Acquiring fresh and relevant leads can sometimes be the most challenging part of marketing your business.

The good news is that social media is an incredibly valuable lead generation channel, if you use it correctly. With 4.89 billion people using social media worldwide in 2023, it’s the perfect channel for businesses to reach and attract leads. It’s only a matter of using the right tactics at the right time.

In this post, you’ll learn all about social media lead generation, why you need it and our favorite tactics for generating sales leads through social media. We’ve also included some real-life examples to inspire your next campaign.

Let’s dive in.

What is social media lead generation?

Social media lead generation is the process of collecting new leads using social media. A lead is any information identifying someone interested in your products or services. This information can be anything from their name and email address to their occupation and employer details.

Why you need social media lead generation

It doesn’t matter what you’re selling or who you’re trying to reach. B2C and B2B social media marketers benefit from social media lead generation strategies. Here are five reasons why it’s essential for both types of businesses.

  • Expand your reach and boost audience engagement. With billions of active users, social media offers access to a broad and diverse audience. The power to reach such a large pool of potential customers raises brand awareness, drives website traffic, improves social media engagement and draws more eyeballs to your brand.
  • Target your ideal customers. Did you know that nine out of 10 consumers will buy from brands they follow on social? Identify your ideal customers and target them with relevant content and offers to convert them into paying customers with social media’s sophisticated targeting options.
  • Optimize your marketing spend. Thanks to its scalability, social media is much cheaper than other advertising types. Set budgets, monitor performance and adjust campaigns in real-time to get the most value from your social media marketing spend.
  • Access in-depth audience data and analytics. Social media platforms provide extensive data and analytics tools for tracking lead generation efforts. Gain insights into user behavior and measure ROI to refine your strategies.
  • Nurture your leads. According to The Sprout Social Index™ 2023, staying informed about new products and services is the top reason consumers follow brands on social. Nurture your leads by sharing memorable content, answering questions and building relationships with your followers. This approach turns your audience from passive followers into loyal customers.

How to generate leads from social media

Now that you know the benefits of using social media to generate leads, how do you go about it? Authentic, engaging content that establishes your brand ethos and personality will capture potential customers’ attention and grow your platform. Then, following up with more sales-focused content will convert them into customers.

However, relying on organic tactics alone may not be enough to reach a wider audience. Incorporate paid tactics, like social media ads, to target specific groups of people and get more visibility.

The following ten tactics will help you reach the right people at the right time with the right content and messaging to capture their interest and generate high-quality social media leads for your organization.

1. Launch compelling lead magnet offers

The right incentive compels people to share their information with you. Still, you’ll need to create enticing lead magnet offers that people want. These could be anything from a research report to a free tool. You could also offer discount codes, case studies, webinars, whitepapers and more.

AWS Training and Certification advertising a free ebook on LinkedIn is a perfect example.

A screenshot of a LinkedIn ad from AWS Training & Certification promoting a free eBook. The ad copy reads: “Are you confident in your cloud infrastructure? Build your team’s technical knowledge and skills to design and implement AWS solutions. The ad image text reads: “Training and Certification. Make the right cloud infrastructure decisions. Download eBook. Comprehensive infrastructure training for your team.”

2. Create targeted ads with special offers

A paid social media advertising strategy is highly effective for generating leads due to the precise targeting options and potential reach. These features allow you to personalize offers and expand your audience beyond that of your current social media followers.

According to our latest Index, 46% of consumers follow brands on social to get exclusive deals or promotions. Promote special discounts and limited-time offers for your products and services through these ads to drive engagement and conversions.

For instance, Motion used Instagram ads to generate demand with a free trial offer. When someone clicks on their social media ad, it leads to a landing page to sign up for a seven-day free trial. It’s an enticing deal that makes the ad’s audience more likely to try out the platform.

A screenshot of a Meta ad from Motion. The ad image features a product image of Motion. The image text reads: “This AI personal assistant saves me 2 hours of work each day.” The text below the image reads: “There’s a new way to get 25% more done.”

