See if this story sounds familiar to you as a business owner or marketer:

Time and time again I’ve been mingling my way through a local chamber mixer, responding and connecting with people online, or meeting with professionals when invariably one of them comes up and says, “Would you like me to send hot leads to your business?”

Well, yes. I’d also like an even million dollars, but I’d assume there was a catch in both situations.

You can use social media to help drive “hot leads” to your business.

The three steps below will help:

  1. Develop referral partnerships with businesses that share your audience.

Businesses often have the frame of mind that social media is used to attract new customers, so they gear their entire social media campaign around… attracting new customers.

While this isn’t inherently a bad thing, a great way to use social media is to develop partnerships with similar businesses. I have met and developed relationships with several local companies that do similar stuff I do (web design, online marketing) but needed someone who they could refer custom software projects to. This was all orchestrated through social media.

It’s generally easier to get the attention of someone like that too, as they aren’t going to be worried about you doing the “hard sell.” A lot of times, trying to engage with consumers or potential customers online can be a balancing act of proper sales, without being labeled as “spam.”

Looking for referral partnerships and businesses that share your audience is a great way for mutual growth, and expanding your professional network.

  1. Engage with your current customers.

A multitude of studies have concluded one startling fact: consumers are not nearly as brand loyal as they once were.

Business owners are constantly having to improve their relationships and foster relationships with existing customers. While it’s always fun to focus on attracting new business, it’s equally important to ensure the customers you’ve already won over aren’t looking elsewhere.

Social media is a great way to stay engaged and interact with current customers. I encourage you to connect with all (or as many as possible) of your customers through the business’ social media presence. Stay top of mind with your consumers and increase customer loyalty.

  1. Hit the streets like a punk rock band

Too many new entrepreneurs think that you can come up with a business, slap together a website, sit back and wait for the money to roll in. There are many success stories about how startups grow into multi-million dollar businesses, and while there are plenty of examples, the media never mentions the early-day struggles.

Far too many new (and even existing) marketers and business owners think that you can come up with an idea, throw together a website, and wait for the money to roll in. Successful businesses gain the traction that eventually amounts to success because of the hustle of their marketing departments. You can’t be afraid to dive in and get rejected, and need to be able to stomach that before getting online to market.

It doesn’t cost anything to hustle, and the end result is usually very rewarding. The best way to drive hot leads to your business is to get out there and find them yourself.