Gini Dietrich

Using Social Media for Lead Generation

By: Gini Dietrich | June 7, 2010 | 

I just read an article by Lisa Barone in Small Business Trends titled, “How Does Social Media Aid Lead Generation?” The article lists five reasons it accomplishes exactly that, but what I like most about the article are the surveys she quotes.

“According to a May survey by virtual events provider Unisfair, 66 percent of respondents said lead generation is their greatest concern for 2010. The findings seem to match R2integrated’s April survey that found 61 percent of respondents were after lead generation, as well as HubSpot’s report that Twitter usage could double monthly leads for small businesses.”

Finally a business reason to use social media? Could it be it’s not a colossal waste of time? To hear me talk about using social media to grow your business is not new, so today I list five ideas for using social media for lead generation.

1. LinkedIn. Do you have a list of five to 10 companies you’d REALLY like to work with? If not, do that exercise right now. Just list three to five and do it in five minutes or less. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Great. Now go into LinkedIn and type in the first company name in the search bar. Make sure you click on “companies search” because it’s automatically set on “people search.” Click on the company name and scroll through current and recent employees. Is there anyone listed that is two or three separations from you? Likely there is more than one person. Click on a name and see who you know in common. Then call that person and ask if he/she wouldn’t mind introducing you to the person at your target company. It’s an automatic referral into the company you’re dying to work!

2. Twitter search. This is in Lisa’s article and I 150% agree with it, so I’m copying and pasting directly what she says. “Stop what you’re doing and go to Twitter Search. Click on the Advanced Search option (or just click that link) and create a saved search designed to pick up ‘sitting ducks’. For example, if you’re a local mechanic, you may want to set up a search for [brake job], [car inspection] or [oil change]. Set the distance for 25 miles from your place of business and then save the search. Now any time someone in your local area tweets about needing a brake job, a car inspection, or an oil change, you’ll be notified. And then you can reach out to that person. You can also create searches for you competitors and try to steal those conversions away.”

3. Read, read, read. My own Google Reader stares at me daily and I sometimes have to just hit the “mark all as read” button, but it’s true that the more you read, the more ideas you are able to capture that then fester into content, new products, new services, or campaigns. To make things easy for you, I bookmark tons of articles in Delicious and you can cheat off me. Go to the Arment Dietrich page and search the tags. You can find articles on social media policies, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Foursquare, and a myriad of other topics. Then, take the articles you think your prospects will find interesting and send them links. This shows you’re thinking about them and their business, without being self-serving.

4. Twitter Application. If you’ve heard me speak, you know the story of how I became a Hertz customer, after being in the Avis platinum club for nearly 15 years. Long story, short, I tweeted Avis when I needed a car reservation extended and their customer service wouldn’t help, but I never heard from them. Hertz, however, tweeted me and not only helped, but gave me discounts and put me in their Gold Club…for free. The question I always get is, “How did Hertz know how to find you?” Open TweetDeck (if you don’t already use it, download it now – it’s free) and click on the big gray + sign at the top (add column).  A box opens and the first in the list is “search.” If it’s not already checked, click on it and, in the white bar, type a competitor’s name, and hit “search.” Now a column pops up and anytime that competitor is mentioned on Twitter, your column is automatically populated. Hertz likely had a search for “Avis” or “WeTryHarder” and saw my request for help. You don’t have to be a big company to use this tool; I use it for competitors, for the industry, for my own name and company name, and for all of our clients.

5. Google Alerts. Do  I sound like a broken record yet? I know this is what I always say, but I’m always surprised when I speak and ask, “Who has Google alerts set up?” and only one or two people raise their hands. DO THIS NOW! This is not an option. It is the one thing everyone should have for their business, for their name, for key employees, for competitors, and for the industry.

Do you use social media for lead generation? Which tools would you add?

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • GREAT ideas Gini!

  • Great post, Gini. I’m always looking for new things to read, so I’m lovin’ the fact that you’re encouraging us to “cheat off” you on Delicious. Cheers!

  • Great article Gini. Just posted a link to the Linkedin group site for a professional organization of financial advisors of which I am a member an urged that they read this post. Great ideas!

  • Well said, Gini. Google Alerts are an awesome way of finding leads.

    TweetDeck “monitoring” is also very useful although I find it takes up a lot of space on my MacBookPro (15″). I tend to use Tweetie on the go and TweetDeck when I’m in front of my iMac.

    It’s also worth mentioning that email approaches are doomed to failure unless you already have an established relationship with the prospect. And then I wouldn’t rate your chances.

    It’s better to make a connection or offer to help via social media.

  • Gini:

    Great tips! I use that first tip about LinkedIn a lot. In fact I had a new business meeting yesterday that I generated that way! Also, you don’t need to use tweetdeck to have saved searches. If you go to and enter you keywords you can follow your results in an RSS feed. So run your searches, then pop them into your RSS reader and you’ve got a saved search.

    Just a thought.


  • Great post as always!

    I love the Linkedin tip to search for companies!
    I hear so many people complaining about linkedin that it is refreshing to see someone who believes in it. I generate leads using linked in and think most people need to simply focus more efforts on using it correctly.

  • Great advice. I use Twitter and Facebook for individuals and LinkedIn for companies. I almost always have a freebie report to give away with a strong call to action with it. That really helps, too.

  • Great ideas. I have a huge follow list in Google Reader; it’s a reasonably efficient way to follow a lot of people. In doing so I’ve really come to realize that it’s a good idea to pay attention to how your blog posts show in an aggregator. Making it easier for ADD readers to get more information on you and what you’re offering makes your net presence more productive. Chopped up posts, lack of links diminish the impact of your hard work.

  • Gini:

    Let me know if you would like a copy of the raw data from the R2integrated survey. We have additional findings you may like.


  • Great post Gini,

    Lots of extremely useful tips. I’m a relative newbie to LinkedIn but am already reaping the benefits. The whole Social Media ethos of giving rather than taking has had a most positive effect on all aspects of my life.

    I’ve only just come across Delicious for the first time today – very much looking forward to getting to grips with this fabulous bookmarking tool

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  • This is a great post Gini. I marvel at how few people I find use google alerts. When I was at the law firm, I set up many and trained attorneys to set it up for prospects, industry trends and their own brand and area of expertise. Oh, also for competitive research. Great ideas!

  • Tom Ellis

    I like the Twitter Search you mentioned but I can’t figure out how to create a saved search. Can you advise?

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