Social media lead generation. Fast, affordable, scalable.

In the last five years, I’ve generated more leads at a lower cost with social media than any other lead generation program—bar none.

How? As Gary Vaynerchuk would say, two words: underpriced attention.

It doesn’t mean other programs like SEM, email marketing, and traditional advertising aren’t effective anymore, but they have suffered from competitive saturation. Example: keywords that used to cost $0.30 on Google are now $30. From a CPC and CPA standpoint, social still offers a great deal in terms of eyeballs-per-dollar (for now).

Consider this article your shortcut to social media ROI. I’ll walk you through the most effective strategies from some of the smartest social marketers I know and share proven tactics that can work for any business. Guaranteed there will be at least one new technique that you’ll be able to implement straight away.

Download all of the templates and swipe files from this article!

Download all of the social media lead generation templates from this article and put them into action immediately. Skip the guesswork and save countless hours starting from scratch with 20+ swipe files.

Get all of the templates

1. 3×3 Video Grid

I met Dennis Yu a while back when he swung by our office and showed us everything we were doing wrong with PPC. Five years later, he’s the #1 requested speaker at our annual sales summit and he’s still blowing minds with his brilliant tactics.

To say I’ve spent a while studying Dennis’ ways is an understatement.

As great as the guy is, his guides can be…well…difficult to follow. Here’s my attempt at distilling down his 3×3 video grid strategy and showing you how to execute it.

What is the 3×3 Video Grid?

Dennis says successful marketing requires sequencing people through a WHY, HOW, and WHAT journey. Without this journey, you have random and irrelevant marketing.

The idea behind the 3×3 grid is to film 3 videos for each of those WHY, HOW, and WHAT stages and then sequence people through each stage of the journey with remarketing.

Visually, it looks like this:

It’s called the 3×3 grid because you have three pieces of content in each phase of your WHY, HOW, and WHAT journey.

By sequencing your message, you can guide prospects through the traditional sales funnel—from awareness to engagement to conversion—more easily than if you engage in random acts of marketing.

Step 1: Record your 3×3 Grid

Record the nine videos required for the 3×3 grid.

These videos don’t need to be Hollywood-quality. If there’s no videographer on staff, pull out your phone and get it done.

Here’s what you should cover in the videos…

WHY videos are where you start.

The purpose of WHY videos is to get attention, establish authority, and have a meaningful first touch with potential customers. Here you tell stories from the founder, users, and other authoritative figures. No matter the business, there will always be a story about how it came to be, and by relating to this story, consumers develop an emotional connection.

Example: Health and Wellness

→ Video 1: Talk about a past injury or chronic pain that drove you to open an injury rehabilitation center and help others with their discomfort.

→ Video 2: Refer back to college sports where you pushed your teammates to focus on proper weightlifting, which lead to a career in physical therapy.

→Video 3: Share a story about the first time you received physical therapy and how that drove you to start your own business.

HOW videos come next.

HOW videos teach others what you know—especially what you’d do to solve a problem if your product or service didn’t exist. Teach via simple 3-step recipes of how to get something done without talking about your product. Talk about wider industry issues or interview experts.

Example: Health and Wellness

→ Video 4: Tips on proper stretching techniques for shoulder pain.

→ Video 5: Explain how to deal with mental health issues that stem from a major injury or dealing with the stress of not being able to work due to injury.

→ Video 6: Share tips and tricks for people who sit in an office chair to avoid a tight neck and upper back.

Finally, there are the WHAT videos.

WHAT videos are your “salesy” videos. They’re based on your products, pricing, features, special dates, testimonials, and other traditional marketing.

Example: Health and Wellness

→ Video 7: Promote your one-on-one therapy services

→ Video 8: Promote mental health awareness month (May) specials and talk about the relationship between fitness and stress relief.

→ Video 9: Promote your group fitness sessions.

Most businesses only create videos surrounding their WHAT, but by talking exclusively about your products and services, you are immediately in “selling” mode, which people don’t want. That’s why you need the WHY and HOW.

Ultimately, you’ll have built something that looks like this:

Step 2: Set up your campaign

In Facebook, create a new campaign.

You’ll use different ad sets to differentiate the WHY, HOW, and WHAT videos.

The idea is to retarget “down and across”. People should only see videos from their current stage of the funnel and videos from the next stage of the funnel in order to nudge them closer to closing.

As soon as someone watches 75% of a WHY video, they’ll start being served HOW videos in addition to other WHY videos, like this…

Then, when someone watches 75% of a HOW video, you’ll stop serving them WHY videos and continue to serve them HOW videos along with WHAT videos. Like this…

And finally, when a person views at least 75% of a WHAT video, they’ll stop being served HOW videos and only see WHAT videos. In the end, you have something like this:

The arrows make it look complicated, but the setup is simple.

Group 1 (WHY) is shown to a standard audience
Group 2 (HOW) is shown when a Group 1 video has been watched to 75%
Group 3 (WHAT) is shown when a Group 2 video has been watched to 75%

You can accomplish this by creating a campaign with the objective of video views.

Next, create a Custom Audience. Use Engagement > Video.

Under Engagement, select People who have watched at 75% of your video.

Select your campaign / video source by picking the Campaign you created.

Now, select the videos. Make sure that all videos are in the same published campaign or that they were previously posted to your Page.

Lastly, you have to set up exclusions so that the sequencing from one stage of the funnel goes seamlessly to the next stage of the funnel.

Ad Set 1 (WHY Videos) – In this example, I’m using a standard lookalike audience with the exclusion set to ad set 3 viewers. In other words, this ad set will only show to ad set 1 viewers and potentially ad set 2 viewers, but never ad set 3 viewers.

Ad Set 2 (HOW Videos) – Ad set 2 will be shown when an ad set 1 video has been shown. It will continue to show until somebody watches a WHAT video in the final ad set.

Ad Set 3 (WHAT Videos) – Ad set 3 will be shown when an ad set 2 video has been shown. It will continue to show in perpetuity.

Ad Set 4 (WHAT Videos) – Since this is the bottom of the funnel, I don’t shut things off at this point. I continue to show WHAT videos until they convert.

If any of the targeting is confusing, here’s a summary:

  • Ad set 1 => Ads: WHY videos. Audience: Group 1 (Lookalike), Exclude: Grp 3.
  • Ad set 2 => Ads: HOW videos. Audience: Group 2 (Viewed Group 1), Exclude: Grp 4.
  • Ad set 3 => Ads: WHAT videos. Audience: Group 3 (Viewed Group 2), Exclude: None.
  • Ad set 4 => Ads: WHAT videos. Audience: Group 4 (Viewed Group 3), Exclude: None.

Just like that, you’ve set up your first 3×3 video grid using Dennis Yu’s WHY > HOW > WHAT sequencing strategy.

Step 3: Optimize video performance

After a while, you’ll want to know if your videos are doing well or not.

Compare your campaign stats to these benchmarks:

If you’re not getting close to $.02 per video view, $3 per lead, or $10 per conversion, your videos aren’t doing as well as they should be. Record new ones and try again.

Eventually, you’ll kill 90% of the videos you film, but that’s the way that testing works. Keep trying new videos and your results will get better and better.

The good news? Once you find videos that resonate with your audience, you’re golden.

By using the 3×3 strategy, you’ll have built an evergreen marketing funnel that will work for you timelessly and tirelessly—no need to keep producing expiring content.

3×3 Grid Tips

  • Keep the videos short, ideally around 30-60 seconds.
  • Each video should be unique. By creating 3 unrelated WHY videos, 3 unrelated HOW videos, and 3 unrelated WHAT videos, you can test which perform best.
  • The videos don’t have to be Hollywood quality. No need for expensive lighting, graphics, or a set. Your phone will do fine.
  • Here are some more examples of grid videos: WHY example, HOW example, WHAT example.
  • Download Vendasta’s 3×3 video grid templates if you’re stuck.

Download all of the templates and swipe files from this article!

Download all of the social media lead generation templates from this article and put them into action immediately. Skip the guesswork and save countless hours starting from scratch with 20+ swipe files.

Get all of the templates

2. Topic Wheel for Personal Branding

Anyone can build a personal brand to become a well-known influencer or sales machine. Better yet, you don’t need to be a celebrity to do it.

Instead, you need:

  1. Topics that you’re passionate about
  2. Consistent, engaging content
  3. Help from established influencers

The Topic Wheel is a powerful strategy designed by Dennis Yu at Blitzmetrics to accomplish all three. It will allow you to produce content faster and leverage word of mouth for your funnel by collecting what customers and influencers are saying about you and then distributing your story.

Step 1: Create a bubble graph

Take a piece of paper and put yourself in the middle.

Around yourself, list the six topics you care about most. Anything goes.

For example, here’s Mark Lack.

Mark is a motivational speaker, so his topics could be about public speaking, business rockstars, motivational speaking, etc.

Step 2: Identify influencers

Take all of the topics you wrote down and think of the first three people that come to mind for each one (they don’t have to be people you know).

What you end up with is a bunch of topics you care about and people who could be your ambassador—i.e.,  brands that can help you make a name for yourself in those areas.

That’s important because, like it or not, you are essentially the sum of the three or four people you hang out with most. So map the topics you care about to the people who are leaders in those fields and complete the exercise.

