Social media was once a shiny new toy. It quickly infiltrated the PR and B2C marketing space. But as more social networks began to appear, and more people began to adopt them, they became an uncontested space for all types of companies to be present in. At first, many businesses hardly knew what to do on social media -- just that they needed to be using it.
That has all changed.
According to SEOmoz's 2012 annual industry survey , 44% of marketers self-professed either “advanced” or “expert” level social media ability. It comes as no surprise that most marketers now understand the business value of social media. The question is, how do you take social to the next level? By integrating social media into the rest of your marketing database ! Let me explain.
Social Media Followers Should Be a Part of Your Marketing Database
Your marketing database is the key to incorporating social media information into the rest of your marketing efforts and overall strategy. As a marketer, your strongest asset is your database of contacts: email and blog subscribers, leads, customers, and evangelists. It's the entire spectrum of your brand's stakeholders. It's the overall community of people who care about you in some form, regardless of how miniscule or extensive that care is. Your marketing database is the key component of your marketing -- it's the people you contact for every aspect of business. Interviewing fans. Converting leads. Contacting customers. Everything. And you know who has become an essential part of this list? Your social media followers .
By using one unified marketing database, you can add a layer of social media insights to your existing contacts, thus gaining valuable information to target messages, nurture leads, and attract new contacts to your business. Now how do you actually do this?
Think of Your Social Media Database Like Your Email Database
Your email database consists of contacts who have subscribed to receive email communication from you. They have opted in to receive your marketing resources, announcements and promotions, and (if your email list is healthy) should be interacting with your content by opening, clicking, and forwarding these emails.
Your social media database works in a similar fashion. It consists of followers and fans who want to engage with your brand online. They’re retweeting, resharing, and repinning your posts. Clearly, they have an interest in the things that you are saying and the product(s)/service(s) you have to offer.
In this context, the interests and actions of your email recipients and social followers overlap. The act of opting in to receive email updates from a company is very similar to, for instance, hitting the ‘Like’ button on a Facebook Page.
The future of social media and the key to expanding the size of your marketing database is contingent upon the growth of your social media database. The more followers you attract, the larger your pool of people to turn into strong advocates of your brand . And boy does this open a whole new bucket of opportunities for your marketing as a whole!
Example Use Cases of This New Social Future
1) Share the Right Content With the Right People
The problem with followers in social media is that you cannot measure the extent to which these fans are actually engaging with your brand. You don’t know the specific people interacting with your updates. Allocate a few hours weekly to discovering these people. Look at who is retweeting and commenting on your content, and cross-reference that with your contacts database. HubSpot allows you to do this automatically. Our new Social Contacts tool allows you to click on any social message you’ve sent and see exactly who clicked and/or shared it. (You can even dig deeper and explore the number of leads and customers that resulted from that effort.)
Now, instead of sending mass email blasts, you can directly contact and nurture those leads who are actually interacting with your brand. And by interacting with them, you're using their social media following to help extend your brand to a new audience. This constant, positive, and targeted sharing of information will ultimately help grow your pool of evangelists, which will ultimately help you in other areas of your marketing.
2) Send Product- or Service-Oriented Emails
When it comes to email marketing , your boss most likely wants you to send communication about your product or service. Meanwhile, as a marketer, you likely want to email broader lead generation content in order to boost engagement. Fear not -- there is balance between the two, and it comes down to segmentation . When you monitor the people who engage with your social media content, separate them into groups and allow those interested in your product/service to receive more communication about your special deals. Of course, make sure these users have already opted in to receive email communication from your company.
One seamless way to do this is by using the HubSpot-HootSuite integration app . You can use the app to see which contacts from your database are talking on social media, and then send them customized email communications after seeing that they're further down the marketing funnel.
3) Use Social Media Lead Intelligence in Sales Calls
Marketers are increasingly invested in social media: According to Social Media Examiner's 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report , 59% of marketers report spending six hours or more on it weekly . But they’re still struggling to find a reliable way to use social to boost sales. It's simple: use social media information to personalize calls. Examine the difference between these two phone calls:
"Hi Anum, I noticed you work in HubSpot’s marketing department and thought you might be interested in learning about how our product that helps you do better marketing. When is a good time to chat?"
"Hi Anum, Thanks for sharing our latest ebook on Twitter! We really appreciate the support. Did you enjoy the read? Do you have any questions still lingering after checking out our content, and if so, could I help clarify or provide further assistance?"
The first call sounds like an average lukewarm call: when the sales rep has some information about the prospect they are calling, but not enough to start a meaningful conversation. The second call scripted in the role play is much more personalized and helpful. It shows that the salesperson isn’t just calling out of the blue. There is a clear reason, backed up by a clear action, and followed up with a clear benefit to the lead. Such is the power of social media intelligence in the sales process !
Now that you've learned why social following is critical in building up your marketing database and have seen some powerful examples of using social lead intelligence to follow up with leads in the sales process, it's time to embrace the next generation of social media marketing . The social media sphere is constantly changing, and by figuring out how to effectively use social media and being on the front edge of how these channels will be used, you'll find success on social channels before your competitors get around to finally investing time.
The future of social media is here ... are you ready for it?
This has been an adapted excerpt from our new ebook, The Future of Social Media Lead Management . To learn more about how to segment and nurture your social media followers, download the complete, free ebook here !