Social media is developing a reputation for being valuable not just for customer interaction and brand awareness but also for lead generation. In February 2010, for example, inbound online marketing platform HubSpot found Twitter usage could double monthly leads, and Onesource reported in January that business-to-business salespeople were looking to LinkedIn for prospecting.
According to virtual events provider Unisfair, social media is the top emerging channel for lead gen among technology marketers surveyed in May 2010.
Lead generation was marketers’ first priority, with 66% saying it was their greatest concern for 2010, compared with just 17% who chose brand awareness.
When online marketing firm R2integrated surveyed US marketing professionals in April 2010 about why they had a social media strategy, the No.1 response was to increase lead generation.
Unqualified leads are a major problem, with one-third of Unisfair respondents saying they normally rejected 16% to 30% of their leads as unqualified.
The most important types of information for determining whether a lead is valuable include interest and demographic information—which might make social media an even more useful prospecting channel, since profiles can include exactly the type of data salespeople are looking for. In addition, social media can provide a venue for nurturing leads that are not yet ready to buy.
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