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October 31, 2021

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21 MIN.

9 Effective Social Media Lead Generation Ideas

Lead generation is critical to running a successful business, but many businesses struggle in this area. There are some simple hacks that can really pay off!



9 Effective Social Media Lead Generation Ideas

Lead generation is critical to running a successful business, but many businesses struggle in this area. In fact, an independent study from found that 58% of business leaders say that the key challenge they face is lead generation. 

The study found that the main reason why businesses find it difficult to generate leads is that they depend on outdated sales and marketing efforts. 

Businesses need to find new and effective ways to market their brand to their target audience. One of these ways is through the use of social media. There are over 3.6 billion social media users worldwide. This makes it the perfect channel to advertise your brand and attract leads. 

So in this article, we will see some of the best social media lead generation ideas you can try out. 

Let's get started. 

What is social media lead generation?

In simple terms, a lead is someone interested in the products or services you offer. They express this interest by willingly sharing their contact information, like a phone number or email address. So social media lead generation is the process of capturing new and qualified leads via social media. 

Social media lead generation helps businesses identify individuals that can become potential customers. With this information, you can create special offers and relevant content that will convert these potential customers into paying customers. 

How to generate leads on social media

Before you start implementing lead generation tactics, you need to have a plan of action. This will ensure that the tactics you use are effective. To get started, ask the following questions:

  • Who are your target audience and what social media platform are they most active on?
  • How does your audience use these platforms?
  • What platform(s) is the best fit for the type of products or services you offer?

Answering these questions will help you identify the platforms you need to put the most effort into. Depending on your type of business, one social media platform might offer significant ROI than others. 

For instance, if your business offers services to other CEOs and startup owners, the best platform to generate leads will be LinkedIn. LinkedIn is full of individuals who are looking for new ways to grow their businesses. Prospects on LinkedIn will be more receptive to your content and special offers. 

On the other hand, if you are a fashion store or a beauty brand, you will generate more leads on a social media platform like Instagram. Visual content like photos and videos work well there. Stats even show that fashion and beauty are some of the most profitable niches on Instagram. 

Now, let's see the best lead generation ideas you can implement in your social media marketing strategy. 

1. Optimize your social media profile

When potential customers want to contact you, one of the first places they will check is your profile. You need to optimize your profile to collect leads with ease. 

Optimizing a social media profile is easy and will only take a few minutes. Here are a few recommendations you can try out:

Add your contact information

Include your contact information in your profile. This can be a phone number or an email address. Ensure that you have customer service reps manning the phone lines and responding to emails at all times. Failing to answer calls or respond to emails may lose you potential leads. 

Add a link to your bio

You can use a link in your bio to direct users to your website or a landing page. Most social media platforms will allow you to add a clickable link in your bio. Depending on the type of conversions you are looking for, the link can direct users to a blog post or a product page. In the example above, Ludi Leiva directs users to her online shop where she sells her artwork. 

Include a call-to-action button

A call-to-action button will help guide leads towards your conversion goal. So if your goal is to make more sales, you can add a CTA button labeled “View Shop”. Do you want to increase newsletter subscriptions? Use “Sign Up”. If you have an event coming up, you can use “Get Tickets”.

Van Leeuwen ice cream shop uses “Order Food” as one of their call-to-action buttons on Instagram.

2. Promote attractive lead magnet offers

A lead magnet is an incentive that motivates users to give you their contact information. You can offer an attractive incentive to the user, and in exchange, they give you their contact info (name, phone number, or email address).

For this strategy to work, you need to create lead magnet offers that your target audience will find valuable.  

A lead magnet offer comes in many forms. It can be discount codes, free tools, whitepapers, webinars, case studies, and more. Here are some ways you can promote a lead magnet on social media:

Pin it to the top of your Twitter or Facebook page

You can add a pinned post to the top of your Twitter or Facebook page. When a lead wants to learn more about you, they will check out your bio and most recent updates. By adding your lead magnet to the top of your page, you give the lead magnet premium placement. 

In the example below, Holly Hanna offers her audience enough reasons to sign up for her newsletter; regular updates on remote job leads and a free e-book on how to make money blogging. 

Take advantage of the cover photos area

Before a prospect reads your bio, they will first notice your cover photo. And since the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, promoting your lead magnet in the cover photo can be very effective. 

In the graphic for the cover photo, include a description that directs people to your bio where the link for the lead magnet offer is.

Promote with Instagram Stories

Stories is the most popular feature on Instagram. There are over 500 million active users daily worldwide. Businesses can use Instagram Stories to promote their lead magnet. With the swipe up feature in Stories, you can redirect the user to a dedicated landing page or lead form. Here’s an example from Beautycon.

Create social media content using the lead magnet

Create social media posts that will capture the audience's attention then include a link to your lead magnet. You can use quotes or stats to raise interest around your lead magnet offer. 

CoinGate promoting its digital payments solution on LinkedIn is a great example. 

In the post, you see that they offer multiple lead magnet incentives like no monthly registration fees and only a 1% processing fee. Leads that find CoinGate’s offer attractive can fill the lead form to start using their platform. 

