How To Turn Social Media Into Lead-Generating Machines, Part 3: Visual Marketing

Get Visual: Social Media Best Practices for Visual Marketing

In the last two blog posts, we talked about how social media can be used effectively for generating leads for B2C and B2B businesses.

Now, let’s ignore the distinction between the two for a while and focus on one aspect of your social media strategy that certainly applies to both types of businesses: your approach to visual marketing.

I’ve talked a bit about visual marketing in the past — why it matters, how it should be done, and the tools you can use to improve its efficacy in your overall social media strategy. However, I think it’s also important to stress that there are differences in the way visual marketing is and should be done across different social media platforms.

Another thing: Even the simple act of updating your profile picture on Facebook or Twitter actually involves a lot more than simply picking a square-shaped drawing of your favorite cartoon character, or a picture that you think makes you seem less fat/oily/haggard-looking than all of the other ones you took of yourself. (Don’t worry — we all go through this, trust me.)

Keeping your visual content on social media is a vital part of your strategy that you should not simply cast aside because of the following reasons: -

  • we’re naturally more inclined to better absorb information when presented in visuals,
  • a well-optimized image could mean the difference between captivating your audience and helping them decide to move along to the next business and just ignore you.
  • the visual content we post on social media reflects our mindset and preferences , thus affecting how your followers and the rest of the community look at you.

I’ve prepared a list of guidelines for posting images on social media below — this includes image size specifications for a handful of popular social media sites, as well as special best practices for Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.

By the way, speaking of those three platforms, I’ve prepared an infographic of fun facts about them. You can check it out now, or after you’re done reading the rest of this article.

General Social Media Image Guidelines

For Facebook

Did you know that Facebook posts with images generate approximately 120% more engagement than just plain text updates? That’s why you should put more thought into the kinds of images you post, especially if you’re planning to establish thought leadership and a stronger presence.

Size specifications for Facebook images:

  • Profile Images: 180 x 180 (scaled to display as 160 x 160)
  • Cover Images: 851 x 315
  • Post Images – Desktop: 1200 x 1200 (scaled to display as 403 x 403)
  • Post Images – Mobile: 1200 x 1200 (scaled to display as 560 x 560)
  • Post Images (Link) – Desktop: 1200 x 627 (scaled to display as 403 x 210)
  • Post Images (Link) – Mobile: 1200 x 627 (scaled to display as 560 x 292)

For Twitter

Visual content on Twitter results in 150% more retweets, 89% more favourites, and 18% more clicks than text-only content; that’s why you should always add photos in your tweets.

Size specifications for Twitter images:

  • Profile Images: 400 x 400
  • Cover Images: 1500 x 500
  • In-Stream Images: 220 x 440
  • Background Images: 2MB Max. (top left justified)

For Google+

With photos, you can drive more of your readers to share your Google+ account and post on your behalf to improve your CTR. You might want to consider getting better profile and cover images that align with your brand identity.

Size specifications for Google+ images:

  • Profile Images: 250 x 250 (displayed as a circle)
  • Cover Images: 1080 x 608
  • Post Images: 620 x 620

For LinkedIn

Unsurprisingly, LinkedIn has proven to be one of the best platforms for lead generation for businesses. Much like the rest, posting images on LinkedIn entails following a set of standards.

Size specifications for LinkedIn images:

  • Profile Pic: (Company Logo) 100 x 60 px; (Personal Profile) 200 x 200 px
  • Cover Photo: 646 x 220 px
  • Link Post: 180 x 110 px (scaled to display as such, regardless of original size)
  • Background Photo: (Premium Feature) 1400 x 425 px

Best Practices for Instagram

Take photos of the people you work with.

Create memories of team activities by taking staff photos and uploading the results on social media to help build confidence in your brand and camaraderie in the team.

Display your products and services.

Use Instagram to display the process of creating and packaging your product. I’m sure your audience is interested to know more about the work that goes into the whole procedure.

Return the favour and follow your Followers.

This can help you get to know them better by observing how they behave on the platform and the kinds of things they post.

Best Practices for Pinterest

Create a blog board.

This will make it easier for your followers to read your blog posts.

Pin wisely.

Focus on pinning relevant and interesting content at a steady pace to keep the momentum. Also, feel free to repin, share, like or comment on anything that is significant to your brand on Pinterest. Engagement still matters, even on a platform that is quite image-heavy.

Also, feel free to repin, share, like or comment on anything that is significant to your brand on Pinterest. Engagement still matters, even on a platform that is quite image-heavy.

Return the favour and follow your Followers.

This can help you get to know them better by observing how they behave on the platform and the kinds of things they post.

Best Practices for YouTube

Make more than one video.

Try making 8, seriously -- that’s what YouTube recommends. 😉

Invite your audience to subscribe to your YouTube channel.

Lead them towards converting by giving them more visual demonstrations to help them further understand the work that needs to be done.

Promote your videos on the other social media sites where your target consumers are.

Use different social media platforms to share your shots with the rest of the world.