Step 3: Record 60-second videos

Now comes the grunt work.

For each bubble, make a video with the influencer about the topic you linked them to.

A minute or two is fine. Short interviews work best because they don’t take a ton of prep and they tend to be more engaging.

Try to uncover valuable pieces of advice, an interesting personal story, or something entertaining. Don’t go fishing for compliments or force an influencer to mention your social channels (if it happens organically, great).

Here’s an example of Jason Tropf interviewing Dennis Yu for two minutes.

In this example, Dennis—the influencer—drops some knowledge about SMB lead gen, and Jason benefits from not only being seen with him, but also from being associated with experts and the topic at hand (SMB lead gen).

If you know the influencer you want to interview or can get ahold of them, do so. The more you’re seen interacting with authority figures, the more you’ll benefit from their halo effect. If you can’t get in touch with an influencer, create a video about them or their content. By associating yourself with them, you’re creating a perceived connection. You may even be able to tag them in that content and use it to get in touch with them later.

Ultimately, like any marketing strategy, you’re trying to build a funnel. Refer back to the 3×3 grid above for examples of topics that work at every phase of the buyer journey, from awareness to engagement to conversion.

Step 4: Find the winners, ditch the losers

The next step is to promote each video and find the winners.

The goal is to build up a list of “greatest hits”. Like the 3×3 grid, you’re going to end up killing 90% of your videos because they didn’t perform as well as they should, but 10% might turn out ok, and 2% will be unicorns that will provide a ton of value in perpetuity.

See which videos perform best by comparing them against the following benchmarks.

The idea is to organize the winners—the videos which are earning you two cents per video view or $3 per lead—into a basic marketing funnel, from awareness to engagement to conversion. If you’re short videos at any of these stages, keep recording more until you’ve got a well-fleshed-out funnel.

Again, the idea is to have a good mix of videos at every stage of the funnel, from awareness to engagement to conversion.

Step 5: Set a big, hairy goal and tackle it

By now, you should have a set of videos that are well on their way to making you more recognizable in the fields you’re passionate about—depending on how good they are and much you’ve spent promoting them.

Sometimes this strategy alone is enough to attract attention from media or potential customers. You may find your inbox filling up with requests for your opinion about X or asking for interviews about Y.

Other times, you need to start setting goals and go after them proactively.

Here’s a diagram from Matthew Barby about the hierarchy of building a personal brand.

Wherever you’re at on the pyramid, use the topic wheel to punch above your weight.

If you’ve already guest posted on industry blogs, use the content you’re promoting via the topic wheel to secure a column for a trade publication. If you already speak at events, try to lock down your first keynote. It’s all in the targeting and the message.

On the flip side, Dennis Yu says the topic wheel is also fantastic for building evergreen content that’s triggered by user action—e.g., lead magnets, autoresponders, inbound marketing efforts, etc.

So go ahead and implement the wheel with all your marketing efforts. If someone arrives at your site and downloads a paper, add them to the topic wheel campaign; if you’re deploying ABM campaigns, upload your target list to Facebook and add them to the appropriate spoke of the wheel. The possibilities are endless.

Download all of the templates and swipe files from this article!

Download all of the social media lead generation templates from this article and put them into action immediately. Skip the guesswork and save countless hours starting from scratch with 20+ swipe files.

Get all of the templates

3. Does Your CXO Know?

Gary Vaynerchuk gave a great keynote at Inbound 2016. The whole talk is worth watching, but here’s my favorite tactic he shared with the audience.

Start by picking a company or demographic you’re targeting. Next, make a piece of content for them where the creative starts with “Does your _______ know?” Fill in the blank with the title of the decision maker you’re trying to get in front of.

“Does your CEO know?”

“Does your CFO know?”

“Does your CTO know?”

Now, promote that content via social media to the broader company you’re targeting—not just the target him or herself.

Example: If you’re targeting CROs, record a video that starts with “Does your CRO know…?” and promote it to the whole sales organization at the company. If the video is good, you’ll have salespeople at all seniority levels sending it to the CRO.

Gary says: “You’re going to start the video or the picture with that statement [Does your CXO know?]. And I promise you, for hundreds of dollars that person is going to get 12 to 25 to 100 people forwarding them that piece of content, and that piece of content will be the gateway drug to your sales team to convert and close. It works every time.”

Here’s Gary explaining it in his own colorful way (see the 20-minute mark):


Now change it up: “Did YOU know…?”

On episode 482 of the DailyVee show, the head of an energy brokerage firm sat down with Gary and asked him for creative marketing advice.

Instead of telling him to use “Does Your CXO Know?”, Gary flipped the tactic so it’s from the perspective of the customer.

“Here’s what I would do,” Gary says. “I would run videos saying, ‘Did YOU know that you could go on a free trip to Orlando with your family?’ And the punchline is: ‘If you switch to this energy.’ Because then it would say in the bottom, ‘On average, a family saves $88 a month times twelve is $1,000. The average Disney trip for a family of four is…’

You see where I’m going? That shit kills.

A marketing campaign that tells people if they switch they save this much money. And with that saved money they can send their kid to private school. They can buy a boat. They can go on a Disney vacation. They can eat a better lunch once in a while.

Do you see where I’m going? Like, utilitarian. Like, ‘Hey, Dick. Don’t be stupid. Switch to this. It’s $113 a month. One-hundred-and-thirteen bucks a month times twelve? $1,400.’ And then find 19 things in culture that $1,400 buys you. And then run Instagram ads against people that are fans of Supremes and Nikes, and say, ‘Did you know you could have 12 more pairs of fly sneakers if you literally just swiped up and clicked this button?’”

At the start of the video, Gary admits that he knows nothing about energy—but it doesn’t matter. When it comes to creative, focus on the value you’re creating for someone and the tangible, meaningful impact it can have on their life, whether that’s through energy savings or insurance deals or grocery promos or whatever.

It’s great advice that can work for virtually any business in any vertical. Give it a whirl and see what happens.

Download all of the templates and swipe files from this article!

Download all of the social media lead generation templates from this article and put them into action immediately. Skip the guesswork and save countless hours starting from scratch with 20+ swipe files.

Get all of the templates

4. $1.80 Instagram Strategy

Here’s another great Gary Vee tactic called the $1.80 Instagram strategy.

The gist is simple: leave your .02 cents on the top 9 trending Instagram posts for 10 different hashtags that are relevant to your business.

By the end of this, you haven’t just left your .02 cents–you’ve left a full $1.80 of thoughts in the specific category, niche, or industry you want to become a part of.

Why does this work?

“The truth is,” Gary says, “the way to win on social media is to actually be social. The number of Instagram followers you have means nothing if you can’t build a community of like-minded people who care and engage. The only real way to do this from scratch is to become part of the conversation.”

Step 1: Find the best hashtags to follow

Search for keywords related to your business.

For example, if you own a yoga studio, search “meditation” and see what pops up. Instagram will also recommend related hashtags to follow.

Spend 20 seconds scrolling through the top posts of each hashtag and identify people who have active accounts. Active = posts that get engagement, even if it isn’t a lot.

Once you find accounts you want to engage with, click on them to see what they’re about. The more personalized your interaction—and the more you can cater to their likes and dislikes—the more effective this tactic will be.

Step 2: Leave your $.02

Now it’s time to leave your two cents.

Engage in an authentic way. No generic marketing messages!

If someone asked a question, respond with a thoughtful answer. If you like something about the post, say so. If their post reminded you of another content creator, tag them.

“Realistically,” Gary says, “this shouldn’t take any more than 2 minutes per post. You don’t have to write a book or say something profound, you just have to engage and interact. That is what it means to be social.”

Step 3: Continue to comment, like, and engage

What next? Rinse and repeat every day.

This isn’t the fastest hack in the world—it’s not even a hack, per se—but it’s the most disciplined way I know of to make authentic connections.

At the start, you might only get 100 new followers per month. Eventually, though, it snowballs, and one day you’ll find yourself sharing a piece of content and having someone who you connected with share it to their bigger audience. That’s when things get exciting. Till then, persistence, persistence, persistence.

I suggest reading the full $1.80 strategy from Gary here.

Download all of the templates and swipe files from this article!

Download all of the social media lead generation templates from this article and put them into action immediately. Skip the guesswork and save countless hours starting from scratch with 20+ swipe files.

Get all of the templates

5. Facebook Lead Ads 101

Facebook lead ads have been responsible for over half of the growth my team at Vendasta has driven in the last two years.

A lead ad is an ad that shows up in the newsfeed like any other promo. The difference is when someone clicks on it, a native card pops up in Facebook that acts as a landing page. If the person is interested in learning more or accepting the offer, they submit a form that’s pre-populated with their info.

Above: An example of a Facebook lead ad for a real estate agent. The real estate agent offers a free quote, and prospects fill out a form with the click of a button and pre-populated information.

At Vendasta, lead ads perform 8x better than ads that go to external landing pages. It’s about keeping people on one platform and helping them convert as easily as possible.

Here’s our recipe for lead ad success.

Step 1: Write ads with industry-specific copy

When writing lead ads, always use the name of your clients’ business or industry.

If you’re targeting agencies, say “agencies”.

