Posted on behalf of our LaunchPoint Partner Socedo.
Social media listening (or social media monitoring) is quickly becoming an important customer intelligence tool. They are very popular with B2C brands who want to understand customer sentiments around their brand, their competitors, and gather feedback on their products.
As a modern B2B marketer, you’re responsible for the entire funnel, from generating qualified leads to deliver to your sales team to retaining existing customers and influencing upsell opportunities. You’re wondering: how does social listening help me with my objectives?
Up to this point, social listening tools have primarily been used to understand consumer sentiment at the aggregate level. Of course, you can set up streams to track certain keywords in your social media management platform and see who is engaging with these keywords. However, you’d probably catch a random set of people and companies and have no way of knowing which ones are potential prospects or existing customers.
But if you could get social insights at the individual lead or customer level within your marketing automation system, social data suddenly becomes a lot more actionable.
If you could see what your leads and customers say about your brand and your space, you can use social to help you in all stages of the customer life cycle, from generating new leads, to nurturing existing leads, to re-engaging with cold leads, to closing deals, to expanding into existing accounts.
So, how exactly do you use social listening and social data in a more strategic way?
Below, we offer six reasons for why you should use incorporate social activities data in your marketing mix
1. You can generate new leads on social
People are sharing their interests and doing research on companies on social networks. Twitter and LinkedIn are two networks used heavily in the professional context. Thanks to their open nature, you can identify people who are about to enter your buying cycle based on the keywords they used in their posts, and reach out to these people proactively to engage them in conversations.
You know that social networks are great places to attract new prospects to your brand. What you may not realize is that many of the leads who engaged with your content (i.e. webinars, ebooks, etc.) actually first engaged with you on social. You may not be giving social the credit it deserves.
One of our technology customers with a large social media following recently started tracking how their existing leads are interacting with their Twitter brand handles. They discovered that they had misattributed their lead source in many cases: Many of their leads who registered for webinars had interacted with one of their Twitter handles a week or two in advance of the webinar.
To use social to find more qualified prospects, start by identifying the keywords your target buyers are using on social. Then, follow up with these leads with relevant direct messages, offering resources aligned to their interest. By using Twitter’s direct message feature, you can enable personalized communications and let people know why you’re reaching out. With certain solutions like Socedo, you sync the contact info of your Twitter prospects direct into your Marketo instance.
2. You can use social data to customize messages to new leads
Once you’ve got new leads in your marketing automation system, you can track their social media activities, see if they’re engaging with topics, keywords or hashtags, or Twitter handles relevant to their business, and get this data appended on your lead records in your marketing automation system whenever someone engages with one of your tracked keywords. (full disclosure: Socedo provides a social lead monitoring solution that does this).
This way, whenever someone tweets about a relevant keyword, you can trigger a campaign to engage them with a specific, relevant offer.
Here’s an example. Because my company sells to demand generation marketers, we’ve decided to use our own social lead monitoring solution to track leads who engage with hashtags like “#demandgen” and “#leadgen” and reach out to them with targeted messages.
We identify these leads with Smart Lists in Marketo, by listening for people whose social media messages mention our target keywords.
To us, anyone who engages with our CEO Aseem is going to be a lead for us. We set up a campaign for this type of lead and send them an intro email 24 hours later. We keep this email plain text, and it comes from a real person. We mention that we had first connected with them on Twitter, quickly explain what we do and send them a top of the funnel e-book to read.
We’ve found that this email has a 44% open rate and a 6% click through rate, which is very high for a marketing email, especially since it’s sent to people who’ve only interacted with our brand on Twitter.
3. You can create tighter email segments to increase conversions
The tighter the segments you create, the more likely you’ll see high conversions on your emails.
With social data, you can discover a lead’s job title, company and interests, and set up nurture programs around specific job functions and topics to increase conversions on your emails.
One great thing about social profiles is that they tend to have the most current, accurate job-related information about people. Even though people change jobs, get promotions, and move frequently, you can generally get accurate job-related info about your leads from social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter.
