The 3 social media ideas putting life back into lead generation

In the heady world of social media influence, lead generation is a cut-throat business. With content being created at an ever-increasing pace, the challenge for inbound marketers is now not only making an impact but finding new and creative ways to get out of the outbox, past ad-blockers, around delete keys and 'bang', right in front of people ready to be viewed. And the following 3 social media ideas have risen to the challenge, using rich immersive video, social media influencers and live video streaming, to offer a new type of customer engagement that will transform lead nurturing as we know it.


1. The power of immersive video 



While the simplicity of a tweet can pack a good punch, linking through to an immersive video experience that provides startling realism and interactivity can dig deeper into the senses and capture not only the attention, but also the imagination of your followers.

And to be enamoured is quite something. It’s a far deeper emotion than simply being liked. The ability to conjure up emotions, beyond a guffaw, casting people into an environment that can build a unique experience that feels as intense as an old memory, is what immersive video is aiming for. 

It's the next best thing to seeing a product in the flesh; where you can browse and try on clothes, drive a new car, check out a hotel with 3D views. Brands are inviting you in, asking you to be a part of the narrative and are taking you on a journey into a world where you become a central character – and if the old Zynga game Farmville has taught us anything, there’s nothing like feeding your alter-ego in an alter-alter world.

And companies are now using it to their advantage, such as Häagen-Dazs and its concerto timer, which invited customers to view and listen to a virtual classical concert through an augmented reality app, while their ice cream softened. 

Or Mercedes-Benz USA, who took viewers to the mountains of Colorado in a Mercedes-Benz 2017 GLS with Instagram star Loki the Wolfdog (yes a real husky), mixing immersive video with social influencer techniques.

With Facebook and Google adding 360 degree video capabilities and VR content to its offerings, and with the rise of robotics and virtual reality headsets, such as the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, immersive video is coming into its own.

Light and airy, yet packed densely with ideas, sound and motion, it can move through social platforms at lightening speed. Rather than a spray of words, it’s a pointy missile with a shark-face grin waiting to explode with the click of a link. 

And the good thing about striking now is that it’s into a highly-fragmented marketplace, a wild west with many unchartered industries still to be explored, where businesses have huge potential to carve out their own niches using VR and augmented reality.

2. The sway of social media influencers

Social media influencers are much more than #hashtag bobble heads well versed in the art of over-sharing. The reality is they have become a huge influence in driving awareness, traffic, visibility and leads to online campaigns.

And the top social media influencers aren’t simply mavericks in what they do, they are keen promoters, mentors and educators that work hard in the mediums that inspire them. And they’re good at what they do, shaping socal media ideas and delivering a great ROI for their influence.

"On average, businesses generate $6.50 in revenue for each $1 invested in influencer marketing."

And it’s because of this, the real measurable benefits they can deliver, that has changed the way they now being used.

As reported by Huffington Post, “Consumers engage with 11.4 pieces of content prior to making a purchase, making user generated content even more powerful than before. Curated content is also more engaging. Posts with curated content links generate 33% more clicks than original content links.”

Top social media influencers have the ability to reach out and engage with consumers, from Twitter to Snapchat, Instagram and the list goes on, building a network of followers, friends and contacts, where sharing content is king

Master builders in the social media trade, they understand relevant messaging and can leapfrog brands from ice-age social learning to full-blown social connectivity that reaps instant rewards. 

Bringing huge user-bases they can also engage across a myriad of social channels and command followers, subscribers, likes and shares that translate into sales.

To them, head count is a huge priority, and they are constantly learning new tactics to target and engage in a strategic way – learning so you don’t have to – and fostering a win-win scenario, as everybody likes more views. 

Just remember, they will also speak their minds. So if you're going to use them you need to be prepared to let them show their scars, express their views and target followers in their own unconventional ways. 


3. The intimacy of live streaming apps

The rise of live video streaming apps from Periscope to Meerkat and Snapchat has lead to a new thirst for unedited, real time content for social media to lend validity to marketing campaigns. Twitter is on to this as well with Twitter Moments delivering up-to-date stories to feed our thirst for 24/7 news.

Live content lends validity to a message and context to a brand. It’s the warts-and-all view of your small corner of the world, letting followers into a private moment and showing that a brand is human too. Being infallible is impenetrable, while being real shows a real trust in others that gets you closer to your fans.

While there is a work-around to live streaming, where things appear live but in reality are pre-staged, the most powerful impact is when they are live and open to the elements. This delivers a more realistic view of a brand and breeds a sense of intimacy, trust and relationship.

Red Bull is one of the first to get in the game of live streaming, using Periscope to market it’s brand and build customer loyalty. In one live stream example, it broadcast an entire weekend event called the Red Bull Guest House on Miami Beach, inviting anyone to come, view and join the party. A what a huge slot of unpaid of advertising is this! 

On the rise and catching on, what live streaming means to lead nurturing is a greater need for immediacy, being present and less reliance on social-media scheduling. A potential burden on resources, the impact of sharing in real-time, however, is undeniable. The intimacy and sense of trust and relationship it breeds has huge potential to engage for longer, in a cheaper way, and yet earn loyal customers for life.


And lastly, animate off the page

And let’s not forget cinemagraphs, animated gifs and Vines, using visual content to jump out and engage you. These bite-sized video snacks are highly shareable and quickly becoming a new obsession on social media. 

Cinemagraphs help brands break away from static content. A hybrid of image and video, they make small adjustments to image details to give a sense of life and movement. And their impact with engagement is significant, getting “60% engagement more than static images”

Animated gifs have an even larger impact and they’re, pardon the pun, the gif that keeps on giving. With countless sites dedicated to the best gifs ever, they continue to amuse, be shared and have a long shelf life. And then the charm of 6-second video-sharing platform Vine is also on the rise, with many “top brands collaborating with popular Viners in order to market to their vast audiences.” 

While all of these are not strictly commercial, they provide a perfect platform for advertising. Social platforms that grow organically through visual and social engagement have an acute way of breaking the ice and penetrating an overloaded sensory world. And with this, provide a great opportunity for content marketers to grasp and generate leads into something new and quite beautiful.