If you’re targeting dentists, say “dentists”.

My head of social marketing, Jamie Taylor, says, “If you’re not getting leads, I can tell you that this is the primary reason why. In the 333 ad campaigns I created last year, there were two that didn’t convert. Why? My targeting was dialled-in, but my messages didn’t use the target’s job or industry title and didn’t catch their attention.”

How do you find the right message?

Jamie says: “I like to go old-school Mad Men. I start with a blank canvas, jotting down a succession of questions about my product and how it pertains to my audience. Each question leads to another. When the questions stop, you’ve found your message. You can spend hours, days finding it, but dammit, it’s worth it.”

Step 2: Set up lead ads

If you’re not familiar with setting up lead ads, follow these guides:

In case you’re curious, here’s the most successful lead ad I’ve ever run:

The visual communicates what the offer is about, and the copy cuts straight to the chase. When a person clicks Learn More, they get this card:

Bullet points explain the services and add social proof, and then the form below is pre-populated with the prospect’s Facebook contact information.

It’s not rocket science, but it works well. Really, really well.

Step 3: Use past lead ad conversions for lookalike audiences

Whenever possible, leverage your data from past lead ad conversions to create Lookalike Audiences. My team has tested many audiences using conversion data from other channels, but none come close to using lead ad conversions from Facebook itself.

Here’s another tip: don’t fear large audiences.

The first time my team tried a Lookalike audience with lead ad conversions, Facebook returned an audience 2.7 million large.

Immediately, my red flag went up.

Marketers are told from day one to target as narrowly as possible. “Never mass blast”, “keep your audiences narrow”, etc.

Lo and behold, after testing the 2.7M audience, it was bang on. Over 80% of the conversions were—and continue to be—qualified leads.

Step 4: Change your bidding strategy

Once you’ve found an audience that’s dialled in (they’re converting well) and ad content that’s relevant (ad relevance of 8+), it’s time to fiddle with bidding.

If you’ve been using Facebook’s auto-bid setting, switch to manual bid and raise it to the higher end of the auction. This puts your ads near the top of the pile where you’ll be hitting news feeds at max capacity.

Again, only do this with your best ads.

Since ad relevance is high, you’ll be able to get low cost per results, as Facebook favors content its users like. Our team regularly bids $40 to get high delivery but converts at a fraction of the bid, around $9. As with anything, your mileage may vary.

Step 5: Track ROI in Data Studio

The analytics you get from Facebook are good, but they’re nothing compared to the insights you can squeeze out of Google Data Studio when combined with your CRM data.

This is what my high-level Facebook campaign dashboard looks like:

It’s not until the last column that you get the full picture. Some campaigns have a lower cost per lead (CPL) but don’t result in as much revenue as other campaigns and vice versa. You need fully loaded costs and the lifetime value of your customers to arrive here.

If you only calculate the return on ad spend of a Facebook ad based on its POS data or pixel tracking, you’ll lose sight of the whole picture. Hence, Data Studio.

Here’s where I’m going with this…

In the software-as-a-service (SaaS) world, there are a few metrics that really matter to the health of your business, specifically:

  1. The lifetime value (LTV) of your customers versus your customer acquisition cost (CAC). As a rule of thumb, your LTV:CAC ratio should be greater than 3.
  2. The time it takes to recover your customer acquisition cost (CAC). As a rule of thumb, this should be 12 months or less.

Lifetime value is extremely important for subscription-based businesses, but it’s also applicable for other businesses—and not always difficult to calculate.

When deciding where to “pour gas on the fire” (i.e., where to increase spend), I first look at LTV:CAC and see which campaigns rank highest. If payback period also looks good—around 12 months—those are the ones I’ll double down on. In the case of the dashboard above, I would likely increase spend on the first six campaigns and cut the last five.

Those metrics, along with other key data points that drive sales (e.g., presentations completed, bookings, churn, etc.) can’t be found directly in Facebook, and I’ve found that Data Studio is the easiest way to visualize these metrics with your CRM data by far.

If SaaS metrics tickle your fancy, give this post by David Skok a read: SaaS Metrics – A Guide to Measuring and Improving What Matters.

6. $1/Day Social Boosting

“Dollar a Day” is the crown-jewel of Dennis Yu’s social marketing strategy.

Essentially, Dennis says you don’t need to spend a fortune advertising on social media in order to generate significant ROI. Instead, you should test your content for $1/day to determine which posts perform best and then throw gas on the fire.

For a long time, I was confused by $1/day because I didn’t know how to manage the process. Turns out it’s simpler than I thought.

The idea is to boost a post for seven days in a row while continuing to layer on new boosted posts every subsequent day.

In your first week of doing this, the most you’ll be spending in one day is $7.

From there, follow Dennis’s benchmarks for killing and keeping posts.

Kill 90% of the posts that suck, add $30 for 30 more days if the posts are good, and then hunt down the real unicorns by testing new audiences and higher budgets.

Once you’ve identified your unicorn posts, throw gas on the fire—i.e., spend more money on them since the return on ad spend is worth it. Just make sure the daily budget doesn’t let you hit more than 10% of the available audience, or you’ll burn it out.

How do you know which benchmarks to use? Refer back to this:

That’s all there is to it.

If you want to dig deeper into $1/day, I recommend Dennis’ Dollar a Day course.

“When you first start boosting,” Dennis says, “it’s going to take a while to find out what combination of factors works best for your campaigns. It’s key to document your process and develop what we call ‘repeatable excellence’. A good way to do this is by taking notes. Write things down, take screenshots, and create checklists that, when followed, can replicate this tested success. You want your junior folks to do this for you, right? You set the example for others to follow—then delegate yourself out of doing this every day.”

7. Viral Loop on LinkedIn

Viral loops can be difficult to pull off, but this one is so simple it hurts.

The strategy comes from Anna Vital’s post on the Ahrefs blog, “How a Viral Loop on LinkedIn Got Me 76k Email Subscribers in 1 Month.”

Anna writes: “One day, as I was checking my LinkedIn feed, I saw that one of my connections had commented ‘Yes’ on some post with free presentation slides. I opened the post and saw thousands of other people writing the same comment: ‘Yes’.”

This tactic is called engagement baiting—and social networks hate it. You tell people to Like, comment, or share something in exchange for a download, and your post gets enough juice to jump to the top of the algorithm.

It’s not new. Facebook has done a lot to crack down on posts like these, but LinkedIn is behind, and it continues to work effectively there.

Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a tactic like this if you’re offering legitimate value and not spamming newsfeeds with crap, so here’s how to create one.

Step 1: Create a valuable download

This should go without saying: get a great piece of content together. If your content doesn’t suck, your results will be infinitely better.

Keep in mind that this tactic can generate a lot of bad leads if you’re not careful with the type of content. Free PowerPoint templates might be popular, but everyone and their dog will download them, and that’ll create tons of cruft.

Use a good middle-funnel piece that your target audience will drool over but won’t attract unwanted downloads. Think research or white papers or tools specific to your niche.

Step 2: Craft a LinkedIn article

Rather than writing a plain-old post, you’re going to craft a LinkedIn article.

Go to and create an article about what you’re giving away.

The headline should mention the freebie, and the header image should convey at a quick glance what people will be getting. Both elements are important because they’ll appear in the news feeds of people commenting on the post.

Here’s what engagement with your article will look like:

In the article, make sure you spell out the rules that people have to follow to get their freebie. Anna puts it at the top of the article:

Here’s the rest of her experiment, if you’re curious. It does a good job explaining why you want to go with comments instead of Likes and shares, too.

Step 3: Assemble a landing page

Using your preferred landing page provider, set up the landing page and form.

Couple tips:

  • Less is more when it comes to form fields. Start asking for email only and adding other fields in future tests to see how it impacts conversion.
  • Compress the files you’re sending as much as possible. If your post does well, it could take a toll on your site’s storage limits.
  • Make sure you have an appropriate subscription level set up with your email provider. I’ve seen people get burned by an influx of addresses that surpasses their limit. A lot of providers are pretty forgiving, but some aren’t.

Step 4: Hit launch

Post your LinkedIn article and start promoting it immediately.

Anna says to go viral, you need 1,000 comments.

Chances are, sharing the article via your own channels won’t get you to 1,000, so you’re going to have to seed it with cash.

I suggest promoting the article with social ads until you get to the 1,000 comment mark and then determine if it’s working or not. Alternatively, if you have a sizeable mailing list, you could leverage it by sending people to the article for the content, too.

I don’t care how you do—just get to 1,000 comments as quickly as possible.

If it doesn’t work or lead quality is terrible, revisit the creative. Remember: the more direct the connection between what you’re giving away and what you’re selling, the better.

8. Best of the Best Promo Ideas

If you want to run a contest or giveaway on social media and you’re wondering which incentives work best, you’re in luck.

Here are the best ideas I’ve come across to date. Some I’ve tested first-hand, others are suggested by third parties. Give ’em a try and see how it goes.

Promos specific to your business

The most successful incentives for lead generation relate directly to your business.

Do you sell fridges? Give away a fridge.

Fix furniture? Give away a rosewood armoire.

Rescue animals? Post a pic with a cat and say “Adopt Max, free today!”

You get the idea.

