Guerilla Outreach: Lead Generation for Social Marketers


If you work in social media, then you already know that the backbone of any successful marketing department is lead generation — the process of identifying and converting new potential customers for your brand. This makes perfect sense in traditional marketing, but as a social media manager, you’ll often find yourself being judged on the number of followers you can generate for your clients’ brands, essentially making the people themselves your product.

Plenty of other bloggers have written at length about traditional lead generation, but that’s not why we’re here today. Lead generation seeks to build a customer base — we’re here to build fans. So what do we do? We go guerilla.

What is Guerilla Marketing?

Guerilla marketing is the process of identifying your competitor’s disenchanted fans and making them yours, and we’ve made it an integral part of the social media strategies we develop for our clients. People spend their free time online dishing out their opinions of brands for fun (and for free), so all you need to know is where to look. Once you’ve found them, you need only engage. There are definitely right and wrong ways to do this, however, so follow along for our best practices for generating leads using social.

Where to Look

There are oh so many outlets for consumers to express their opinions online these days. Where do you start?

Not all platforms are equal when it comes to outreach. For example: Yelp is a fantastic place to research your competition’s weak spots. Let’s say you find a complaint and you want to insert yourself into the conversation. How would you? Yelp doesn’t allow brands to comment on competitors’ reviews, so any information you collect could only be used internally.

Stick to platforms that give you open-ended access for interacting with fans as a brand, like Twitter and Instagram. You always want to make sure you are commenting directly at your lead, too, and not at your competitor.

Find the Right Tool for the Job

Finding competitor complaints on Twitter and Instagram natively is possible, but the process is imperfect and tedious. To simplify things, consider using a monitoring tool. As free apps go, Google Alerts are a great place to start. Setting up an alert allows you to track mentions of your competitors across the web. And, hey, you can’t beat the price.

For those with a marketing budget, we recommend Conversocial. You can set it up to track your competitors, industry and branded hashtags, and whatever keywords your team can come up with. You can also reply to almost anything directly from the tool.

What to Say

Once you’ve identified your lead, it’s time to engage! For starters, be positive. Social followers are emotional, so be personal! The goal here is to advertise in such a way that people are not feeling advertised to. This is tricky to do, and some (ourselves included) would consider it an art. Identify their complaint, address it, make your pitch, and get out. A lot of the time, you’ll get ignored, but when it lands you’ll have some really great results to bring back to your client.


What Not to Say

It’s easy to think of marketing as a battle, but there’s no need to be nasty. Don’t trash talk, and leave your competitors out of it when possible. You’re not trying to start a conversation with them, so make sure you don’t use their handles when you’re engaging with their soon-to-be-former fans. All you need to do is identify what makes your brand better, and you’ll gain new fans in no time.

Just be positive and personal!

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