At Socedo, we’ve created a specific nurture program just for leads who tweeted specific keywords that we think are especially relevant to Socedo (i.e. #demandgen, #leadgen). We consider anyone using these hashtags and who has a job with demand generation responsibilities to be a middle of the funnel lead. We send this group of leads to our “active interest” nurture stream to receive more product-specific content instead of the more educational content we typically send to top-of-the-funnel leads.
In our experience, we’ve found that socially engaged leads are ready for product-focused content sooner than other leads, and they move faster through our sales cycle.
4. You can develop a more robust and accurate lead scoring model
The concept of lead scoring isn’t new. At its core, it’s based on the simple idea that if someone fits your buyer persona (i.e. has a job title your business is interested in, works at a company in the right industry, and is located in a place your business can service), and they’re actively engaging with your content right now, they’re much more likely to buy from you than someone who has not engaged with you recently.
Social media is another avenue for prospects to engage with your brands. By incorporating social engagement data into your lead scoring model, you can detect warm leads sooner and send more qualified leads to your sales team.
You’re probably already incorporating website visits, registrations for webinars and eBooks, and email clicks in your lead scoring model. You can apply the same principles when adding social activities: You might decide to score someone who follows your brand on Twitter the same way as someone who opens one of your emails. You could score someone who is actively responding to your corporate Twitter handle the same way as someone who registers for a webinar or downloads an e-book on your website.
Don’t be limited in only using interactions with your brand handle in your lead scoring model. Tracking mentions of your CEO, senior executives, competitors, industry hot topics, and influencers on Twitter will help you develop a more robust model.
Once you’ve come up with points for different social actions, run this model through your existing leads retroactively and see how many marketing qualified leads you would get, compared to your existing definition. You won’t get the model right the first time. Watch the quality of leads closely once you go live with this new model and get qualitative feedback from your sales team.
5. You can provide social insights to your sales team to move leads through the sales cycle
Collecting data on leads’ social interactions with your brand or others in your space can help sales reps understand how a lead feels about your brand, their top of mind issues and support more focused conversations.
For example, if your company sells a Hadoop-based database, and you’ve found that a lead has recently tweeted about #bigdata and #Hadoop, a sales rep could reach out with a personalized email that mentions this specific tweet, and offer a resource (e.g. an e-book) on how companies using Hadoop-based database technologies are increasing efficiency and reducing time to insights.
At Socedo, we are tracking anyone who mentions SocedoApp (our Twitter handle), with a lead status that indicates they’re being worked by sales.
Our Marketo admin creates an “interesting moment” so that the sales rep can see what was the last tweet someone created that mentions Socedo, and leverage this data in their next call.
We also set up alert email to the sales rep with a message like this: “Your contact from [company name] has been engaging with our Twitter handle. Now might be a good time to reach back out. [include the lead’s last Twitter message].”
This way, our sales reps can craft personal messages to engage with their leads and get a higher response rate.
6. Use social data to figure out when it’s a good time to re-engage with cold leads
As much as we want all of our leads to convert to customers, the reality is that some of them just aren’t ready to make a purchase decision within our timeframe. Don’t let your hard work in capturing these leads go to waste. Instead, use social media to re-engage with cold leads and remind them that you’re there to help.
With social activities data on your lead records, you can set up a program in your marketing automation system to identify cold leads who haven’t engaged with your brand via email or visited your website in a while, but are active on social networks.
At Socedo, we have a Marketo program set up to find people who are marketing accepted leads, who were created in the last quarter, who have not opened any of our emails in the last 30 days, and who have not visited our website in the past two weeks. We listen to see if they’re still talking about certain topics we care about on social media, for example, our brand handle.
From there, there’s a couple of things you can do. You can choose to retarget these leads on the social network they’re active on with an ad. You can also alert your social media team to reach out to these leads organically.
With social activities data integrated into your marketing automation system, you can identify and engage sales-ready leads directly in your marketing automation system, and start to see measurable ROI from your social media investment.
Jingcong Zhao is the Content Marketing Manager at Socedo, a Marketo LaunchPoint partner that provides a social demand generation solution that helps B2B marketers to discover, engage and qualify leads through social media to increase revenue at scale.