Since my background is B2B—specifically with agencies selling solutions to local businesses—I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about contests geared toward SMBs.

Here’s a campaign an agency could use to generate local business leads:

ABC Agency Facebook Page

Chicago salon owners, market your business like a champ! Win $20,000 worth of premium marketing services from ABC Agency for free. Includes:

  • 1 year of social media lead generation to grow your social profile
  • 1 year of review generation to get you more online reviews
  • 1 year of free website hosting and design updates
  • 1 year of listings management on Google, Yelp, and 40+ others
  • $5,000 in design services from our best designers

It doesn’t have to be $20k,  but make it substantial enough that people care.

Campaigns like the one above generate valuable leads since entrants have already expressed interest in your offering. For those who don’t win the contest, it’s a perfect opportunity to follow up with content or a consultative sales call.

Here are some other creative examples we came up with to sell Vendasta’s marketing automation platform:

  • Hot leads sauce > bottles of hot sauce branded with our “hot leads” system
  • Gift cards to local businesses > instead of giving away gift cards to Amazon (the small business killer), we gave our agency partners gift cards to small businesses in their local market. It showed that we’re here to help local.
  • Agency in a box > since one of our slogans is an “agency in a box” we mocked up physical boxes branded with the tagline and filled them with helpful content.

Promos not specific to your business

If you don’t have time to come up with something creative that’s related to your business, you can always resort to these tried-and-true prizes:

  • Gift cards (Visa, Amazon, Google Play, etc.)
  • Tech gadgets (iPads, iWatches, iPods, Google Home, Alexa, GoPro, Roomba, VR headset, headphones, game console, etc.)
  • Clothing (t-shirts, socks, hoodies, etc.)
  • Event tickets (sports games, theater, etc.)
  • Food (coffee, candy, cupcakes…more on this in a second)

For something more unique, I’d suggest 1 of 3 options…

Option 1: An awesome experience

Check out the giveaway options in this poll from Funnelytics:

Talk about unique, not-so-cheap experiences.

If you don’t think that cash is an experience, by the way, picture a duffle bag of Benjamins showing up on your doorstep and tell me you wouldn’t brag about that moment later.

Option 2: Geography-based swag

I’ve worked for Canadian companies for over ten years, and let me tell you, people love Canadian-themed stuff.

Maple syrup, ketchup-flavored chips, Mountie memorabilia, toques, moose and beaver-related knick knacks, Tim Hortons gift cards, hockey gear. The list goes on.

Without fail, it gets great responses—especially when paired with our “nice” Canadian tone, eh? Wherever you’re from, I’m sure there’s a local element you can lean into. Jars of your town’s world-famous jam, Haggis from your Scotland hometown. Whatever.

Option 3: Cupcakes

There’s something incredibly powerful—almost unsettling—about the effect that cupcakes have on people. In Toronto, I’ve seen lineups for trendy bakeries a mile long, which can only be explained by good marketing, black magic, or both.

Believe it or not, cupcakes might be the best prize you ever offer.

RJMetrics ran a campaign where instead of giving away iPads like they usually do, they entered people in a draw for a dozen cupcakes.

They coined it the greatest marketing growth hack of all time.

“We decided to scrap the iPad in lieu of cupcakes…and our conversion rate skyrocketed. No joke. People would rather receive a dozen cupcakes than an iPad.”

The going theory is that cupcakes seem more attainable than an iPad. They give people a feeling they have a better chance to win. I’d agree, so next time you’re about to throw down the cash for an iPad, Google the nearest bakery and pick up a dozen cupcakes or cronuts or whatever the kids are eating these days and save a few bucks.

If cupcakes aren’t your thing, check out Savannah’s Candy KitchenLake Champlain Chocolates, or The Hamper Emporium for other sweet treats.

Hopefully that helped get the gears turning and gave you a few ideas for your next giveaway. Have another suggestion or a story of something that’s worked for you before? Drop it in the comments below.

9. Webinar Marketing

I wrote a teardown of the Sam Ovens consulting webinar in July, and it quickly became my most popular post ever. So popular, actually, that it caught Sam’s attention and now he’s using it in his Facebook ads.

If you’re reading this, Sam, thanks. I’m flattered 😉

Webinars like Sam’s work especially well for high-ticket items and enterprise acquisition. Why? Because they provide a lot of nurturing and education leading up to the close.

Take one of the other tactics I’ve covered: Facebook lead ads.

With lead ads, people usually see one ad, click one button, and start getting calls. For enterprise, that’s likely not enough to reel them in. There’s no mental, financial, or time-related investment. You need a funnel that warms them up to a sales conversation.

So let’s go through how to set up the Sam Ovens webinar funnel, since it’s one of the most successful in the biz.

Step 1: Record your webinar

It all starts with a great webinar (duh).

Seriously. This should be the holy grail webinar. Explain everything about your product or service, as well as who it’s for and the unique value propositions. Make sure there’s an offer at end—20% off, no onboarding, etc.—and don’t worry too much about length. It can be as long as 1 – 2 hours.

Here are the slides from Sam’s webinar. Pay attention to the opening and how he tells his personal story to build trust and credibility. He spends a lot of time building rapport and explaining who the webinar is for before dropping value bombs and sharing the offer.

Step 2: Record promo video

Record a promo video for the webinar to put on the registration page.

If you’re stuck, use this video script template:

Hi everyone, it’s ___________ here, and I want to invite you to an exclusive webinar with me this week where I show you exactly how I’ve ___________________.

So on this webinar, I’m going to show you _______________ and how I’ve helped __________________. But most importantly, how you can ______________.

This webinar is for you if want to ___________________________________________.

If you’re not familiar with my story, I got started in _______ over _______ years ago. I was doing ______________________________. Since then, I’ve spent my life doing __________________________. I’ve spent countless hours _________________.

So on this webinar, I’m going to show you _______________________. I’m really going to take everything I’ve learned and just boil it down and distill it and give you three key things which you need to get started today and to reach ______________.

On this webinar, I’m going to share with you these three main things.

Number one: _________________________________________________________.

Number two: _________________________________________________________.

Number three: ________________________________________________________.

So those are the three main things you’re going to learn on this webinar.

I look forward to seeing you on this webinar, and I look forward to helping you with ______________.

Step 3: Wire up a landing page

Wire up a landing page based on Sam’s layout and copy.

Specifically, try to zero-in on quantifiable benefits. Sam promises to show you how he gets 30-50 consulting clients every month. What tangible result are you promising?

Make sure to include social proof and testimonials. Also note how this is billed like a live webinar, which gives it an air of exclusivity. You can use a tool like WebinarJam to pull off the reservations and scheduling.

Step 4: Hook up text & email reminders

Hook up text reminders like this that trigger when the webinar is about to start:

For your emails, the cadence should be:

  • Confirmation email immediately after registration
  • Welcome email 1 day before webinar
  • Reminder email 3 hours before webinar starts
  • Reminder email 1 hour before webinar starts
  • Reminder email that webinar is starting now

The welcome email can come from an assistant and should include some sort of personalization, such as the attendee’s name on an image. Here’s the one Sam sends:

Step 5: Get social ads running

The secret to Sam’s social ads is twofold: length and lifestyle.

He uses long-form ads that appeal to his audience’s desired future state. I won’t dig deeper into his copywriting style here, but definitely scroll through his current ads on Facebook and take inspiration from the ones that would work best for you.

For more ideas, download the Sam Ovens Funnel Checklist + Facebook Ads.

Step 6: Bake into other marketing channels

Once your funnel is up and running, bake it into your other marketing channels.

Sit down a brainstorm everywhere else you can promote it, including:

  • Email campaigns (outbound and inbound)
  • CTA in marketing and sales collateral
  • Post about it on your blog
  • Promote on podcasts, vlogs, social, etc.

If all else fails, use a ClickFunnels template

Don’t have time to set up the Sam Ovens funnel from scratch?

If you use ClickFunnels, there are a couple templates in their Marketplace that mimic Sam’s funnel pretty closely.

Clean High Ticked Webinar Funnel – $297

Adam King’s Webinar Funnel – $97

10. Larry Kim’s Social PR Hack

Here’s a tactic that’s so simple it hurts.

If there’s something newsworthy happening in your space, write a catchy editorial piece about it and use tailored audiences on Twitter to target journalists at news sites.

Example: Larry Kim tells the story of when he published an article about whether or not Twitter ads work. He promoted the article to influencers and journalists, and an hour later, a Fox News producer emailed him. Lo and behold, look where he ended up:

Furthermore, he says this one post led to “250 high-value press pickups and links, massive brand exposure, 100,000 visits to the WordStream site, and a new business relationship with Facebook.”

Then there’s the time he wrote about Google no longer requiring Google+ for creating an account, which resulted in 500+ media pickups and 100k site visitors.

Not bad for 10 minutes of work and a $50 ad budget.

Speaking of budget, Larry is a fan of testing small before going big. Twenty to fifty dollars should be plenty to “find your unicorn posts” (Dennis Yu says it only takes $7). If a post isn’t performing well, toast it.

The only downside to this tactic is it’s not as lead-focused as other social tactics. That’s why I’d prioritize other lead gen initiatives first or time box this to when there’s news worth sharing. Once you get your list of journalists and influencers set up as an audience, it only takes a second to flip the promote switch. The traffic it generates might not always be relevant, but backlinks are good and getting on the news is great for your personal brand.

