Leads from Social: Affinity, Discovery, and Validation

Getting leads from social media activity is always the barrier — mentally — for people to accept social media marketing as a legitimate part of their marketing tool belt.

Twitter, my favorite of the social media networks, allows you to do so much of your marketing ask: brand awareness, customer engagement, customer service, promotion, discovery and validation, and, of course, sales.

And with sales, I say this. Stop expecting first-click leads.

Stop expecting first-click leads from Twitter. They’re never first-click anyway. Share on X

You’ll never get first-click leads from Twitter.

I say never, but it’s probably an exaggeration. Asking social media to solve your lead-generation problem is short-sighted at best.

First of all, it will fail — miserably. Secondly, your focus on leads will cause you to consciously or even subconsciously make decisions out of fear and desperation. Those are almost never good decisions.

Desperation shows fear. Customers can smell that. Be positive and helpful instead. Share on X

Pardon a crude example but to put it bluntly, getting leads without effort is like hiring a prostitute for sex. You may solve your immediate needs but you’ve built no relationship, have poor client expectations, and will only have favors for money. That’s not a realistic view of social media marketing or a good way to build a reputation.

If someone asks me about ROI one more time, why I’ll …

No seriously. When people ask about return on investment (ROI), I think they don’t understand the term. Because they don’t.

I break down relationship marketing into three main areas: affinity, discovery, and validation. These principles can be applied to nearly any social network, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll talk about Twitter.

Building Affinity

Dictionary.com defines affinity as “a natural liking for or attraction to a person, thing, idea, etc.”

Who doesn’t want to be liked? Where do you ever shop, voluntarily, where you’re not treated well?

Affinity is so important, Yelp’s entire business model relies upon it. Good experiences create good reviews. Conversely, bad experiences, horrible reviews.

In the movie, Pretty Woman, the main character isn’t treated well in Beverly Hills. Confessing to the manager, who isn’t delighted with her either, she says that people were mean to her.

I have to buy a dress for dinner tonight. And nobody will help me.

Boom. Empathy. This is the scene in the movie where she becomes a person, not just a prostitute (sorry, but I dig in on my analogies).

How does affinity work on social media? Easy.

People tweet. You respond.

The key is mirroring. If they’re having a good day, rejoice with them. If they’re having a bad day, express sympathy.

How do you feel when people acknowledge you? Do that on social. Share on X

This doesn’t take a lot of time — it’s the best way to reach out to people to let them know that they matter to you.

Here’s a perfect example. Adam, a friend of WPblab, talked about starting a WordPress meetup in his hometown in New Zealand.

Yesterday, he did it.

He mentioned both me and Jason Tucker so we would see the tweet.


To Which I replied,

(Epic, with a High Five Gif and a second tweet as well.)

Do you think that mattered to him? How about to me? How about to Jason?


Facilitating Discovery

Discovery is the process by which someone finds you. Easy enough concept. With Twitter, especially, people search for what they are looking for. They search trends, hashtags, and keywords.

By using relevant, keyword-like hashtags, you can be found by current and potential customers.

Use hashtags like you would search in the yellow pages to be more successful on Twitter.  I suggest geolocation (like #OrangeCounty) and categories like #automotive or #plumber. This allows people to find you — we call that discovery.

Customer Validation

Validation is the process by which people check you out after discovering you. This may be an introduction at a Meetup or after they hear you present at a Chamber of Commerce.

People will search for your name and see what comes up. Have you done a search? What are the results?

How did you make your last buying decision? Did it involve a search? Share on X

Google your name. Seriously. But do it in an incognito window. Go a few pages deep.

You can use a service like BrandYourself.com to monitor these kinds of things as well as setting up a Google Alert for your name, but that’s a different blog post.

When a customer discovers you, you are on the path to getting leads from social media. This is part of their journey. The journey to a lead begins with a thousand Google searches. Well, maybe five. You get the point.

How do you optimize the validation process?

You can optimize the validation process by publishing good content that matters to you and your audience.

I shouldn’t post about real estate. Why? Because I’m not a real estate professional or a mortgage broker and I don’t do social media for that industry. Real Estate isn’t bad; it’s not relevant to me.

What is relevant is social media strategy, tips, and WordPress community posts.

Where are these things published? I publish on my blog, I post on Facebook, I tweet, I write posts on Medium.com, I am a guest author for friends, I appear on podcasts and shows, I participate in my industry.

Public participation online is publishing. What are you publishing? Share on X

The validation process is the final process of getting leads from social. They like you. They’ve found you. They’ve searched for you and believe you are credible and trustworthy.

Where did the lead really come from?

Now they pickup the phone and call you.

How did you record that lead? Was it from your phone number, the website, or a tweet where you congratulated a peer? Did you ask?

Affinity, discovery, and validation are all important steps in getting leads from social; and first-click is never really the first click.

6 responses to “Leads from Social: Affinity, Discovery, and Validation”

  1. Great post, Bridget! Unfortunately, people do expect ROI, but they forget to ask. **Sigh** I love the incognito window idea! Good one!

    This post is giving me lots of ideas.