Offer special offers

Consider sharing giveaways and sweepstakes to your audience on social media. Everyone loves freebies and most of your audience will be happy to fill out a form for a chance to win something. To spread the word about your giveaway campaign, at the bottom of the lead form ask participants to share the form on social media. The more people that see your offer, the more leads you can generate. 

For example, Uberflip promoted a 12 Days of Uberflippin’ Giveaways campaigns. 

To get access to freebies (exclusive entertaining and educational content), participants were required to offer some basic information like their names, company, and job title. 

3. Create targeted lead gen ads 

Along with organic tactics, you can use paid ads to boost your lead generation efforts. Social media platforms today allow audience segmentation which will help you create targeted ads tailored to your audience's interests. 

Before you start investing in ads, make sure you are targeting the right audience. Your target audience will determine the platform you will run ads on. 

Facebook lead ads

This ad format allows marketers to collect customer information. When a user clicks on a Facebook lead ad, they are shown a pre-populated form with information from their Facebook profile. The user can then easily fill in any missing information. Some of the offers you can promote using lead ads are demo requests, newsletter subscriptions, or event registrations.  

You can target your audience based on their location, gender, interests, age, and job. 

An advantage of using Facebook lead generation ads is that you can sync the lead contact info collected from the ad to your customer relationship management system or download it as a .CSV file. This will make it easy for marketers to follow up with leads. 

You can also push your Facebook leads to your Instagram feed or Stories. In your Facebook Ad Manager, go to Edit Placement and select Instagram stories/field.

Instagram lead ads

Similar to Facebook, Instagram allows marketers to collect customer information using lead ads. But there are few differences between both platforms. Not all the prefill questions supported on Facebook are supported on Instagram. 

For example, if you include a Date of birth field on the Form, the ad will not be shown on Instagram. 

Unlike Facebook, lead ads are only available on the Instagram mobile app. It also does not currently support dynamic ads for lead generation. 

Twitter lead ads

When it comes to generating leads on Twitter using ads, they're a couple of ad formats available. They include:

  • Website Cards, and
  • Lead Gen Cards

These ad formats are called “Cards” because they have a visual element that makes them stand out on the user's feed. The ad format is a mixture of a text ad and a banner ad.

There are two main differences between both ad formats. 

The first difference is their appearance. The images on Website Card ads are 800 X 320 pixels. On Lead Gen Cards, the image is 800 X 200 pixels. Lead Gen Cards also allow you to create a custom CTA button whereas the Website Card format asks you to choose from a predefined set of CTAs. 

The second difference is that Twitter will ask the user if they can give the advertiser their handle, name, and email address after they click on a Lead Gen Card ad. If the user agrees, their data is stored before they are redirected to the landing page in your ad. 

On Website Cards, after the user clicks on the CTA, they are immediately sent to the landing page in your ad. 

So if your goal is to collect the user’s contact information, then you will opt for the Lead Gen Card ad format. 

LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms

Just like Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn uses Lead Gen Forms to collect user profile information. You can then download the lead information from the ad manager or integrate LinkedIn to work on your CRM software. The Lear Gen Forms are available as sponsored content on the user's feed or as message ads. 

LinkedIn also offers Dynamic ads. These ads are personalized ads tailored to each user based on their profile data such as job title or company name. 

It's interesting to note that the conversion rate on a LinkedIn Lead Gen Form is 13%. This is very high compared to the typical website conversion rate of 2.35%. 

4. Show social proof

Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people copy the actions of others in an attempt to decide what is correct behaviour in a given situation. In your case, potential customers may look at the actions of other social media users to determine if they will get any value from engaging with your brand.

Showing social proof in the form of testimonials, reviews, and customer stories can help you acquire new leads.


Statistical data show that most buyers read online reviews from other customers before making a purchase decision. Including these reviews and testimonials in your social media content show potential clients that other customers were satisfied with your products and services. This will help demonstrate your brand's value. 

A good way to use social proof is by posting testimonials in the form of user-generated content. User-generated content can inspire prospective clients to buy from you. 

Wayfair often shares images from clients who have enjoyed using their furniture on Instagram. 

In the UGC post, Wayfair also provides a link where users can buy the items featured in the customer's home. This is a good example of how to combine social proof and lead generation in one post. 

5. Host a virtual conference or webinar

What's the main difference between the two?

A webinar is usually a single short session of up to 2 hours with a single presenter talking to a group. Interaction between attendees and the presenter is also limited to polls and live Q&A sessions. 

Whereas a virtual conference is similar to a physical conference, only that it is online. In a virtual conference, there are multiple speakers, keynote sessions, live panels, breakout sessions, and much more. Virtual conferences are interactive and attendees can choose from different online ‘rooms’ to learn and network. If you use a virtual conference software, you will be able to host various session types like panel sessions and small discussion groups. 

Virtual conferences and webinars are a great way to generate social media leads.


For people to sign up and join the conference, they will need to provide their contact info. So with these events, not only will you be increasing brand awareness and establishing your business as an authority in your niche, you will also attract a highly relevant audience.