To get you started with building your influencer lists, here are a couple premade ones:

11. Automated Prospecting on LinkedIn

Here’s a great strategy for outbound lead generation with LinkedIn from Josh Fechter at Badass Marketers and Founders (BAMF).

The concept is simple: using LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Dux-Soup, you can auto-connect with decision makers at your target companies and then download their emails to follow up with personalized content that you can generate with virtual assistants.

Step 1: Get the right tools

If you don’t have Sales Navigator, Dux-Soup, and LinkedIn Helper yet, get them.

These tools will allow you to auto-connect with a few hundred people per day on LinkedIn and download their contact information for campaigns.

Step 2: Set up searches in Sales Navigator

Go to Sales Navigator and search for people or companies.

For example, if you’re trying to connect with agency owners in New York with at least 11 people in their company, set those filters on the left-hand side.

Step 3: Start auto-connecting

Click on the Dux-Soup Chrome extension you installed and scrape the results. That will give you your prospects’ names, company names, and job titles.

Next, click LinkedIn Helper > Connect all 2nd Contacts in Search*. Add a brief invitation message and kick off the process. If you need help with LinkedIn Helper, read this.

*If you don’t have many connections, you can upload emails for LinkedIn to match. It will find profiles associated with the emails and let you send connection requests. Go to My Network > Add personal contacts > More options.

Avoid coming off salesy in the connection request, which runs the risk of LinkedIn banning your account. If you’re unsure how many connection requests to send out, err on the side of caution. Being too aggressive will result in getting banned. I wouldn’t connect with more than 100 – 150 people in 24 hours.

To manage your connection requests, go to My Network > Manage all. Retract requests 100 at a time if need be.

Josh says: “Make sure your total sent requests are less than 1,600. If you have over 1,600, then withdraw them by a hundred at a time. I’d wait several days without doing automation before withdrawing. Not everyone is active on LinkedIn all the time so it may take them a couple of days to accept your request.”

Step 4: Export emails from LinkedIn

After autoconnecting with your prospects, you can export their emails through LinkedIn.

Go to Me > Settings & Privacy > Privacy > Download your data > Request archive.

Once the export is ready, you’ll get an email with a link to download the CSV.

Here’s where the Dux-Soup info comes in handy. Use the index match function in your spreadsheet to match the people that Dux-Soup scraped from your Sales Navigator search to the connections you downloaded from LinkedIn.

Voila! Now you can send your targeted list of prospects emails. You can also upload the list as a custom audience and market to them on Facebook and Instagram.

Note: If you’re interested in automated InMail responses, Dux-soup doesn’t allow for that yet. GPZWeb has all-in-one Linkedin automation software ($99/year) that some growth hackers like, which might be worth checking out.

Step 5: Warm up prospects on Facebook

Upload the list of emails you’ve generated from LinkedIn as an audience on Facebook.

The goal is to promote content that features yourself more-so than your company so that people will recognize you when you start reaching out.

Josh says: “Most people will skip this step, but it only takes a couple of seconds. Just take a post that you’ve written on LinkedIn that explains a little bit about who you are and put it in the copy. Have a picture of you, and that’s the ad you’re going to run.”

Step 6: Add appreciation

In your spreadsheet of prospects and emails, add a column called “Appreciation.”

Now, hire a virtual assistant to go out and find a piece of recent news for each company you’re targeting so you can personalize your emails later.

Get them to go to Google News and search for each company, then drop one of the top links in the spreadsheet. Obviously, it might only work for midmarket and enterprise companies with some sort of news going on, but it’s worth trying out.

Using a virtual assistant for this manual process is faster and easier than doing it yourself. In no time, you’ll have tidbits of recent news for each prospect that you can put in your outreach messages.

Step 7: Write and send emails

If your regular email provider isn’t so hot on the idea of cold emails, sign up for a tool like Mailshake that’s built for outbound.

Upload your contacts and write an email that includes the appreciation link that the VAs found. Make sure these emails aren’t spammy or about what you’re selling. Try to form a common connection by noting something similar (a city you’re both in) or asking to set up a meeting (shows that you want to take time to get to know them).

Like introducing yourself to someone at the bar, this is the moment of truth—the first impression that could make this or break this—so spend time crafting a great opening message and don’t mess it up.

More of a visual learner? You’re in luck. Josh recorded a video explaining the whole tactic.

Step 1: Join Josh’s growth hacking group, BAMF

Step 2: Watch this clip.

12. Harvesting Viral Content

Sometimes you need to take a break from selling, selling, selling and nurture your audience for social media lead generation with other types of content.

By publishing intriguing, entertaining, and inspirational posts related to your business, you can build a following that relates to you and doesn’t see you as just someone else selling something. Moreover, this type of content is inherently more “viral.”

One problem: creating viral content is hard. Like, really hard.

Here’s a formula you can use to find viral content and republish it.

Step 1: Find social media sources

On Facebook, search for Pages in your niche and click the video section.

In the BAMF Bible, Josh Fechter says, “Look for videos that will pop based on engagement and relevance. Then I right click on the video title, copy the link address, and paste it into a Google Sheet to save for later.”

On Reddit, go to the top subreddits then filter by categories Hot, Rising, and Top.

Copy those links into your spreadsheet, too.

On Instagram, quotes do really well. Find an account that your target audience would be interested in and download their quote posts with DownloadGram.

You can get a VA or freelancer to remove the logos and add your own, which Fechter doesn’t feel bad about “because they’re pictures with quotes, not content to be taken seriously.” It’s a grey area, but I tend to agree.

On YouTube, find videos that will speak to your audience and copy the links into the spreadsheet, too.

On LinkedIn, find groups and profiles of your industry’s influencers and copy the links to their content to your spreadsheet, too.

When it’s time to post, you can put the links from your spreadsheet into your posts or save the videos to your machine and upload them directly. The latter gives the original source credit; the latter gives you more reach. Again, depends on your copyright policies, the types of content, and the source you’re using.

Step 2: Start outsourcing

Fechter says, “I don’t have time to collect viral videos, so I outsource the process using Upwork. I use this job description below to hire a freelancer. Within a few hours, I get several applicants and I’m ready to pass this process off to someone who’s more interested in doing it.”

Step 3: Put together a posting schedule

Fechter says, “If you have 30 – 40 pictures and 100 viral outlines, then you have enough content for a year, at least.” For the viral outlines, check out his Copywriting Bible (free).

He suggests a posting schedule like this:

Monday – Motivation picture/status

Tuesday – Grinding picture/status

Wednesday – Comic relief picture/status

Thursday – Appreciation picture/status

Friday – Gratefulness picture/status

For more about this tactic and to learn more from Josh Fechter, download his BAMF Bible and join his Facebook growth marketing Group, Badass Marketers and Founders.

13. Product Hunt Launch Formula

“Product Hunt is where MVPs and startups go to die or thrive.”

So starts Josh Fechter’s post on how he launched the #1 ebook on Product Hunt—ever. There’s no point rehashing the strategy here since Josh does a perfect job explaining it himself, so check it out on his website.

Here are the main steps:

  1. Involve contributors who can help promote your product
  2. Market through all of your channels
  3. Find a Hunter who can publish your product and promote it
  4. Oil the hype-train with pre-announcements
  5. Incorporate the launch with the rest of your funnel
  6. Celebrate to create FOMO
  7. Drive engagements back to Product Hunt

“If you launch successfully on Product Hunt,” Fechter says, “you can get thousands of subscribers and customers. If done wrong, you’ll realize you never had a product people wanted or took the time to build an audience.”

P.S. If you want to find Product Hunt’s top Hunters, go to 500 Hunters. Here’s a list of their Twitter profiles, which you can follow with Mass Follow for Twitter.

14. 10/10/10 Hashtag Strategy

Josh Fechter, founder of the wildly popular growth hacking group Badass Marketers and Founders, says your goal with hashtags should be to reach the Explore page. That’s how you bring in hundreds, if not thousands, of new likes and followers from a single post.

Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, and Fechter recommends using all of them in order to maximize your chance of hitting the Explore Page.

Specifically, you should use them in the following way.

  • 10 Smaller Hashtags (10,000 to 50,000 total posts)
  • 10 Mid-size Hashtags (50,000 to 200,000 total posts)
  • 10 Large Hashtags (200,000 – 2,000,000 total posts)

He says, “If you use this method with the right content and get a little lucky, you can scale up. You’ll get a handful of likes from being on the top posts of the smaller hashtags and a few more from the mid-size ones until you have so much engagement that the algorithm decides to try you out on the Explore page.”

To find the best hashtags, use these methods:

  • Display Purposes – a site for mining hashtags
  • Find influencers in your niche that have hit the Explore page and note their hashtags
  • Find one hashtag you like, search for it on Instagram, and then check out the “related hashtags” underneath
  • Look up your competitors and see what they’re using

Finally, remember to always rotate hashtags. Save a few lists of 30 hashtags as notes on your phone so you can keep them fresh and avoid penalties IG may be dishing out.

15. 2x Instagram Views in Stories

Here’s a hot tip: when you’re tagging locations on Instagram, always tag a specific spot.

