Socializing Your Salesforce: 5 Ways to Use Social Media To Generate Demand in 2012

Published: March 13, 2012

By Adam Blitzer, Co-Founder & COO, Pardot

In 2011, B2B marketers made great strides in understanding how to capitalize on social media channels. By integrating social efforts with marketing automation and CRM systems, companies can take it up another notch. The following strategies will help your marketing and sales team maximize social media efforts for revenue gain and customer loyalty.

1. Develop a Social Media Policy

Though many marketers are now using social media, few companies have a formal social media policy. Creating a defined strategy and establishing policies provides needed structure to your social marketing and helps you get the most value from your efforts.

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Important points to consider when building your policy include:

  • Who:  Establish which team member(s) will be responsible for your social posts. Make sure everyone is using a voice consistent with your company’s culture and brand across all social media outlets.
  • What:  If you treat your social media outlets strictly for self-promotion, you could lose credibility and annoy your followers. Focus on posting valuable content and engaging with others: let your product speak for itself. Develop an editorial plan of themes to cover and agree upon which topics and keywords are off-limits.
  • Where:  Each social outlet is unique, and should have a distinct strategy. For example, Facebook is regarded as more of a personal tool. “Friending” every prospect is not only ineffective, it’s intrusive. It’s better to have a company page where people can follow you and comment if they wish.

2. Give Your Sales Team Access

Information from social media can be extremely useful in preparing for a sales call. Marketing automation and CRM software can give your sales team quick access to data from social sites, including public profile data on prospects and activity logs of their interactions with your brand. For an example, you can provide a link to a prospect’s LinkedIn profile, Twitter page and other networking sites and display it right within the CRM interface. The sales team can use profiles to learn more about their prospects and research potential connections, both of which can help advance a relationship.

3. Monitor the Conversation

Monitoring conversations regularly is an essential part of the process if your goal is to use social channels for lead generation. Set up real-time alerts for your brand, competitor’s brands and key industry terms. Mining leads from social networks is a bit like following a trail of breadcrumbs; If you see a conversation that leads you to believe someone is a potential customer, check out their profile, their company page on LinkedIn and other resources that may help you connect with them. Depending on their level of interest, gauge whether you should reach out to them on social media or assign them to sales for a more formal response.

4. Develop a Cadence

Social media is a 24-hour news stream that never sleeps.  It’s not uncommon to see companies disappear for several days and then flood your feed with twenty updates in a row. That’s usually not effective, and may leads to some drop-off in fans and followers. There are a number of systems, including marketing automation and social media dashboards, which automate posts according to a schedule you set. This allows you to maintain a consistent social presence no matter what’s going on at work. Take advantage of this feature by taking a few moments each day or week to schedule several upcoming posts. You can also schedule posts to go out via multiple accounts and channels simultaneously, saving you time. Don’t forget that social media is a spontaneous, human interaction tool and you’ll need to engage manually a few times every week, especially if you want to develop relationships and track activity around your brand.

5. Track Social Marketing ROI

So you have 1,000 Twitter followers (rock on!), and you’re dedicating marketing resources to your social media efforts. How do you know if any of your connections have turned into leads? You track it! Marketing automation systems can deliver data on how prospects are interacting with your social media campaigns, right down to which posts they viewed. This allows marketers to determine which types of social media content drive interaction and, ultimately, conversion. It also provides a way to track social messaging as a part of a larger, multi-channel online marketing campaign.

Adam is responsible for product management, marketing, and operations. Adam was previously a senior email marketing consultant for InterContinental Hotels Group, a consultant at Moxie Interactive, and spent four years in Japan at an advertising agency. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Adam holds a bachelor’s degree from Duke University and studied abroad at Waseda University.

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