook ads for a specific geographic range.


You can also search for geographically tagged tweets that contain keywords relevant to your product. For instance, the annual cycle challenge could be in town, giving you the opportunity to track competitors via their related tweets and posts. You can then reach out to them with an offer of a free energy shot with a fresh juice purchase if they come to your juice bar around the corner.

Use targeted social media listening

Essentially, keep track of what people are saying and doing on SM, by tracking selected keywords relevant to your product or service. Every time someone uses one of these terms, you can immediately asses is its relevance to your offering and reach out to them. Similarly, you can keep an eye on your competition by tracking their social media pages. You can see what they’re doing and at the same time establish if they have any dissatisfied customers who are looking for a new provider.

Use social media advertising

Social media advertising is possibly one of the best ways to receive focused, relevant leads from people who may not have known about you beforehand. That said, you need to be sure you are targeting your ads, and boosting your posts in the right way, so that only the people who you want to talk to, hear you. The usual suspects all offer some form of advertising, whether you’re on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Snapchat or Pinterest, there is a way to make your posts work for you. Considering that social advertising budgets are set to DOUBLE by 2023, this trend is supported by the numbers.

In conclusion

It is always important to remember that these systems have to add value to the customer at the end of the day. Create such a great social media value offering that the lead won’t be put off when you ask them for their details. Not only do you get many more leads but a high conversion rate also.


Dave Schneider

Founder of LessChurn, churn reduction app. In 2012 he quit his job to travel the world, and has visited over 65 countries. In his spare time, he writes about SaaS and business at DaveSchneider.me.