When talking to potential customers, it's a must to understand what you're selling, but do you know where to show what you're selling? Finding prospects via social media is always a challenge, and can be an opportunity as well. Tons of social media strategies to acquire leads are everywhere, it's a tricky situation because you'll still have to determine what works and what doesn't for every strategy. Some strategies might work for a cafe downtown but it won't work with a day spa, right? Always keep in mind that a social media strategy to acquire leads isn't a one-size-fits-all approach! You have to customize every strategy to come up with a tailored-fit one for a local business.

But first, you have to be where your customers are using social media. Here are some ways capture leads using social media:

1.) Talk to Customers

Small business owners are always busy and pre-occupied, but that shouldn't be a reason not to connect with customers and potential ones. Everyone can be a customer but not all can be a business owner, which should remind business owners how it is to be a customer, right? It's always a good thing to ask people what improvement they want to see or what new service you want to offer.

If you have a physical store, you can ask your customers how they're getting online –  is it using a desktop or a mobile device? This question alone can help you decide to whether you should create a mobile website or not. Brick-and-mortar businesses should capitalize on this because they have an opportunity to talk to customers offline.  But if you're strictly an “online business” it helps to create an email list so you can ask them questions through a newsletter with a survey. It also helps to give them freebies once in awhile but don't overdo it! This is a great approach to jumpstart finding leads using social media.

 

2.) Set Up Google Alerts

This should be a no-brainer. Google Alerts could be an underrated tool in finding leads. Big brands use social monitoring tools like Radian6 or Hootsuite, if you're a local business owner, Google Alerts is your best tool to monitor where your customers are, what they're talking about, and of course, who they are. If you're a consultant servicing a local contractor like a plumber, aircon specialist, or a doctor, Google Alerts will help you engage in conversations that can help you connect with a potential lead.

Here’s how to set up your Google Alerts:

Go to Google Alerts.

Enter the term or phrase you want to monitor in the Search Query field.

Choose the type of results you’d like to get in the Result Type field. (I recommend starting out with “Everything.” You can always change it once you see the type of results you’re getting.)

Then choose how often you want to receive the results, how many results you want (I recommend “Only the best results”) and the email where you want to receive them.

 

3.) Use Facebook Graph Search

Facebook has launched the Graph Search feature to help local marketers enhance their local search strategies. With Graph Search, you can perform focused searches that can yield substantial and accurate results that can help improve your business or your client’s business. Graph Search works best if you want to determine share interests groups that you can capture leads from.

Keep in mind that the basic rules of participating in groups apply, so don’t blast everyone with self-promotional links. Present a situation or share a problem some of your customers encountered so you can offer how you've helped them. Shrug the salesman approach and talk like an expert that can accommodate their queries.

 

4.) Engage on LinkedIn Groups

Unlike Facebook groups, LinkedIn gives you an opportunity to connect with customers and other business owners as well. You can join up to 50 groups but you can only actively engage in a few ones. Choose the groups that are more relevant to your business in terms of location and industry. Creating your own LinkedIn Group gives you an edge as well, so you can invite current followers, fellow business owners, and potential customers. Engaging on threads posted by members is a good start to introduce yourself.

Eventually, you can post your own thread that can help introduce your product or service without being too much of a salesman. Once you're getting the hang of LinkedIn Groups, identify group members who are always asking about your product or the members who need a solution which you can help them with. Don't message them right away, answer their queries on the group itself so other members can also read it. Sending them a private message makes it more professional, and entices them to listen to your suggestions. Always keep in mind that a simple LinkedIn message could turn into a phone call which you can convert into a potential lead.