Ruggable also employs the same tactic. They use social media ads to highlight specific products and promote a 15% discount.

A screenshot of a Meta ad from Ruggable. The ad image is a picture of an office with a white chair, desk, ladder shelf with plants, and a brown and white dog sitting on a distressed blue and brown rug. The ad text reads: “Perfectly distressed, amazingly washable! Take 15% off our Persian-inspired, Kamran Coral rug.”

3. Make the most of lead generation ads

Take your social media advertising one step further with lead-gen ads. These ads allow you to gather leads on a social platform rather than pushing customers to a landing page. They come with pre-populated forms, making it easy for leads to sign up without spending too much time entering their personal information.

This speeds up the lead generation process, significantly boosting your conversion rate. For example, LinkedIn Lead Generation Forms have a 13% average conversion rate, while landing pages average about 2.35% conversions.

The form fields are pre-filled using details that the prospect has already included on their LinkedIn profile, making it frictionless for your lead to access your content and for you to collect their information. Facebook and Instagram also offer lead generation ads.

4. Set up sequential retargeting ads

Retargeting ads are the most used among marketers, with 77% of B2B and B2C marketers saying they use retargeting as part of their Facebook and Instagram advertising strategies.

Retargeting amplifies your social advertising and lead generation strategy by re-engaging lost prospects. Say someone clicked on your first ad and scrolled through the landing page but never submitted a form. This is your cue to retarget them with ads, encouraging them to finish the signup process.

Consider also retargeting people who’ve landed on your website through search or other referral sites. Or people who regularly read your blog posts but haven’t subscribed to your newsletter.

Try setting up your retargeting ads sequentially to get even better results. For instance, use an awareness-stage ad to address common pain points and objections or a consideration-stage ad with testimonials to give social proof and win people’s trust. Keep the customer journey moving forward by serving up the most relevant messaging depending on your target audience’s past behavior.

Casper uses retargeting ads to re-engage their previous viewers to buy their products. These dynamic product ads are customized based on the user’s activity on their website and their preferences and include social proof (e.g., “2,000,000+ happy sleepers”) to boost trust.

A Facebook ad image includes a picture of a mattress on a background of a closeup of the mattress pattern. The ad image text reads: “Wave Hybrid Mattress. Shop our most supportive mattress. 100-night trial." The copy underneath the image reads: “Join over 2,000,000+ happy sleepers.”

5. Share testimonials as social proof

Customer stories, reviews and testimonials give you the social proof you need to acquire new leads. Showcase how clients benefit from your products and services to demonstrate your brand value. According to Bizrate Insights, 91% of survey respondents read at least one review before purchasing a product or service.

Kajabi often shares engaging testimonials of how people have used the platform to launch thriving businesses. In the video post below, business coach Jessica Hawks shares how she created a seven-figure digital product company with Kajabi.

A screenshot of an X post from Kajabi. The post text reads: “How @itsjessicahawks went from dropping out of nursing school to making 7 figures online with Kajabi. 🔥#kajabi #vidcon.” The post image is a video still of Jessica Hawks, a woman wearing a black dress and boots, standing in front of a large colorful backdrop that reads “Own Your Destiny.”

Beauty brand Live Tinted also regularly shares customer video reviews on its Instagram channel to highlight the effectiveness of its products.

6. Leverage influencer partnerships

Consider working with reputable content creators who are popular with your target audience to promote your brand, product or service. Partnering with influencers attracts leads from the social media content your target audience is already consuming. This type of content helps you expand your reach and drive engagement by partnering with someone your audience trusts.

For example, Home Depot partnered with DIY influencer Nickell Morgan of @simplyhandmade for an Instagram video where she created lawn games with the brand’s products.

Content creators and influencers also provide a form of social proof. They connect your sponsored message seamlessly into their content, helping it reach audiences who might otherwise actively click away from an ad.

7. Host a virtual event or social media conference

Virtual conferences and events are a great way to attract a highly relevant audience while establishing your expertise and authority in the field. They’re also great for generating leads on social media since people must provide their info to sign up or join the conference.

