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How to use Social Media for Lead Generation

Using social media for generating leads can be frustrating at times, but if you focus your energies around certain channels, experiment, and use your strengths to your advantage, it can turn into an evergreen source of high quality leads for your business.
How to use Social Media for Lead Generation
Usman Khalil
Published On
June 8, 2021

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More than 50% of marketers say they use their social media budget for lead generation. Which is to say that their main goal is to find new leads in order to convert them into paying customers.

With a vast segmented population based on age, gender, interests, social media has become one of the best platforms to be looking for new customers. Though if you’re willing to invest the time, it would be beneficial to first learn how to establish yourself as a brand on social media. It is easier to get new customers if your brand is already present in the minds of your target audience.

To get started with generating leads,

A) your first step should be figuring out who your target audience is. Are there different segments that you want to be targeting? The better defined your target audience is, the better your results will be potentially.

B) Figuring out what counts as a lead for you should be your next step. This depends on (i) what industry you’re part of, and (ii) what you want to accomplish eventually.

Once you've defined those two things, you can start implementing strategies and keep optimizing them for lead generation. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Providing value

Social media has changed. People are more wary of ads, carry more hatred towards spam and platforms discourage clickbaity headlines. But businesses still need to thrive, and they do it by providing some value to their target audience upfront.

An earnest attempt at educating your audience works towards selling your product by not selling your product. Seems illogical? Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. They’re browsing social media to be entertained, to stumble upon something useful or valuable to them. A blatant attempt at selling them something might not always be the right approach (unless of course you’re selling delicious looking burgers).

This can take the form of expert advice imparted through blogs, short videos, or posts on your channel about industry tips & tricks. Your audience might then come back to your social channels or your website to access more such content, and might just check out your product! Win-win.

Within Willow’s platform too you can find expert content that is relevant to your business and the interests of your target audience, so that it provides them the value they’re looking for and it helps fill up your content calendar without hassle.

Get a free demo of Willow to start creating value for your target audience.

Gated content

Gated content is as it sounds. There’s some valuable content that you’re offering to your target audience, but to be able to access it, they must provide their email address or contact details. Gated content can take various forms; you could be offering a short course, conducting a webinar on an interesting topic, or giving away an e-book for free.

The essence of creating successful gated content is to make it just as valuable, and to be able to show how valuable it is to your target audience. The more tangible its benefits are, the easier it is for your target audience to leave their contact details to get promotional content from you.

For example, at Willow we offer Handbook for Social Media which helps businesses win on social media with their business objectives in focus.

One of the reasons gated content tends to be good at creating quality leads is that you can already predict what kind of people would be interested in your webinar/e-book/course. Basing your content around a specific topic definitely helps create a more focused list of leads.  

Pinned tweet/pinned post

This practice works better for accounts that post often on social media, and have a growing following. Since it’s dependent on people visiting your business page on social media, it’s success is based on how often people do that.

There are two phases to making this strategy work. Considering it doesn’t cost a penny, it’s always worth doing. 

On Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, you can ‘pin’ a post, any post, to the top of your profile by accessing the dropdown menu from the top-right of the post/tweet (as shown below)

Every time someone visits your profile, the pinned post becomes the first post they see. So it is important (i) that people are visiting your profile (ii) the pinned post invites them to click on it. 

Getting people to visit your profile has to do with building your brand, taking part in relevant discussions online. You can read our comprehensive guide on building your brand here.

Even if you’re not a big brand, getting people to visit your profile has to do with being visual, being relevant, and being present on your target audience’s newsfeed at the right times.

The pinned post follows similar rules. It is visually appealing, is relevant, valuable, and has a clear ask for example asking people to sign up. 

We use pinned posts to highlight our achievements as shown below, which can help create credibility.


Other brands which use it to generate leads may leave a link to a sign-up page or a lead generation form. You can even link it to your gated content so there’s a clear path that people can follow; land on your profile > click on the link in your pinned post > leave their email to get access to your gated content.

LinkedIn Pulse 

LinkedIn is one of the best platforms for lead generation for B2B businesses, and there’s a lot you can do to take advantage of that. We talked about that in further detail in a previous post here

However, for lead generation one of the best tools LinkedIn offers is their native content creation platform LinkedIn Pulse. For some reason LinkedIn hasn’t made this feature very accessible on their website. But you can access it from the top of LinkedIn homepage with the “Write an article on LinkedIn” button as shown below.


LinkedIn doesn’t allow business pages to write articles. You can only write an article as a person on LinkedIn. There’s definitely some merit in that. It makes sure the content can be traced to its creator, which creates trust. 

Once the article has been published, you can post the link through your LinkedIn business or personal pages.

For lead generation, brand managers use this tool to write a shorter article and then lead the prospects to read a fuller version on their website. This can be effective but might not be a good strategy in the long run as it might decrease trust in your brand.

You might also be tempted to copy paste blogs from your website to this platform, which might not be ideal since it will compete with your website for the same keywords on Google Search. 

So ideally you should develop separate content for LinkedIn Pulse so it can function as a separate source of leads. Since people who read your articles on LinkedIn Pulse would most probably be checking out your profile on LinkedIn, your profile description should direct them to a sign-up page to capture those leads. The other path leads will follow is through links to your website within the article itself.


Discounts & sweepstakes will always attract people to participate. It is one of the easiest ways to get a lot of leads in a small amount of time. However one downside of running a contest might be that those might not be quality leads.

But that’s something the incentive can fix. If the prize is an iPhone, the entries you’ll get won’t really be interested in your product, and you’ll lose them as soon as the contest ends. Even if they leave you their email address, your product might be a difficult sell to them considering they were only really interested in the iPhone. 

