Social media has fundamentally changed the way brands communicate and has enabled marketers and salespeople to interact directly with prospects at every stage of the buyer journey. Modern marketers are viewing social as the marketing channel that has the greatest ability to impact both brand and demand. Social media as a marketing function has continued to grow. According to Simply Measured’s 2016 State of Social Media Marketing Report, Social Marketing is 10.6% of total marketing budget, representing a 0.7% year over year increase. Based on Altimeter’s research, in 2015, social advertising’s share of the total digital advertising budget grew 205%.
Social media has always played a role in building a brand’s reputation. What’s interesting is that leading organizations are integrating social more closely into their marketing strategy and using social more intentionally as a driver of demand and revenue.
To dive deeper about the importance of social for business growth, we asked six industry experts to answer this a question that social marketers and CMOs alike are paying attention to:
“How are you using social to grow your business?”
Matt Heinz, President at Heinz Marketing
“Social media plays a material and substantial role in all phases of business, but particularly around targeted awareness and lead generation growth. It’s not just one channel but our leverage of multiple channels – with regularity, precision and good customer-facing content – that makes it work.
To drive increased awareness, we use multiple social channels to share and curate content daily. To drive new inbound leads, we offer relevant assets to prospects via social based on keywords in their real-time and recent-past comments. To maintain long-term relationships, we respond to buying signals and trigger events seen on social, via social, and often engage with those contacts earlier, faster and more often than others.
Social is still one of many channels we use, but it’s at the core of our marketing strategy.”
Brittni Kinney, Client Engagement Specialist at Influence & Co.
“We’re using social as a means for dialogue without pretense. By using personal accounts alongside our company handles, we can have organic conversations about the topics we love. Platforms like Twitter give us a peek into what people genuinely want to know about our industry so that we can take more guesswork out of creating content that provides benefit. Social media has become a place for us where small talk doesn’t have to suck–it can be the beginning of a business partnership, a vehicle for new trends or I can simply be a fly on the wall during relevant conversations surrounding the work I do.”
Juan Pablo Castro, Marketing Manager at Lander
“When we first started with Lander we used social media to start building our community. We wanted to position ourselves as leaders and influencers regarding Landing Pages and conversion optimization. We created groups on Linkedin, Google plus and Facebook, and that gave us the possibility to start talking with possible leads and learn more about their needs. Right now we keep doing the same but has been added other functions such as, partnerships, research on specific topics, promote new features and content.
If I have to put in a nutshell how we use social media I’d say, listen to our target audience, create partnerships, promote our content/new features, research and humanize our brand.”
Kristen Alexander, VP of Marketing at Certain
“At Certain, we use social to generate brand awareness and excitement around event automation, to share thought leadership on how to optimize events and as a social selling tool. Whether we are exhibiting at an event, dropping a new asset or releasing a product feature, we use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram for promotion and engagement. Since our customers and prospects host a large number of highly attended events throughout the year, we understand the value of social as a companion to in-person experiences to generate buzz, establish thought leadership, develop deeper relationships with prospects and customers and accelerate the buyer’s journey.”
Jade Furubayashi, Brand Marketing Manager at Simply Measured
“At Simply Measured, we’re using social media to drive brand awareness and establish ourselves as industry thought leaders. We view our social media presence as a definite branding opportunity, but more so as a go-to resource for marketers. Since rich content is at the crux of our marketing strategy, we want to optimize our social presence to effectively distribute said content by connecting with industry influencers, customers, prospects and fans. Becoming a de-facto resource for our target audience via social obviously benefits our business by establishing us as thought leaders, but also by driving dollars and cents.”
Peter Mollins, VP of Marketing at Knowledge Tree
“Our prospects are the savviest marketing and sales leaders out there. So, it’s critical that our sales team gives prospects insights that are compelling and different — insight that helps prospects change their business for the better. For our reps, social selling with content is an essential piece of the puzzle – internally developed research and collateral that helps prospects see the power of change. And third-party validation that proves the value of change. Social without value, frankly, is small talk.”
Eva Sharf, Media Manager at Bizible
“We have been working closely with our sales team to come up with target account lists for ABM efforts, and have been able to execute with LinkedIn sponsored updates. Through social, we tailor messaging and content to specific personas within our target accounts and to different stages in the sales funnel. In doing so, we have increased lead quality and ROI, and have been able to use social not only for top-of-the-funnel brand awareness and demand, but also for nurturing prospects and assisting deals.
Leveraging social for full-funnel marketing has been very successful for us — we are seeing a higher payoff and better efficiency. Plus, I have high hopes that platforms will continue to develop tools to better support account-based marketing.”
It’s Your Turn!
You’ve heard great insights from these influencers on how they use social to grow their business, so now it’s your turn to do the same! Evolve, expand and implement social media towards your everyday marketing strategy and embrace all things social to watch your business grow.