Host a virtual conference on topics that intrigue your target audience and relate to your brand’s expertise. Use the event to discuss trending industry topics, provide actionable tips and invite influential speakers. Plus, generate plenty of content by posting on social media while the event is live or repurposing content into lead magnets later.

For instance, Superside regularly hosts Gather & Grow, a live educational webinar series featuring leading digital marketing and advertising experts.

Screenshot of Superside's webinar series called Gather & Grow where they host invite brand leaders and host discussions on various marketing topics such as advertising, content, videos and more

8. Launch a referral campaign

Referral campaigns are highly effective in doubling your sales leads. These campaigns incentivize your leads to refer their friends or colleagues. The referred people will learn about your products or services and potentially become additional leads.

To make this work, provide an attractive incentive such as a gift card or a discount in exchange for the referral.

For example, vacation rental brand Getaway has a referral program where customers give and get $25 off their next booking when they refer a friend. The company has an Instagram Highlight for its referral program, so users always have access to the content.

A screenshot of an Instagram Highlight post. The image features white text on a red background with an illustration of hiking boots in the top right corner. The image text reads: “Referral Program. Our Referral Program allows you to give your friend the escape to nature they need and get $25 toward your next Getaway. When you refer a friend, they’ll get $25 off their Getaway, and when they book, you’ll get your $25 too. Swipe up to refer a friend.”

9. Make the most of social listening

Look for lead generation opportunities with effective social listening. Monitor social media conversations and see what people say about a topic or competitor brand. This will help you identify any opportunities to generate high-quality leads for your business.

For instance, someone complaining about a competitor’s product might appreciate an alternative. And someone asking for recommendations would love to hear your suggestion. On top of this, people asking about your brand and products will appreciate your proactive approach when you step in to address their concerns.

See how the Sprout Social team stepped in when someone on X asked if the company has an affiliate program.

A screenshot of an X interaction between an X user and the Sprout Social X account. The user is inquiring if Sprout Social has an affiliate program, and Sprout Social responded with a link to the Sprout Social Partnership Program page.

10. Use advocacy to let your team spread the word

Each of your employees has a social network. Now, imagine the impact tapping into those audiences could have on your growth efforts. This is the power of employee advocacy. According to The Sprout Social Index, more than 1,000 marketers reported that employee advocacy helped them drive more qualified leads.

Employee Advocacy by Sprout Social simplifies the process by enabling employees to quickly share company posts, customize their feeds to show topics relevant to their roles and suggest content for others to share.

Vizient, the US’s largest healthcare performance improvement organization, created an advocacy resource hub with Sprout. It contains product demos, instructional videos and on-demand webinars, making it easy for Vizient employees to become social media brand advocates.

A screenshot of a post shared by Vizient’s Chief Culture DEI officer from their employee advocacy library.

What to do with your new social leads

Social media is more than just a way to collect leads. It’s also a valuable tool for effectively nurturing and converting those leads into customers. That’s why a social customer relationship management (CRM) tool like Sprout Social is essential.

A screenshot of the Sprout Social desktop app. A contact profile is open, displaying interactions between a brand and a Facebook user named Minnie Watkins. The Add Note window is open on the contact profile.

Sprout helps you manage leads and build meaningful relationships with prospects. It tracks all your interactions so your team can respond quickly and with personalized content. Our integration with Salesforce also ensures your sales and marketing teams are always in sync at every step of the journey for more effective audience engagement and faster growth.

Crushing your lead gen goals

Social media is a lead generation powerhouse because it allows you to reach and engage with broad and niche audiences. Just remember that social media is supposed to be social.

Leverage the tactics we’ve outlined above to build a strong relationship with your audience. Focus on providing valuable and informative content that addresses your audience’s needs and interests. You’ll attract leads genuinely interested in what you offer, fueling your overall business growth in the long run.

Lastly, don’t forget to measure the impact of your lead gen efforts and look for opportunities to improve. Read our social media reporting guide to learn more about how to keep track of your performance.