For you to see success with your online events, there are two main things you need to do:

#1: extensively promote the event on social media weeks before it goes live. You can attract attendees by highlighting the topics that will be discussed and the influential speakers that will attend. You can also sweeten the pot by offering a freebie to attendees. 

#2: Get your landing page right. (This point is especially important for hosting virtual conferences) The landing page will be the selling point for your event. When leads are redirected from social media, they will land on your event landing page. Visitors to the page should be able to identify reasons why they shouldn't miss the event. Here are some things that you should include on your landing page:

  • Highlights the benefits of attending

  • Show the various speakers that will be featured

  • Share details about each topic that will be discussed
  • Have a simple registration form. If you use a form with too many fields, visitors might get discouraged. 
  • Include a frequently asked question area at the bottom of the page. 

The images used in this example are from a HubSpot virtual event landing page. 

6. Run a referral campaign

Referral campaigns are a great way to generate leads for a business regardless of their size or target audience. 

One major reason why referral campaigns work is that people trust referrals. Studies show that people trust recommendations and reviews more than conventional advertisements. Also, people are four times more likely to make a purchase when referred by a friend. 

The question then is how can you run a successful referral campaign on social media?

Establish goals: What do you want to achieve from running the referral campaign? Do you want to increase sales? Boost awareness? Or Increase newsletter subscribers. Having goals will make it easy to measure the performance of your campaign.

Create a rewards program: Offering incentives to your customers will give them more reasons to participate in the referral campaign. For example, you can give customers who bring you referrals discounts on their own next purchases. There are also stats to support creating a rewards program. 50% of people say they are more likely to refer a business if they are offered a direct incentive. 

Thank your customers: It's best practice to make your customers feel appreciated. When customers feel appreciated, they stay loyal to your business. A simple thank-you message can make a customer feel like you value their contributions. 

Still looking for reasons to start a referral program, here are some stats:

  • Customers acquired through referrals have a 37% higher retention rate 
  • Referred customers have an 18% lower churn rate than customers acquired through other marketing channels
  • You can get up to 16% more in profits from customers gotten from referrals

7. Make the most out of retargeting ads

If you are currently using paid ads in your social media marketing, retargeting is a great way to boost your social media advertising efforts. 

If you are getting a ton of traffic to your landing pages from social media but are not getting the kind of lead conversions you want, retargeting ads can help. 

As a marketer or business owner, you shouldn't focus solely on traffic but on how much of that traffic is converting. Sometimes users might visit your landing page and not take the desired action like filling out a lead form. More often than not, these users might not fill the form because they are not ready and not because they are not interested. Statistics show that 96% of the people that visit a website for the first time are not ready to buy. You can retarget these users with ads to help encourage them to fill the form or make the purchase. 

You can also retarget users who have visited your website through search engines and other referral sites. 

Not only are retargeting ads effective, but they also have a 10X better click-through rate than regular display ads. By serving retargeting ads, your brand stays top of the mind of your target audience and creates extra opportunities for conversion.  

8. Promote gated content

Promoting gated content on social media is an effective way to generate leads. But for this strategy to work, the content must be valuable enough that users will be prompted to fill out a form to get access to the content. You can use images, gifs, and stats to capture your audience's attention

For example, Marketing Prof’s used gated content to promote their virtual conference. To get access to the “Top Marketing Trends for 2017”, users will have to register for the conference.

Why this tweet works: Not only are they offering their audience a valuable piece of content, they also emphasized that the virtual conference is free. Marketers who are looking to grow their knowledge will be happy to register. 

9. Make use of social listening 

Social listening is the process of tracking the mentions and conversations related to your brand on social media platforms. 

By monitoring conversations related to your brand or competition, you will find opportunities to generate highly qualified leads for your business. For example, people who are asking questions about your brand or products on social media could become potential customers. With social listening, you will easily find these individuals and proactively reach out to them. 

Social listening also allows you to monitor conversations about your competitors. For instance, a user might be looking for an alternative to your competitor’s product. You can suggest your product instead and give them reasons why your product is the better option. To convince them to try out your product, you can give the user a discount code or some kind of freebie. 

To ensure that you do not miss opportunities to generate leads, check out the social listening tool from Iconosquare. The tools allow you to monitor what is being said about your brand with ease and also engage in real time conversation with your audience. Iconosquare also allows you to monitor multiple competitor profiles at once. Start your 14-day free trial.

Now's your turn 

Regardless of the social media platform you use, lead generation can be time consuming. It's not something that you will rush and expect to see results in a matter of minutes. You need to constantly analyze the performance of the lead gen strategies you implement to determine the best ones for your business and also the areas you need to improve. However, the tips detailed in this article will help you get started.

Which of these social media lead generation ideas will you implement in your strategy? Will you take advantage of social listening to find potential customers? Or will you create lead gen ads? Test and learn: the choice is entirely yours.

the writer


Copywriter @Iconosquare

Hi! I'm Marvellous, huge fan of Iconosquare as a product, and determined to help experienced social media marketers thrive in the various aspects of their career.

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