Say you’re walking around the Lower East Side in NYC.

Rather than tagging “Lower East Side”, tag a specific business that you’re visiting or passing by. That way, you’ll have a better chance at being included in the story of the larger encompassing area, like “Lower East Side” or “Manhattan.”

Getting on a location story will get your Story more views. Josh Fetcher, founder of the growth hacking group BAMF, says when he makes it on the Pacific Beach story, his Story gets 100-400 more views.

Unfortunately, he says, it rarely translates to followers for most people.

Why? Because their content sucks.

If you want this to work, you need to up your story game. It has to stand out. Turn your camera around and talk directly into it. Or, use your story to tease your latest post or run a giveaway to drive people to your main profile.

You don’t have to be eating at the Meatball Shop to tag it. Instead, you could stand out front and talk about the time you met Adrien Brody there and snapped a picture with him only to lose your phone before you could prove it to anyone (true personal story…ugh).

It’s simple, actionable, and free. Don’t expect to blow up overnight, but try tagging business locations exclusively for a few days or weeks and see what happens.

16. Follow/Unfollow on Instagram

Follow/unfollow strategies are controversial, but there’s no denying they work. If they were spells in the Harry Potter universe, you wouldn’t be condemned to Azkaban for using them, but let’s just say they’d probably be in the restricted section at Hogwarts.

For follow/unfollow to work best, the BAMF Bible recommends finding large influencers already in your niche and to follow around 100 of their followers at a time.

Usually, 10-25% will follow you back.

“The idea is that if they have already followed large influencer A who has similar content to you, they’ll be interested in yours too and follow you back.” (BAMF Bible)

Wait a day or two, then unfollow the 100 people you followed yesterday and follow another 100.

It’s best to focus on people who like and comment on the content of large influencers’ content rather than just the people who follow them. You end up with a follower base that is full of people who engage. Your growth rate will be slower, but the people who do follow you back will be much higher-quality followers.

Warning: Don’t get carried away. If you start following/unfollowing too many people, your account is going to reek of inauthenticity. Ever seen ratios like these?

No one believes these numbers unless you’re Coke or Kim Kardashian. Worst-case scenario, Instagram bans you. Equally bad, your credibility tanks.

Public Service Announcement

To be 100% clear, I never recommend the follow/unfollow strategy. There are better ways to build demand, but a lot of them take cash to get started.

And let’s be real here. Telling many of you not to do follow/unfollow is like preaching abstinence in high school. No matter what I say, a lot of marketers ain’t gonna listen.

The most I can do is inform you. Plus, I’d rather you practice safe F/UF using the tactics above than wind up getting burned. Just realize it’s going to be an uphill battle to nurture these fleeting followers who have no interest or time investment with you or your brand to convert into anything valuable.

For more effective and ethical Instagram strategies to grow your following and generate leads, check out these other articles:

17. Powerlikes and Engagement Pods

Powerlikes are likes and comments from a network of large accounts (usually with at least 20k followers, but as high as 100k+) as soon as your post goes live.

The idea is to use Instagram’s algorithm to your advantage.

“A post’s first ten minutes are important for gaining traction and determining how it’ll perform,” says Zach Benson, founder of Assistagram. “It works two-fold: by flooding traffic from the large accounts over to yours from the ‘Following’ tab, as well as triggering the algorithm to recognize that large accounts are enjoying that piece of content. This will increase the post’s reach and its chances significantly in hitting the Explore page.”

Think of Powerlikes like a type of engagement pods with large accounts.

What’s an engagement pod?

An engagement pod is a group of Instagram users that band together in “pods” and pledge to like everything that anyone in the pod posts.

Many engagement pods use a messenger app called Telegram to automate the process.

“These days, no one dares to run a pod via DMs. Instagram caught onto that one fast. Facebook groups have also shut down for the same reason. Now the place to be for IG pods is Telegram. It is popular for a few reasons. Not only are messages encrypted, but the whole thing is programmable. What that means is that people have found a way to automate certain parts of the actual management of IG pods.”

– Josh Fechter, founder of Badass Marketers and Founders

Here’s how an automated engagement pod with Telegram works:

  1. At :50 each hour, the bot asks everyone who wants to participate in that round to drop their accounts. This means you type in the username of the account you’d like engagement on. E.g., @theroamess.
  2. At :00 (on the hour), the bot spits out a list of everyone who dropped their account. During peak times like 9am EST, the list is super long. The longer the list, the more engagement you’ll be getting, therefore the better.
  3. Everyone goes and engages with every account on the list and reports back when they’re done with ‘D @username’ so the bot can check. In some groups, you’re only required to like the most recent post. In XPLOR you like the last three posts. This only works if everyone participates, so Telegram round hosts don’t hesitate to ban leechers.

Here’s a screenshot of what the last step looks like with one of the most exclusive engagement groups, XPLOR Rounds.

To give you an idea of the exclusivity around some of these pods, the XPLOR group has prerequisites of 80k+ followers and 2k+ average likes per post just to join #instagramgoals

There is a divide in opinion on whether it’s better to use general rounds (where everyone is of different niches) or niche rounds (where everyone is in your niche, e.g.., fashion.).

Benson says, “I’m of the opinion that doing engagement rounds with those in your niche always trumps rounds across niches, but you might find that there aren’t enough people in your niche alone to have any real impact. Rounds are only effective if there are at least 50 participants, and if you’re, say, a mommy + vegan + travel influencer, you might be too “niched in”. Stick to general rounds with more participants.”

How much do Powerlikes cost?

Benson cites $1,200-$1,700 a month, depending on how many likes per day. Contact him at if you’re interested.

18. Giveaway Loops on Instagram

Giveaways have been around since cavemen invented the wheel and needed to sell it.

While they don’t always result in the most qualified entrants, you can’t deny giveaways provide a jump in the number of people paying attention to you—for a while, at least.

On Instagram, a giveaway loop is when you partner with other accounts in your niche to attract their followers. It’s usually affordable since you split the cost of the prizes between participants, and it’s more effective than a regular giveaway due to a wider reach.

Want to see one in action? Search for #loopgiveaways on Instagram.

If you’re interested in running your own giveaway loop, check out Monique Danao’s thorough explanation on the Schedugram blog. I’ll condense and summarize the steps here, but if you want to dig deeper into any of them, visit Monique’s article.

Step 1: Choose a theme

A theme can be a type of product (e.g., kids’ books) or a type of business (e.g., salons).

Pretend you’re an animal groomer. Your theme should be about dog treats or cat toys, not tech gadgets or sports events. You need something that’s relevant to your brand.

Alternatively, if you own a local business, you could invite other businesses in your area. Maybe all your downtown neighbors want to get in on the action?

Step 2: Find accounts to invite

Monique says there’s no rule about the number of accounts you should invite. She’s seen loops with only 4 accounts and others with as many as 50.

In general, invite people who are in your niche since their audience is comprised of people who are interested in brands like yours. If you’re a dog groomer, invite other dog groomers, vets, animal rescue services, etc.

Step 3: Determine the rules

Once you’ve found others to partake in the giveaway, settle on the guidelines.

Should participants be located in a certain country? Should they be a certain age range? What are the steps required to enter the loop?

Don’t reinvent the wheel here. Look up other loop giveaways and copy a format you like.

Monique says, “Don’t forget to follow the FTC guidelines. One of its rules is to put a concise disclosure in the caption. Violation of this rule could result in suspensions or fines. You can add this disclosure at the bottom of the caption.”

Step 4: Decide on the prize

The biggest variable of success in your giveaway is the prize. Make it awesome.

Some hosts collect cash from their participants (anywhere from $25 to $200) so they can pony up a good prize. Other hosts require people to pitch in a prize of their own—e.g., participant 1 would provide a gift card, participant 2 would provide a gift set, and participant 3 would provide a product.

If you need giveaway ideas, check this out: Best of the Best Promo Ideas for Lead Gen.

Step 5: Create the post and schedule it

Everyone on the loop should use the same image and caption. This avoids confusion and makes it easy to promote accurate information.

Map out the order of the accounts carefully and make sure all the tags are correct. The whole thing will fall apart if someone tags the wrong account.

At this point, you could also prep a “Now Closed” image to post the end of the giveaway. Alternately, you can delete the giveaway post once the contest is over.

Lastly, determine the hashtags you want to use and when you’ll go live. It’s important for everyone in the loop to post at the same time.
If people mess it up, they’ll break the loop.

Once everything’s ready to go, hit publish.

Step 6: Promote the giveaway

Now that the giveaway loop is live, it’s time to go full Don Draper.

Light up all your marketing channels—email, YouTube, blog, podcast, etc.—and include a link to the initial giveaway post on Instagram.

If the results are mediocre, crack open your wallet and spend some cash on ads to spark the fire. (Remember, it takes money to make money.)

Step 7: Announce the winner

Once your giveaway ends, it’s time to announce the lucky winner.

Most giveaways announce the winner by posting an image of the prizes with the winning account tagged and captioned. Everyone who participated in the loop should also share the announcement.

Step 8: Retain your new followers

The giveaway may be over, but the battle has just begun—the battle to keep as many of your new followers as possible.

