30 ways to generate sales leads online

Everyone knows that social media can have a critical impact on your sales – but how can you use social media to generate leads?

From a social media perspective, there are three important stages you need to go through.

Generate awareness: Be there – find out where your prospects/customers hang out online, and have a presence there.

Convert awareness into interest: Be relevant – provide information that is useful or controversial to pull people into your content.

Make it through to evaluation: Be proven – provide case studies and testimonials at every turn online, ideally with other people talking on your behalf.

Here is your 30-point plan.

10 ways to generate awareness:

  1. Ensure your company and all employees have a LinkedIn profile
  2. Join or set up an interest group on Linkedin
  3. Set up a SlideShare space, link it do your LinkedIn profile
  4. Set up a YouTube channel and Facebook page
  5. Set up a company Twitter feed
  6. Bookmark your content (StumbleUpon, Digg, Delicious, etc)
  7. Set up a BT Tradespace profile
  8. Set up Google, BlogSpot and WordPress identities
  9. Comment on, or become a contributor to, blogs and forums
  10. Regularly update email signatures with new content

10 ways to generate interest:

  1. Post snappy links to content via Twitter, Facebook status, email footer, etc
  2. Post regular interesting short blogs
  3. Prepare deeper content like press releases, papers and articles
  4. Give each of your team an area of expertise to track and comment on
  5. Post details of other people’s content relevant to your audience
  6. Comment on industry news and happenings in real time
  7. Make sure all employees regularly update online statuses
  8. Follow up traditional touch-points with online contact
  9. Gather permissions to send email updates
  10. Ask intelligent questions on online forums

10 ways to prove your credentials:

  1. Provide written case studies on your site, blog, etc
  2. 140-character lines to link back to your case studies, articles, etc
  3. Post case study videos on your site, YouTube channel, etc
  4. Post webcasts and presentations on your site, SlideShare, etc
  5. Post product demos on YouTube, SlideShare, etc
  6. Re-use testimonials on your business over and over
  7. Provide intelligent answers to questions posed in forums, groups, etc
  8. Run live Q&A sessions via Twitter
  9. Add a customer feedback / rating system to your site, blog, etc and re-use the positive feedback
  10. Ask LinkedIn contacts for endorsements
This 30-point plan focuses specifically on lead generation – but note that it is equally relevant for market research, recruitment, lead nurturing and much more.

What other tips do you have for establishing your brand online?

Bryony Thomas is chief clear thinker at Clear Thought Consulting

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