11 ways to generate leads and new supporters on social media
By Mark Cook, Co-founder and Director of 11 London.
Finding and engaging new supporters is integral to the growth and survival of most charities. Social media remains one of the most cost-effective means of generating leads and has really come into its own during the pandemic. However, it can be a tricky business to get right. With that in mind, here’s our 11 ways to troubleshoot your campaigns and help make lead generation on social the jewel in your fundraising crown.
1. Start with your audience
Whilst everything in fundraising starts with the audience, it’s particularly important with lead generation. The leads you need are those that become long-term supporters, so focus your media plan on reaching them. Be aware that an audience that delivers the most leads might not deliver the most supporters. If you’re having difficulty, consider some Social Listening to understand your audiences better.
2. Define your proposition and choose a relevant mechanic
Linking your proposition and mechanic directly to your cause helps to ensure that new leads become valuable supporters. Petitions are therefore often a good place to start but, if you’re exploring value exchange, make sure that the item has as much connection with your cause as possible.
3. Plan the entire journey
A lead is just the beginning, so put serious effort into the ongoing plan. We recommend plotting a 6 to 12-month email journey that builds engagement at each step. This journey will need to flex for fast and slower conversions, so plan pathways for all possibilities. Including meaningful non-financial actions can deepen engagement, develop the conversation and prompt organic sharing.
4. Invest in your content
Social media is a fast-paced environment, so you need fresh and arresting creative that compels your audience to act. Powerful content that illustrates your cause is the foundation of effective social ads, so the time and effort taken to gather it is well spent. And although they take time to create, visually striking infographics can really cut through on social and are worth exploring.
5. Create opportunities for multiple creative tests
Testing helps you to quickly establish the strongest creative performers and allocate media budgets accordingly. Good places to start are imagery, tone, calls to action, or video edits. When running campaigns, we use a testing matrix that allows us to identify the strongest creative and build on its success. If you’d like a template testing matrix, please get in touch.
6. Seize ‘moments’
We’ve all seen the powerful results that come from campaigns channelling public energy. If you offer people a means to do something positive about an issue they’re concerned about, they will take it. However, you need to act fast – with the right proposition and mechanic. Look at the year ahead and consider what external factors might have a bearing on your lead gen campaigns, and prepare draft creative or an emergency template so you’re ready.
7. Balance cost per lead (CPL) with conversion rate
Whilst it’s exciting to generate thousands of low-cost leads, keep a very close eye on your conversion rates. This can sometimes be a problem in value exchange campaigns using ‘free’ products, as you may attract lots of enthusiastic leads that lack the means or motivation to become supporters. Always monitor both KPIs and make adjustments to find a healthy balance.
8. Track and test throughout the funnel
By tracking your leads through every stage of your campaign, you can fix or improve upon any high drop-off points and maximise conversion. Never underestimate the importance of a good landing page, and build in tests here if possible. You can run amazing ads but if your landing pages and data-capture steps are difficult to follow or look illegitimate, the campaign may fail.
9. Draw on the power of organic
Truly sharable creative enables existing supporters to generate leads for you, and this shared audience can be incredibly useful. Including prompts to share your campaign throughout the journey can support this process, in addition to factoring it in to creative upfront. With the iOS 14 update, organic sharing will become even more important – find out more with our guide.
10. Keep the conversation going
Greater ad engagement can lead to a better CPL, so it helps to encourage friendly conversation – but try not to feed the trolls! Answering queries in social lets individuals know that there are real people working at your organisation and feel closer to your cause.
Consider using quality telemarketing services to build genuine conversations into your campaigns. When the telemarketing is good, this approach creates a more personal connection and often converts better than email-only journeys.
11. Review everything, and build your learnings
Scrutinise your audiences, creative, and tracking on a regular basis to understand what’s working. With this learning, you’ll have a case for scaling up successful elements or using insight to inform further activity. For example, one of our clients has recently successfully unlocked DRTV with creative we first tested on social.
We’re always learning at 11 London, paid social is a rapidly evolving channel and there’s so much to test and explore. It was a challenge to cut this article down to just 11 tips! But don’t let option paralysis stop you, just roll up your sleeves, prioritise and start prototyping. If you take it step-by-step, gathering learning as you go, you’ll be able to turn social lead generation into an engine of fresh insight and new supporters at the heart of your programme.
If you’d like to get in touch with Mark, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org