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    May 25, 2012 // 9:00 AM

    8 Ways to Integrate Social Media Into Your Lead Nurturing Campaigns

    Written by Kendal Peiguss | @

    lead nurturing social media integration intermediate

    We often fall into the trap of assuming that lead nurturing is a completely email-driven strategy . But technically, lead nurturing is defined as consistent and targeted communication to move your leads further down the funnel. So while email has proven to be a very effective tool for this, it is not the only bridge between your company and its leads.

    Social media has emerged as an increasingly important part of people’s lives, and the savviest marketers have found ways to integrate it into lead nurturing to build stronger relationships.

    Consider this for a moment: According to a ATYM Market Research study , 85% of the 2,000 internet users surveyed are on Facebook, 49% have a Twitter account , and most of them visit these sites daily. Research also shows that social media and purchase decisions are closely linked -- with ecommerce companies specifically, prospects are 71% more likely to purchase a product if referred through social media . Sounds like social media offers a pretty natural opportunity for lead nurturing, eh? So to help you establish stronger and more personal relationships with your leads, take a look at these ideas to help you better integrate your lead nurturing and social media marketing.

    8 Simple Ways to Integrate Your Social Media and Lead Nurturing

    1) Include social follow widgets in lead nurturing emails.

    This is an easy addition to your lead nurturing emails that will also help you grow your social reach -- add social follow widgets to your lead nurturing emails! The more points of contact you can have with your leads, the better. Think about it, if you can talk with your leads through email and social media, you have twice as much opportunity to expose them to awesome content to drive reconversions, product updates, and other offers to pull them further down the sales funnel.

    2) Use social share modules in your emails.

    People are impulsive, and the internet moves fast. The best way to get something shared is to give leads the opportunity to do it with one click. Including social sharing modules in every lead nurturing email you send lets leads blast your content to their networks, effectively building your company’s social reach while building a more personal lead-company relationship.

     

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    Even better, including social share modules can also increase email click-through-rate!  GetResponse analysis  reported that email newsletters with social sharing buttons had 115% higher CTR than those that did not. Just think, a few little buttons can increase your social reach, email engagement, and generate new leads -- all while nurturing current leads. Not too shabby!

    3) Add social calls-to-action to thank-you pages.

    Nurturing starts the second a lead completes a landing page form . In that moment, you should give them as many opportunities as possible to connect with your company in more ways. For HubSpot customers, social widgets are easily added to thank-you pages through pre-formed modules. HubSpot customer AmeriFirst Mortgage , for example, wastes no time connecting with leads on a social level. After downloading an ebook like Essential Guide to Buying your First Home, the lead is met with other ways to get in touch with AmeriFirst. This is great integration at work!

     

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    4) All together now ... add social widgets in thank-you emails!

    Put together these first three tips, and you have tip number four! The first email a lead receives from your company is an important point of contact and can set the tone for future interactions. Often, that first email is in your thank-you or confirmation emails after they have downloaded a lead generation offer. Take this opportunity to connect with them on a more personal level by including all of your social widgets -- follow and sharing -- in your thank-you emails. A lead who, say, follows you on Twitter is far more likely to see other nurturing content that you push out via your social channels, which will help move them further down the sales funnel.

    5) Initiate a lead nurturing workflow when a lead mentions your company on Twitter.

    While email is the most common form of lead nurturing,  with integrated marketing automation you can initiate a nurturing workflow when a lead connects with your company via social media as well. HubSpot, for example, can initiate a lead nurturing workflow when a visitor mentions "HubSpot Software" on Twitter. This integrated approach ensures that no lead is left behind in the system and that multiple touchpoints are utilized to get prospects back to your website. 


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    6) Utilize your employee's social media accounts.

    The old way of doing business is dying, and transparency -- on social media, specifically -- is more and more common. Whether you're an enterprise company or a small local business, prospects expect to be able to connect with actual people online. A recent IBM study estimates that the number of CEOs active on social media will increase by over 40% in the next five years. The study cites "openness within an organization" as an increasingly important component of business success.

    So encourage your employees to be active on social media and share your lead nurturing content to amplify your reach. You should also make it easy for leads to connect with sales people (and even management!) via social media to make it apparent that there's a face behind the company. While it may not be feasible to give out personal account information to an early stage lead, once a lead has successfully moved down the funnel, give them access to connect with an individual sales person.

    7) Always respond to social inquiries.

    Leads sometimes have feedback or questions about a recent offer you sent them, and many will turn to social channels to get their answer -- especially since you've done such a great job building your social following during your lead nurturing! People expect to be able to contact companies directly through social media. If a lead's inquiry goes unanswered, they're likely not to return to your social channels, and the lack of communication can permanently damage your company's online reputation.

    Closely monitor your Facebook account, Twitter mentions, LinkedIn comments, etc. to ensure that your leads are getting the attention they deserve. Failing to respond to social media comments and inquiries could diminish your leads' trust in your company; but doing so will instill even more trust in your leads, and can help you get them closer to sales-readiness.

    Keep in mind that with Facebook's new timeline design , wall posts are not as prevalent to community managers as they once were. It's important to make monitoring a priority as part of a lead nurturing campaign so that when leads have questions or feedback, they get prompt and personable responses.


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    8) Monitor for branded terms that may indicate sales readiness

    Finally, remember that leads are using social media to perform their research, too. Set up social monitoring of branded terms to find opportunities to "pounce" on sales-ready leads. For example, we at HubSpot can set up monitoring for terms like "marketing automation" to get alerted when someone is talking about that subject. And you know when it's particularly juicy to know that information? When they're already a lead within HubSpot!


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    We're often waiting for leads to "raise their hand" and indicate sales readiness by reconverting on landing page forms, but the truth is that leads indicate their sales readiness in a multitude of ways. Talking about it on social media is one of them!

    What other ideas can you think of to integrate social media into your lead nurturing?

    Image credit: alakuloo

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    Topics: Social Media Lead Nurturing

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