Guaranteed after the giveaway ends, a good chunk of people will vanish.

Monique says an effective way to keep people around is to reward them. The reward doesn’t have to be expensive. You can email participants a discount coupon or deal.

The great thing about getting people’s emails is that even if they unfollow you, you’ll be able to contact them down the road. It’s also important to ask people for feedback, which will help build relationships. See what prizes would interest them next. Ask if they had any problems with the giveaway. Recommend other giveaways.

Final word: Are giveaways worth it?

There’s a lot of debate whether giveaway loops are positive or negative. Some say they flood your account with unengaged followers and hurt your future reach, while others are ecstatic with the spike in followers.

“They’re definitely worth it,” Monique says. “With a great giveaway, you can get discovered by thousands of people. There’s always a risk that they will unfollow you. It’s your job to create posts that will attract new followers and keep the ones that you already have.”

In short, loop giveaways aren’t perfect—but nothing is. Try one out and see what happens.

P.S. If you’re a data person, I recommend reading this analysis on giveaway loops. Great look at the potential downsides for larger brands and influencers.

19. Quora Lead Generation

A strong Quora presence can pay off in droves.

Beyond lead generation, it helps you establish thought leadership in your niche and might get your content syndicated to major publications like Time and Inc. Magazine.

Josh Fechter is the king of Quora. I’ve learned a lot from him in this area, and here are his top ten strategies to drive traffic, build community, and create a huge following—fast.

Step 1: Put a good profile together

Start by optimizing your profile according to your niche. Include the following:

  • Detailed About Me section
  • Areas of expertise
  • Interests
  • Cities
  • Schools & colleges you’ve attended
  • Previous companies
  • Connect your other social media accounts

The tagline from your bio shows at the top of every answer:

Josh suggests that even though the tagline is customizable for each topic you write about, stick to one. It creates stronger recognition across the questions you answer.

Step 2: Make your bio work harder

When it comes to Quora, a good bio is the basis of good lead generation.

Think of it like a landing page. Include elements such as:

  • A relevant offer
  • Social validation
  • A memorable picture
  • Links to your other content

Here’s Josh’s bio:

He says, “I ensure to link to BAMF Media organically, then I promote weekly growth hacks (which have generated me over 3,000 signups). Above the offer, I include social proof  (18,000+ members) to increase the conversion rate.”

Here’s Nicolas Cole’s bio. He uses a mix of brand names, features, imagery, and relevant offers to drive leads.

Step 3: Find the right questions 10X faster

“To find lead-generating questions,” Josh says, “identify a few of your favorite Quora writers in your niche. Once you’ve found your favorites, bookmark the topics they follow  by clicking on who he/she is following, then selecting the Topics tab.”

Now here’s the secret. Before you start bookmarking every question, look for the ones with the following attributes:

  • 7:1 ratio of followers to the number of answers provided
  • A lot of followers but many bad answers
  • A question that you can provide a personal image to complement
  • An emotional pull. This pull makes it easier to write more genuine answers with thought-provoking stories
  • Relevant to your bio offer

Josh says, “The fastest way to identify a poorly written answer is to look at whether the writer focuses on self-promotion rather than providing value. For example, in the question below, the top answer has a promotional link in the first sentence and provides little value to the reader. Moreover, there’s a 7:1 ratio of followers to answers. Jackpot!”

He suggests searching for questions by diving into the individual topics you’ve chosen and saving the best questions for later by clicking on the three dots next to a question and selecting “Answer Later.”

Don’t have time to sort through hundreds or thousands of Quora questions yourself?

Outsource it.

“Ask a virtual assistant to go through a list of 100 to 200 topics to find the best questions according to the 7:1 ratio of followers to answers. Tell them to create a spreadsheet where they have columns for hyperlinked Quora questions to their original source, follower ratio, topic name, and a 1-5 rating of how good the other answers are to the question (1 being the best).”

Fechter has his virtual assistant provide him thirty questions every Monday.

Step 4: Showcase your work beautifully

The most successful Quora influencers use images in almost every answer.

If you don’t have a photo relevant to your answer, use or

Top writers use images of themselves or celebrities to generate a higher click-through rate on their answers. In the picture below, James Altucher uses a personal picture with well-known Shark Tank investor, Daymond John:

Pictures generate more upvotes because readers like personal and genuine posts.

Step 5: Write drafts like you’re journaling

The top-performing posts on Quora include personal stories, excellent advice, or humor.

If you can incorporate one—or better yet, all three—into your responses, you’ll stand out as one of the better Quora writers.

Here are several phrases Fechter says Quora readers respond to well:

“Imagine this…”

“Let me explain…”

“Then everything changed…”

Another one of his great tips is to write out dialogue and re-enact events. Here’s an example excerpt from one of his Quora answers that received +200K views:

He says, “By immersing the reader in the scene using dialogue, they develop a strong emotional connection to my story, resulting in more upvotes.”

Step 6: Answer…with style

Here are some A++ tips about styling your content for more engagement:

  • Be human – i.e., use metaphors and similes to describe your emotions
  • Optimize for mobile – make your paragraphs one or two sentences
  • Bold your first sentence, important statements, and transitions
  • Remove all extra words, including “very,” “really,” and “that”
  • Use heavy contrast – e.g., “little did I know it would turn for the worst”
  • Reflect on pain – e.g., “I could barely crawl out of bed”
  • Inspire – always end on a positive call to action
  • Use bullet points and numbering
  • Italicize most questions

Here’s how Josh employed a lot of these tips to write a piece that generated 340K views:

Step 7: Keep going when you strike gold

“If you see an answer going viral,” Josh says, “then write a follow-up answer with a plug and include one in your ‘pinned answer’ because you’ll have a huge spike of people looking at other answers you’ve written.”

The trick is to make it look organic.

For example, put a link at the end of an article to a helpful resource with no opt-in.

DON’T: Make hard asks (Start your free trial here!) or use click bait (“For tips 11 – 20, go here!”) to get people to visit your website.

DO: link to your company without it looking like a plug. E.g., “If this is a subject you’re interested in, we’ve written many articles about it. Read them here.”

Another strategy Josh recommends is including a backlink in a list post. That way, it won’t look like you’re promoting yourself.

“Do this right after one of your answers goes viral,” he says. “For example, I answered the question “What are the most promising Silicon Valley startups to watch for in 2017?” Soon after, I noticed my answer to “What is the one worst decision you took in your life that changed your life?” start to get huge traction. This enabled me to plug the company I worked at during that time without it looking spammy.”

Bonus tips:

  • If you’ve got a low-barrier offer like joining a Facebook Group or Slack community, use it. It’s less promotional than a direct link to your website.
  • Don’t use links that go straight to a landing page, a page with a pop-up that appears right away, or an above the fold opt-in.
  • Use a line (created by typing many hyphens in a row) to separate your CTA from your answer. Make sure the CTA is relevant to the question you answered.

Step 8: Know what keywords you want to dominate…then target them

Keyword research is a whole other topic that could fill a novel.

For now, I’ll leave it at this: Quora is a ranking machine when it comes to Google.

Take the example “best onboarding software for saas.” The first two results are on Quora. If you had a SaaS company, this is prime Google real estate to capitalize on.

Using the metrics from your preferred keyword tool (Moz, Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, SEMrush, Mangools, Keyword Finder, etc.), make a list of keywords to take into consideration when writing Quora answers.

By answering questions based on keyword phrases that have moderate to high search volume, you’re going to be far more successful than if you wing it.

Step 9: Take your keywords and questions on a date

Once you’ve got your list of keywords, search for pre-existing questions related to them.

If there are pre-existing questions, prioritize them with the criteria from step 3 (good ratio of followers to the number of answers provided, a lot of followers but many bad answers, and a question that you can provide a personal image to complement).

If there are NOT questions that use the keywords you want to optimize for, get a friend to ask one. Make sure to include the keywords in the description of the question, too.

Careful: If Quora thinks you’re gaming the system, they’ll bring down the ban hammer. Split answers 50/50 among keyword-optimized questions and other questions.

Step 10: Get the attention of big players

If you want to get the attention of someone big or small on Quora, find questions they’ve answered and join the conversation. Tag them, too.

Think of it as relationship building. Once you’ve built up enough rapport, offer to take the conversation offline over coffee or a call.

“With this tactic,” Josh says, “I gained a new fan of my writing. He’s one of the top voices in B2B marketing. I’ve tagged him multiple times, answered many of the same questions, and suggested edits to his answers. In return, many big players will tag you, resulting in an influx of traffic to your bio which will generate more leads and followers.”

Step 11: Get featured in Inc., Time, and Business Insider

There’s a chance that if you write a great answer, Quora could publish it on major media outlets. To increase your odds, target niches frequently syndicated to publications and carefully watched by Quora’s media team.

You can also ping their staff when you feel one of your answers is worthy.

“To know what topics to contribute in, find someone with the phrase ‘Quora Media and Publishing Team’ in their bio,” says Josh. “From there, you can select the topics they follow to get an idea of where they’re looking for answers. The fastest way to find Quora staff is to dive into the answers of questions to do with Quora Publishing.”

If all else fails? Stick to answering the most popular questions on Quora. The more people who follow an answer, the more likely it will get seen by the right pair of eyes.

