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Social media has been a godsend for marketers because it lets you create relationships, tell your story, and target your audience based on their preferences. The platforms know what they have to offer, and let you get incredibly specific about who you want to reach out to with your paid advertising.

Still, it can be hard to figure out how to translate good social numbers into leads that can help you grow your business. It's important to remember that this is a multi-step process, a buying journey that begins with solid engagement and ends with a purchase. There's a lot that happens in between, however, and a lot of tools to help you do better.

1.     Solid content from the start.

We say this again and again, but it bears repeating: people buy from brands they know, like, and trust. Developing that familiarity (and especially trust) isn't something that generally happens overnight. You need to earn credibility, and you do that by making content that helps you pop up again and again on your target audience's feed.

2.     Know your audience.

The other key for turning social success into sales success is to get really specific about who your audience is. You should know everything about them: what they like to read, what music they like to listen to, what brands they're interested in, how old they are, what their budget is like, and more.

Make sure to do your homework on your buyer personas, because this information will help you take advantage of the tools that social media networks offer you for advertising. The more that you can segment your audience and craft specific messages that speak to them, the more you'll succeed. Targeting options based on your own contact lists or organizations that you're scouting make this approach even more powerful.

Because so much of social media is driven by its own users' curation (who they chose to follow, who they chose to block, what network they chose to use), you need to also make your marketing niche-oriented. Supporting these different campaigns with custom landing pages is also a no-brainer.

3.     Taking advantage of retargeting.

LinkedIn has recently added some new features that bring it up to speed with the capabilities of Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and other social media networks' advertising. One of the most powerful of these is retargeting: specifically reaching out to users who have already visited your website.

The great part about retargeting is that it's highly efficient. If they've already visited your website, you know they're interested--you just need to find a way to win them over. You can hit them with a special discount, or even just pitch them from a different angle. It's like getting a free opportunity at a second chance.

Social media is a great way to generate more leads that convert. To do that, you need to put yourself in a position to take advantage of the targeting and retargeting tools they offer, which means knowing your audience and crafting a message that appeals to them. If you can pull that off, you'll see your marketing pay off in spades.