Carefully study the stats.

Take time to get to know your viewership better - this will help you in preparing future content that is even more relevant to your audience and, ultimately, to what the brand seeks to achieve.

I hope you can apply these social media image posting best practices soon! With the right guidance and a solid social media action plan, your brand will have no trouble at all in attracting customers, increasing conversions, and making itself known to a global audience.

How To Turn Social Media Into Lead-Generating Machines, Part 2: B2B Businesses

A decade ago, the idea of social media eventually becoming one of the most powerful marketing tools for any brand was a farfetched one, at best.

A decade ago, the idea of social media eventually becoming one of the most powerful marketing tools for any brand was a farfetched one, at best. I don’t think anyone at the time had any idea that LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, or any of the subsequent social media platforms would become advertising juggernauts.

It’s a combination of a number of factors. A lot of people are saying that social media is an effective marketing tool because everyone’s on social media. While there is some truth to that (in a general sense), I think it’s much more complicated than that.

You see, not everyone is on the same social media platforms. Let’s take LinkedIn, for example. The social networking platform, which was founded over a decade ago, counts industry professionals, Human Resources folks and businessmen among the majority of its over 380 million users. (For more interesting facts and statistics on LinkedIn, as well as its very useful offshoot SlideShare, check out this infographic I put together.)

It comes as no surprise, then, that marketers for B2B businesses do allocate some time and effort on using LinkedIn to build their professional network of contacts and connect with industry leaders and potential customers who are on the social media site. This is despite the fact that lead generation and ROI are still a bit tricky to gauge on social media.

Nevertheless, failing to gear your social media marketing strategy towards maximizing the potential of LinkedIn (and even other platforms that are suitable for B2B businesses, such as Google+ and Twitter) is an opportunity wasted. Similar to my earlier blog post on social media marketing best practices for B2C businesses, I’ve come up with a list of tips on how you can optimize your social media accounts — which, in the case of B2B businesses, is most likely LinkedIn — to attract more leads that would hopefully lead to more conversions for your business.

(The interesting thing here is that, if you think about it, there really isn’t much of a difference between how you should strategize social media marketing for B2B and how you do so for B2C. It’s more in the kind of tactics and the level of interaction required for B2B marketing: deeper, and with a bit more focus on engagement. This is because, as Christina Kerley points out in her blog, business audiences are actually more engaged on social media, by virtue of their very livelihoods.)

Don’t be afraid to mix it up when it comes to your content. 

Employ all forms of useful, informative, and engaging content — from case studies and whitepapers, to infographics and blogs, and even videos and livestreams — to attract your audience to the parts of your website that are relevant for lead generation (contact forms, email opt-in lists, and so on).

Your content should be optimized with the right keywords, and your calls to action must be strong and clear.

Use all of your social media channels to distribute your content. 

Share your content through your blogs, your social media accounts, your video channels, and even email marketing.

Utilize Q&A forums to develop thought leadership. 

Thought leadership is a key area for B2B marketers to focus on, given the nature and typical characteristics of their target audience. Online Q&A platforms such as LinkedIn or Quora present the opportunity to reach out to your target market and provide meaningful answers to questions about your industry, which can help you establish a reputation as a trustworthy and reliable source of information (and thus, someone your audience can count on to deliver effective solutions to business problems).

Become part of the community.

Don’t forget to put the “social” in social media — make connections with your professional contacts or with people within the same field or with the same interests. It’s not enough to just join relevant groups left and right, though; do your best to provide value by being a helpful member of the online community whenever you can.

Keep your LinkedIn status up to date.

Ask interesting questions about your industry or post relevant updates. These are displayed on your profile and sent to your contacts through email, which keeps your visibility up and creates avenues for you to communicate with your audience.

Organizing a webinar event? Promote it on social media.

Obviously, this raises awareness about your webinar (or any other event) and drums up interest. This way, people who might be interested in what you have to say about a particular topic will be encouraged to sign up. Don’t forget to link to your registration page, of course!

Try to connect with your customers’ contacts on LinkedIn, too.

One of the ways to do this is to ask for a personal introduction to one of their own contacts — however, this is only likely to work if you’ve been successfully providing reliable, high quality service to your contact or addressing one of their important needs. Remember that successful B2B marketing greatly hinges on the size and quality of your own network.

Be more attentive and responsive.

Choose keywords that are relevant to your brand and monitor them carefully, paying close attention to any important conversations and taking note of related keywords and trends you can utilize.

You can then participate in them via a carefully crafted message that offers useful content (perhaps an eBook or a case study) to get your audience to sign up.

All in all, B2B social media marketing is all about making the right connections with the right folks, getting them to consume your content and engage with you, and making them realize the unique value and services that only you can provide.

Looking past the specifics of your target audience, the lesson remains the same, whether you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn — social media platforms are indispensable tools in marketing, and can take your business to new heights with the right guidance and a solid strategy.

