Marketing ideas are floating everywhere. Tips and tricks of social media lead generation are plenty across the web. There are also some great articles  on it with a handful number of resources  to motivate you to do a better job. However, that’s definitely not enough for a marketer when it comes to ensuring the maximum yield at minimum effort.
A lead generation campaign through social media includes both creative as well as stereotype activities. Both of them stand equal in terms of importance, effort, and returns. Unless you automate lead generation mechanism  and save time, you cannot really focus on applying lead acquisition strategies.
Unfortunately, many marketers’ day end at manually submitting the posts in SM channels, giving feedbacks, collecting analytical data from the SM tools, and preparing graphical charts for analysis and reporting. For them, devising new post creation strategies, analyzing engagement models and taking corrective decisions are more important than spending hours on mundane tasks.
A social media automation tool ensures that …
- Your social account get fresh content consistently.
- You have better control over lead generation strategies.
- You save critical hours by auto scheduling certain manual and error-prone tasks.
The fact is that not every marketer is exposed to the power of tool based automation because of awareness problem. Social media automation tools can really make a difference in how you want to optimize your marketing dimensions and efforts. Given a choice, every marketer would happily give up certain social media jobs that a machine is better at and invest quality time in producing better feeds and analyzing their responses.
In this article, we will take a look at the time-saving social media lead generation activities  that can easily be performed with a tool. We will also learn how automating the social fact-finding jobs through tools helps in filling sales funnel. Twitter and LinkedIn, being the most popular B2B social channels have been considered for describing the automation scenarios in this article.
Multiple SM Accounts Management
Managing Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Slideshare, Google, and other major social channels have got easier with centralized access from social media automation tools like Hootsuite, Social Oomph. You have single sign-on facility to set up, run and manage all the basic SM operations like writing new posts, giving a reply, comments, sharing others’ posts that you usually do from separate accounts. This saves time and presents you a comprehensive platform for better accounts management.
Let us take an example of how Hootsuite enables your team to automate the entire campaign management plan and activities. You just need to log into Hootsuite tool and allow one-time access to your FB, Twitter, or LinkedIn account. The system automatically invokes all the information from your social accounts such as friends, followers, likes and allows you to do everything you used to do through separate logins. You can view social analytics using custom dashboards and generate PDF reports for management’s visibility.
Social Prospects Identification, Qualifying, and Building
The process is like finding a needle in a haystack. You cannot manually filter thousands of Facebook friends or Twitter followers based on their interest level and then categorize them for further engagement. It is a hefty job and involve continuous monitoring on a daily basis. Using social media automation tools like Socedo , Sprout Social  you can set custom criteria for qualifying social prospects and start interacting with them for follow-up actions.
Let us take an example of how Socedo automates the lead identification and filtration process. As a marketer, you may want to discover relevant Twitter prospects based on some business criteria and start engaging with them for conversation or conversion. The tool analyzes Twitter prospects based on their profile summary and daily activities and presents you with a filtered list of target audience based on your chosen profile category such as IT Professionals, Software Engineers, Entrepreneurs, etc. You may further narrow down the prospect list by adding more search criteria like conversational keywords in tweets or bio keywords in twitter description.
Continuous Prospect Engagement
Once the social prospects are identified easily, the next step is to nurture them with regular feeds and build an intelligent auto-response mechanism. A tool can create a customizable workflow of standard operations that you want to run for an approved prospect. The process is simple. You help the tool know your selected list of Twitter prospects on an incremental basis and the tool will do the routine jobs on behalf of you.
For example, with Socedo, once you get started, the system automates certain obvious operations such as favoring tweets automatically, following them up after a certain interval or sending direct messages for the follow backs. You may also want to set up a goal for this entire activity. For example, you want them to visit your website landing page or start interacting with yours sales executives.
Fig: Lead identification to Engagement Cycle
Thus, what you get is a pool of relevant and qualified Twitter prospects in your sales pipeline based on your own search criteria, that too at almost no effort. Such tool acts as a completely automated and intelligent lead generation machine saving a considerable amount of man hours.
Monitoring Prospect Activity and Conversions
Generating social lead performance report is the stepping stone to get connected with top people in your industry. You not only need to find new prospects but also view prospect engagement report real-time. With the advanced functionalities of an automation tool, you can add critical business insights to custom prospect generation criteria and your engagement with social leads.
For example, Quintly  — a social media analytics tool allows you to track, benchmark and optimize social media performance with time.
Using Socedo, you can track how many of your discovered Twitter or LinkedIn prospects have been acted on and how many have been missed due to no action. You can also find how many prospects you acted on have been approved by you for the further level of interactions, or have been declined due to some predefined reasons. Other useful counts like Twitter follow backs, direct messages, link clicks along with charts for audience growth are also readily available on a daily/weekly/monthly basis with social media automation tools.
The best part of using such tools is that you can build lifetime prospect criteria reports that show:
- What are the different types of keywords you selected for filtering prospects such as conversational keywords, bio keywords or location based keywords based on your business priorities?
- How many of the prospects do match to those targeted keywords?
- How many prospects have been approved and responded to?
- How many Twitter prospects have followed back you or added you to their LinkedIn connections?
Such comprehensive analysis of social leads gives you a clear indication of what made you get more Twitter follow backs, LinkedIn connections, and link click-through and how you can improve the results. You will be surprised to know that such lead nurturing process have better response rate and higher click-through rate (CTR) than any standard email campaign.
Once you start getting benefits from an automated social lead generation tool , the next step is to convert the saved man-hours into monetary values and then compare the number of conversions before and after adopting the tool. This will give you the actual ROI of your investment in social automation tool.
If you have used any social media automation tools different from the above and have been able to maximize ROI, please mention them below in the comments section. Our readers may find them useful.
Automation Concept  Photo via Shutterstock, Other images: HootSuite, Social Oomph, Socedo, Quintly