Social media is a treasure trove of lead generation, and many marketers are catching on to the possibilities. According to an infographic by Wishpond, 77 percent of business-to-customer marketers say they have used Facebook to acquire a customer, while 34 percent say the same thing for Twitter. Meanwhile, LinkedIn has proven to be 277 percent more effective than either Facebook or Twitter, according to the infographic. Despite these strong returns, many marketers and business professionals are unsure of the best methods for extracting this value from their social presence. If you’re wanting to turn your social platforms into a wellspring of leads, here are five essential tips.

Start a Conversation

The primary value of social media is communication. For businesses looking to generate leads, this often entails starting and encouraging conversations with prospective consumers. Interactions with online users and their engagement with your social properties can be part of the process of producing a qualified lead. Even one-on-one conversations can have value because of their highly visible nature — on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms, conversations between a business and a potential lead can be seen by other users and increase your company’s exposure, according to Social Media Examiner. And if you’re engaging customers in a positive manner, your superior customer service will continue to bring in leads.social media leads globally

Invest in Social Advertising

For many businesses, lead generation involves paying other companies to produce qualified leads on customers. But many businesses don’t have the financial resources to make this type of investment. An insurance company, for example, might have a limited advertising and lead generation budget, but the success of that business still depends on gathering the best insurance leads available.

Fortunately, social media makes some of this lead generation both easier and more affordable. Social advertising on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms has been developed to provide cost-effective advertising options even for small businesses, according to SteamFeed. And because the targeting metrics of these social platforms can be used to refine your ad exposure, the ads can help businesses generate leads among their most likely consumers. Invest in social ad campaigns scaled to fit your budget, and strong leads should come your way.

Use Prominent Link Placement to Bring Social Users to Your Website

Social properties can generate their own trickle of leads for businesses if they drive traffic from those profiles to your website. Most businesses geared toward generating online leads have websites that feature landing pages, fillable forms and other features designed to appeal to consumers and take in information. SteamFeed recommends building social profiles and pages that prominently feature links back to your website, whether you’re trying to drive traffic to landing pages or other properties. Effective link placement will be easy for consumers to find and use, resulting in greater website referrals and an organic stream of leads.

Streamline Your Web Presence for Mobile Device-Convenience

It can never be overstated that social media and business networking is becoming increasingly more of a mobile experience. Having your website optimized for mobile devices is of utmost importance. And with significant differences in usability between devices — both smartphones and tablets — understanding how your audience connects to your site and social properties is a critical first step. Keeping your site’s technology current is also key as cellular providers are making it easier and easier for users to upgrade. For example, T-Mobile’s JUMP program gives smartphone users the ability to switch devices, and stay current, at any time for an added $10 a month. With each smartphone model offering a slightly different user experience, business owners must pay attention to the target audience and the platforms they’re using to connect.

Activate Your Followers

As Business2Community notes, social media users are typically focused on other interests than making purchases. But this isn’t as big of an obstacle as it may seem for lead generators, because lead generation doesn’t require a purchase. In that sense, businesses can craft content that offers a call-to-action because the immediate goal isn’t transactional — it’s all about opening up a greater line of communication, which social networking is ideal for. When you post and share content — or even put it on your website — include a call-to-action that appeals to your social followers. This simple addition to your social posts can encourage greater engagement and organic leads for your business.

photo credit: woodleywonderworks | cc

Jon Rognerud is known as the most sought-after SEO, Digital Marketing Consultant and Online Advisor for Finance, Technology, Real-Estate and Health industries. He is famous for building business strategies, mobile websites and integrated marketing solutions that brings process, profits and brand loyalty…without wasting time. Jon Rognerud is the author of the best-selling book (Buy On Amazon), “The Ultimate Guide To Optimizing Your Website” (Entrepreneur Press) and is the Founder of Chaosmap. Get more information about the company here.