How To Turn Social Media Into Lead-Generating Machines, Part 1: B2C Businesses

B2C: Social Media Best Practices for B2C Businesses

As you may have already gathered from one of my earlier blog posts on the subject, social media platforms that are properly managed are your business’s best allies in establishing its brand identity and building an online following.

However, one area I didn’t really touch on is lead generation. Here’s a not-so-secret secret: You just know that you’re doing social media for business right if you’re getting more inquiries from potential customers regarding what your brand can offer to help them solve their problems.

Don’t get me wrong, though — this doesn’t mean that you’re outright advertising yourself or your brand. Trust me, people tend to HATE that, and sometimes, even the most well-planned marketing efforts backfire when they’re overdone.

After all, if there’s one thing that social media lead generation and weight loss have in common, it’s that they’re both best done the natural way. 

Anyway, here’s the real score: Social media users are active online because they’re looking for experiences and connections. It’s a “safe haven” of sorts, where they are free to make connections with other people (and brands) that they feel warm towards (or a sense of kinship with).

Therefore, it’s not so surprising that nobody likes bullies or wannabes that call attention to themselves — and in this example, it’s the brands that force themselves upon social media users that fit this description.

Luckily, it’s not that hard to act properly online, particularly if you’re a business aiming to persuade more potential customers to get to know your brand better. I’ll take a stab in the dark and say that you’re most likely on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Google+, which makes sense if you were running a B2C business.

(By the way, just in case you’re in the mood for some fun facts about the three platforms I mentioned, go and have fun with this little infographic I put together!)

Here’s a list of some of the best practices I’ve learned about lead generation for B2C businesses via social media. These will help you reach out to your audience (and hopefully get on their good side). You might be surprised, though, as some of these tips and guidelines may sound really, really obvious.

Make it a habit to attach (large) images to posts.

Did you know that Facebook posts with images get 120% more engagement than pictureless (and honestly, rather dull) posts? It’s all about making your posts visually interesting so that your audience would want to click and share it. However, if you’re planning to go small (why would you, though?), then don’t bother — it won’t have the same impact.

Stick to short and sweet social media updates.

You know how Twitter has a 140-character limit? Try to post updates that are even shorter than that. You probably know the drill already: Keep the character count to below 100 characters, especially if you’re posting with an image or a link. Now, Facebook isn’t as strict about the character count, but believe me, you’ll want to keep your status messages shorter, too.

Monitor conversations that are relevant to your brand (and engage in them, too).

This isn’t too hard to do — you just have to pick a couple of keywords that are relevant to your brand, keep track of the instances where they’re mentioned, and see whether it’s an opportunity for you to introduce your brand and share an offer or two with your prospective customer.

Make sure to answer all inquiries promptly.

Ideally, inquiries on Facebook should be answered within 2 hours, while Twitter questions should be addressed in half an hour or less.

Pay attention to what you post (and where you’re posting)!

This doesn’t just mean carefully considering everything you post (read: whether it provides value to your target audience or if it’ll just contribute to the noise); it also means being aware of what you’re posting and, more importantly, which account you’re using.

When you’re using Facebook, Twitter, or pretty much any other form of social media for your brand, it sometimes becomes easy to forget that you’re not on your personal profile. Thus, every so often we see a brand making the unfortunate (and at times, rather hilarious) faux pas of posting opinions not related to the brand or status updates in a very personal or unprofessional tone.

Don’t spam your followers.

Unless it’s very important, limit your posting as you see fit on every social media platform. Take a look at your analytics or insights to find out what is the best amount of time to post. Split test it to find your sweet spot.

Oh, and please remember to make write different copy for each social media platform — I know it’s really tempting to just post exactly the same update on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ at the same time, but think about how your audience would perceive you.

They’re likely to unfollow your other accounts, thinking that all you offer is the same thing across all platforms.

Keep the content coming.

If you’re active on social media, your brand will definitely be heard. You wouldn’t want to just be heard, though — what you should really aim for is to be listened to, and without good content, you won’t be able to establish that you’re an expert worth listening to. That’s why you have to keep creating and sharing content that is relevant, concise, and timely.

Share knowledge or spark interest in a particular subject or field you’re focusing on; basically, make sure that everything you create and share provides value to your audience. Lastly, pay attention to your most popular content, so that you can better understand what made it click with your followers.

Stay abreast of what’s going on.

Stay up-to-date about the latest industry trends by monitoring news sites and posting timely updates that would interest your audience.

Keep your strategy fresh and exciting.

Hold contests, giveaways, or polls to keep things interesting and your audience engaged. Keep your questions smart (or intriguing) to really get people to answer.

Adopt a “carrot and stick” approach. 

Come up with all sorts of useful or interesting offers — eBooks, whitepapers, case studies, and the like — but make sure to include a strong call-to-action with a signup form that asks for the potential customer’s name and contact information.

Regardless of whether you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn, social media platforms have indeed become invaluable tools in marketing. With the right guidance and a solid plan, your brand can maximize the potential of the social media world in attracting customers, increasing conversions, and introducing your brand to a global audience.