So you’ve invested a good amount of time (and therefore dollars) into a social media strategy. Whether it’s your in-house team managing the execution, or an agency, you might’ve reached a point where you’re questioning the ROI of all this effort. And you’re absolutely right to do so.

If you’re not getting leads (and ultimately customers) from your social channels, there’s not much of a point in keeping them active. The good news is, when it comes to internet marketing lead generation, social media can be a goldmine. You just might need some social media tips about how to use it to your advantage.

Here’s our take on how to generate leads from social media, so you can start seeing the returns you deserve.

1. Listen first, talk later.

Just like with any good relationship, social media conversations should be a two-way street. No one wants to be talked at, so it’s natural to have a give-and-take in any dialogue. Your part, at least initially, should be to do some listening.

You can use a paid tool to get sophisticated with this if you really want to, but there are some great free tools that are plenty sufficient to get the job done. We recommend Hootsuite, BuzzSumo, and SocialMention as good starting points.

Once you figure out how you’ll be “listening,” decide on the keywords you’re going to be tracking. Then use these tools to help you find people posting about them.

2. Consider paid vs. organic.

There’s a lot you can do with organic posts and conversations that take place on social channels without any sort of official advertising taking place. But if you’ve tried the organic route and it hasn’t proven all that worthwhile for you, it might be time to think about trying paid social ads.

Facebook is one way to get very targeted with social advertising, which can help you reach the exact people you’re hoping to. Direct those who click your ad to a landing page with a webform or some gated content, and you can end up with some very relevant, qualified leads.

3. Establish a solid give-to-promote ratio.

In the nonprofit world, there’s something called the thank-to-ask ratio, which is basically how many times you should thank a donor for their contributions before you ask them for more. It’s kind of an etiquette thing, but the concept also makes good business sense in for-profit businesses. On social media, think about what your give-to-promote ratio is. In other words, how much value are you giving your connections compared to how much you’re trying to promote your brand?

There’s no magic ratio to achieve, but it’s just something to be mindful about. If you find a qualified lead who’s asking on social media for some help figuring out a fitness problem, don’t just Tweet them back about giving your health club a try. Instead, have one of your trainers give a thoughtful response that solves their problem. That’s it; no strings attached.

Then, keep that person on your radar. Maybe a few days later they mention wanting to try a new fitness class, like kickboxing, but being scared to do so. This is a good opportunity to share a testimonial with them from someone at your gym who shared their concerns but ultimately had great success with kickboxing. Leave it at that. In a couple weeks, you can invite them to a free class or consultation, but the point is to give them something valuable several times before you promote your business to them.

4. Promote yourself.

But of course, promotion is an important part of getting leads on social media. It’s best to let your customers do the talking as much as possible, so you can share case studies, testimonials and positive social media comments on your own profiles.

Also, tease content that your audience might be interested in on your social channels, and then link it to your site where it’s gated, like a landing page. This encourages people to leave their information in exchange for access to the content. Or, don’t gate the content, but include a compelling call-to-action (perhaps a webform) at the end of the post that can help get you some leads’ information. You can also consider hosting a contest or giveaway, that offers the possibility of something valuable for those who share their information with you.

As you might’ve seen from these social media tips, the best internet marketing lead generation is done over time, with your audience’s best interests in mind. Contact us if you’d like to learn more, or would like some help with your digital and social media strategy.