20. Cross-Interest Targeting

What Larry Kim calls the inverted unicorn ad targeting method, I call cross-interest targeting. Tomato, tomahto.

It hinges on the idea that you can maximize Facebook relevance scores by not only targeting the right people (e.g. marketers with director titles), but by also layering in completely unrelated interests.

The example Larry uses to illustrate this strategy is “liberals who watch Star Trek Deep Space Nine”. Those are two big audiences, and the trick is to focus on the overlap.

Then, he created a campaign highlighting the dangers of fake news.

What does Star Trek have do with liberals? Nothing.

But it allowed him to target people who would might understand this obscure joke.

“If you have no clue what this joke is all about, that is the beauty of this strategy,” Larry says. “You would have never seen the ad in the first place! It was engineered to appeal specifically to this audience. It worked: the Star-Trek loving liberals engaged with the post, leading to strong engagement metrics and a Facebook Relevance Score of 7/10.”

At Vendasta, our content team tried something similar with Game of Thrones.

We wrote a blog post that played on themes from Game of Thrones (called Game of Agencies) and put together some sweet posters as the lead magnet.

Little did we know at the time, we weren’t the first to do this…

Before the campaign launched, my CEO forwarded me an episode of the SaaStr podcast with Sangram Vajre, Founder & CMO of Terminus.

Sangram’s story is a cautionary tale for cross-interest targeting:

“I have a great example that shows how wrong it can go. I have a customer, previously, who created an infographic for Game of Thrones, and it was an incredible Game of Thrones infographic. And they had over 10k or so people download it, and the marketing team was excited.

They said, ‘We have crushed every single record in the history of the company for generating leads.’ And they went to the sales team and said, ‘Here are 10k leads. You guys should now close so much more given our close rate.’ And the sales team was excited—high five. The week was all about festivities.

At the end of the week, the sales leader came back to marketing and said, ‘Never ever send me those leads again.’ And the marketing team is like, ‘What are you talking about? You got 10k leads!’ He said, ‘Yes, they’re all interested in Game of Thrones. Nobody even knows about what we do, and the sales team is not even able to create opportunities with the majority of them.’”

-Sangram Vajre, Founder & CMO of Terminus

Do I think that Sangram’s story means you shouldn’t cross-interest target?

No. Absolutely not.

The problem with Sangram’s example isn’t the cross-interest targeting—it’s that they delivered too many top-of-funnel leads that weren’t ready to talk to them. Their marketing team could have used the Game of Thrones theme to develop more middle-funnel or bottom-funnel content instead and still captured the interest of their audience but tied it to their business in a more meaningful way.

Let that be a lesson: cross-interest targeting is powerful, but like anything, if it’s not tied to your brand, it can generate unqualified leads that sales won’t be happy with.

21. Building a Social Community

Here’s how to start a successful online community according to one of the best tribe-builders out there, Josh Fechter.

I’ve been following Josh for a couple of years now, and I can honestly say he’s in the top five or six marketers who have provided the most value for me and my team.

As a growth marketer, he has generated over 200,000 social media followers and built one of the most active founder communities on Facebook (Badass Marketers and Founders) with 15,000+ members. As an author, he has penned some of the most helpful growth hacking guides on the internet. Check out his books asap.

Here’s how Josh says he built his online communities from scratch.

Step 1: Connect with communities at scale

The fastest way to build a community on social media is to start with cold outreach.

Tactics like content marketing, SEO, and organic social posting are great, but they take time to build momentum. Even if you spent months executing them well, you’ll likely wind up with modest results because they haven’t had time to snowball.

To start the outreach process, begin by connecting with your target audience on LinkedIn. This will allow you to download their emails once you’ve connected, retarget them on other social networks, and email them.

To connect with your audience at scale on LinkedIn, follow these steps:

  1. Set up searches for your target audience in Sales Navigator
  2. Use LinkedIn Helper to autoconnect with your audience
  3. Export your connections’ emails from LinkedIn
  4. Use Dux-Soup to scrape your Sales Navigator searches and compare to your email export, which will determine which emails are from your target audience.
  5. Upload email list of your target audience as a custom audience on Facebook and start warming them up with promoted content.

If you need help, follow the detailed directions here: Automated Prospecting on LinkedIn.

Step 2: Build rapport

Now that you’ve automated the connection process, it’s time to start warming up your audience with content.

The content you share at this phase should be packed with value. Not just good information, but actual tools and templates. Check out these examples:

Avoid going straight into sales mode. Build familiarity before you send your first email.

Additionally, after you’ve been promoting helpful content for a while, Josh suggests running a rapport campaign. You can get a virtual assistant to find positive articles about each person’s company on Google and then reach out with a note that says:

“After I connected with you on LinkedIn, I came across this article about your company, Engagio. Great to see people in my network making a positive impact. I couldn’t help but reach out because of [x] and [y].”

Do this after you’ve already been running ads on them a while. Then, once you’ve nurtured them this far, it’s time for the ask.

Step 2: Set up Mailshake

Purchase three Mailshake accounts for sending bulk emails. Mailshake is a platform built specifically for cold outreach, and it will help you scale your sequences.

Next, sign-up for a G Suite account.

Use a throwaway domain that’s not connected to your primary business but sounds relevant to your brand. For example,

Josh suggests creating six different email addresses tied to one or two domains via Google. You’ll start by sending out 20 emails/day from each account for the first week, then 50/day the second week, then 150/day the third week. The idea is you don’t want to go too aggressive off the bat or you might get banned. If you really want to play it safe, stay below 300/day per email address and start off at 20/day for the first three weeks.

Step 3: Create emails to join your community

Here’s the exact copy Josh uses in his cold outreach emails:

Outreach Email Copy

Hey [first name], I noticed we’re connected LinkedIn. I came across this article about your company, [company name]. Great to see people in my network making a positive impact.

For this reason, I wanted to personally invite you to a founder Facebook Group I run that’s very active (5,000+ members).

The Founder’s Facebook Group is moderated by a few of the best, so it’s invite-only. 

Our moderators:

[Credible person]

[Credible person]

[Credible person] 

You can join the Facebook Group here:

If you want to know more info, feel free to reply.


Josh Fechter

If they don’t open the first email, he automatically sends a follow-up email two days later that’s the same except for this line at the beginning:

Follow-up Copy

Hey [first name],

Wanted to ensure you saw this email from the other day.

He says it works well because chances are people forgot the original value proposition or never saw it.

Here are some of the response he receives from this type of cold email:

“Thanks for reaching out! Glad to see you’ve been building this great community. I just requested to join your FB group and look forward to connecting. If there’s anything I could do to help out in any way, please let me know.”

“Hi Josh! Thank you for your email, I joined the FB group ;)”

“Hi Joshua, Thanks for the invitation! Looks like an interesting group. I just sent a request to join it. Looking forward to participating in the community.”

For every 100 people he emails, he says he gets maybe one complaint. The solution? Don’t email them again.

Step 6: Get People to Say “Yes”

“The more people get used to following instructions from you,” Josh says, “the more likely they’ll engage with a new call to action. It starts with the first comment. Once someone invests in commenting on a post, they’re more likely comment again.”

He goes on to say that you need to get people to open up on a more personal level.

In order you do that, you need to open up first.

How? Write about personal experiences and tie them into your audience’s profession.

Next, leverage the comments. When someone comments on a Facebook post, reply with a question to get them to expand on their point. The more comments they post, the more invested they’ll feel in the group and to you.

Final word: Community Building

If you follow the steps in this strategy to a tee, you should have social media community up and running in no time.

Need more explanation? No problem. Josh has done an excellent job documenting his process in a variety of places. I suggest the following:

Download all of the templates and swipe files from this article!

Download all of the social media lead generation templates from this article and put them into action immediately. Skip the guesswork and save countless hours starting from scratch with 20+ swipe files.

Get all of the templates

BONUS: 6 Advanced Social Media Lead Generation Hacks

So you’ve gone through the 21 social media lead generation tactics above and you’re feeling pretty confident, huh?

You should be.

If you execute even a fraction of them properly, you will be well on your way to generating significant growth for your business through social media.

And yet, you’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. Now it’s time for something deeper.

The next six tactics are for advanced social media lead generation, mostly because they require software skills or coding outside most people’s comfort zone.

It’s the kind of stuff you find at the back of the textbook. The skills that most students ignore because they’re too hard to learn but will ultimately separate the wheat from the chaff. What kind of student are you? Try these out and see.

BONUS Social Media Lead Generation Tactic 1: How to Steal All Your Competitor’s LinkedIn Fans

BONUS Social Media Lead Generation Tactic 2: How to Find All the Social Profiles of Your Competitor’s Facebook Group Members

BONUS Social Media Lead Generation Tactic 3: How I Turned 5,000 of My Competitor’s Customers into a Facebook Custom Audience

BONUS Social Media Lead Generation Tactic 4: How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Connections for High Engagement

BONUS Social Media Lead Generation Tactic 5: How to Hack the B2B Market With Facebook Ads

BONUS Social Media Lead Generation Tactic 6: How to Break the Internet with PR

Get more lead generation strategies

Learn everything you need to know about lead generation, from tactics to tools and salaries.

Go to Lead Generation Blueprints