However if the incentive instead was a discount coupon for your product, the leads generated will all be people who are interested in what your business is offering. If the leads are in the form of email addresses, you can contact them later knowing they’re warm leads. 

For the purposes of growing your pages, you can also make the contest entry dependent on liking/following your page too, but that’s a different discussion. You can find out several tips on how to grow your pages here.

Related: Willow helps you to create a vibrant social presence with a custom marketing plan and expert advice on lead generation, brand building, and employer branding. Check out our solution.

Live video

In some ways, a live video on social media can work in the opposite way that gated content does. When you go live on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, your followers get a notification about it so they can join. And during your live video, you can point them towards a landing page where they can sign-up.

As simple as this sounds, this can only work if your live video provides some value to your target audience. If you’re talking about something in the video, make sure it is interesting for your ideal customers. Here are some ideas for live videos:

  1. Discussion with an industry expert
  2. Taking live questions around a relevant topic
  3. Demonstrating some top tricks of the trade
  4. Showing how your SaaS works/features

A live video does not need to be a heavy production. Some of the most popular live videos and videos in general have produced some of the best results. If the idea is simple, and you want to do a Meet the Team live video, then a smartphone with Facebook/Instagram/Twitter is pretty much all you need. Prop your phone up on a tripod with audio/video stabilizers, and you’re good to go.

You can even choose to go live from your desktop. There are a few free software options that allow you to broadcast live video from your webcam such as OBS (Open Broadcast Software). If you want to be able to add guests to your chat a paid software like Wirecast helps add up to 2 remote guests in your livestream.

Social Media Ads

With the degree of audience segmentation available on social media, it’s always worth trying out advertising on there. Besides, business reach on social media is being reduced every other day by the algorithms in order to push them to pay for advertising their businesses.

If you don’t know how to target the right audiences on these channels, it can prove to be costly, but it’s still less expensive than advertising through traditional media. Compared to a CPM (Cost per miles) of $2.5 for social media channels on average, the CPM for other advertising media shows is generally higher as shown here:

social media CPM


On Facebook, you can target your audience based on their interests, age, gender, and location at the very least. Facebook shows you the estimated size of your target audience with every demographic specification you add.

The trick is to make sure your the size of audience is not too broad for your ad to miss the mark completely, and not too narrow that there aren’t enough people to show your ad to.


To push your ads to Instagram stories or feeds, you can simply go to Edit Placement within your Facebook Ad Manager and change it to Instagram stories/feed. You can find out more on running Instagram ads here


On Twitter around 63% users follow small businesses, which means people are engaging with such businesses on a daily basis, and there’s potential to target them with more focused objectives. Again, this depends completely upon what people you want to target. If your target audience isn’t even present on the platform, running ads on such a platform might be a waste of your money.

If you want to run ads to generate leads, you can choose Twitter Ads from within your platform, and then choose Website clicks or conversions. 

Like Facebook, you can target by interests, location, gender, as well as followers of somebody. 

The cost you’re billed is dependent on the amount you bid for an ad group, and how much people engage with your ad. You can find out how to set up your Twitter Ads in detail here.


LinkedIn Ads work the best for B2B businesses. Other than targeting based on the usual demographics, you can also target by education, language, job experience, and interests. So say you want to just be targeting lawyers who are also business owners and are interested in tech, you would be able to create an audience based on that with relative ease.

Once you’ve selected an audience, you can then choose from among text ads, single image ads, video ads, carousel ads, and inbox ads show to your audience. 

You can find a nice guide to creating a LinkedIn Campaign here from LinkedIn itself.

With paid ads, other than the audience that you’re targeting, the message and visual elements matter a lot. To create an effective ad campaign, you might need to play around with different variations of ad copies, captions, visual elements, and call-to-action buttons.

The same arrangement of these elements doesn’t work every industry, but it is important to make sure the value proposition is clear, it doesn’t come across as spammy, and the viewer knows what the ask is immediately. Remember, the most effective ads don’t look like ads.

Industry AMAs

A great way of generating leads through social media is by getting identified as a problem solver. It definitely gets you the attention that you need as a business. Industry AMAs have become a new weapon in a business’ arsenal to more than just eyeballs. 

AMA, or Ask Me Anything, is a popular tactic used by celebrities for their movie promotions, by industry experts to get known for being good at what they do, and in the meantime, generate some leads. Twitter & Reddit are some of the most used platforms for this purpose.

With a tweet or a post on Reddit, you announce that you are open to questions about a certain topic that you decide. It’s better to create a custom hashtag for it so people can use it to ask you a question, and you can later track all the questions within the AMA. 

What you’re effectively doing with an AMA is getting marketing qualified leads, and then getting an opportunity to direct them into your sales funnel based on their needs.


Slideshare is a very powerful tool to create reports and presentations around industry trends and insights. It’s another avenue for creating content that gets you more thought-leadership authenticity, and allows you to push viewers of your slide decks down the sales funnel. To convert them into leads, be sure to add a call to action at the end of the deck or in the slides.

You can sign up for Slideshare as a company here. Be sure to keep it focused around the niche topics that relate to your business in order to create more marketing qualified leads for you.

Using social media for generating leads can be frustrating at times, but if you focus your energies around certain channels, experiment, and use your strengths to your advantage, it can turn into an evergreen source of high quality leads for your business.

Ready to find expert content that is relevant to your business? Try Willow’s platform for free to provide your target audience the value they’re looking for and fill up your content calendar without hassle.