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The beginning of a new year means a renewed focus on building your customer base. One method that helps you reach both targets is social media. Here are four ways you can make 2018 the year you find leads on social media.

Create Engaging Content

Your content defines who your customers are and helps them build connections with others. Ensure you include short stories, photos and video clips that evoke emotion, create urgency and lead to longer-form content on your website. When your content is funny, inspiring or creates another psychological experience, individuals are more likely to care about your cause and share your posts. You’ll increase credibility and trust with your company, which can increase your customer base.

Gate Premium Content

Request the reader’s full name, email address, company name, phone number and other information you can use. Determine the demographics of your target audience and business objectives. Use data points from their engagement history, interviews, focus group studies and what people are saying on your social media to map out your customers’ purchasing journey. Match your content to each stage of that journey. Because different prospects will engage with various types of content at different stages, you want to gate content closer to the bottom of the purchasing journey. The prospect will already be engaged in your products/services and expressing interest in doing business with you. You’ll increase the value of your content, filter out readers who are simply looking and generate sales leads.

Promote Content

Encourage your employees to do the same. Ensure your posts include an engaging headline and image. Customize your content for each platform by altering your headline, image and description of the content you’re sharing. Your posts will be better optimized and more effective. Also, post when more people tend to be active on social media to increase your reach. Times may vary depending on the platform, so experiment to see what works best. Ask your audience questions and request feedback on your posts to encourage engagement and build relationships.

Create a Lead-Generation Campaign

Use Twitter chats to schedule frequent discussions with a specific hashtag so users can continue following the conversation as your topics change. Follow regular participants so you can establish a relationship, direct message them sharable links to content and encourage them to become customers. Join LinkedIn Groups to post content, ask and answer questions, and provide resources for other industry professionals. Determine which members typically are interacting, then privately reply to them to see if they want to discuss the topic further. Use Facebook ads to promote posts to a targeted audience and encourage long-term interactions.

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