This is a guest post by Jessica Davis.
Social media is now cemented as a marketing function in many B2B organizations. According to a 2016 study, social now forms 10.6% of a company’s marketing budget and is seeing a consistent increase year on year.
To grow your business using social media, you have to realize that the goal of social media isn’t just to grow your brand awareness, but also to generate leads. Or as Brian Huges says “Break free from day-to-day management woes and supercharge your social media lead generation”.
However, most B2B marketers are still unsure of how to use social media to generate leads. There’s the perception that social lead generation is a manual and time intensive process. Fortunately, there are some solutions out there to help you automate your social lead generation process. Here are five B2B social media marketing technology that helps you save time and increase your lead generation effectiveness.
1. Automate Lead Generation via Social Media
There are over 1.71 billion monthly active users on Facebook alone. Studying profiles of social users and qualifying them manually is not a viable approach. That would consume most of your time and delay your first contact with your sales queries.
Instead, imagine there were software applications to do that for you. Applications to scour through large volumes of social profiles and qualify your potential prospects by matching their posts/profile information to your buyer personas. By automating that search and qualification process, you’ll save time and effort. Socedo is a platform that does just that.
With Socedo, once you define your target audience, you can sit back while the smart algorithm searches for prospects on social media based on users’ real-time behaviors. The software also qualifies the prospects for you based on your keyword performance and how social users’ activity matches your buyer personas. In Socedo, you can also create an automated work flow to connect with the leads the system suggest for you and sync their contact information into your marketing automation or CRM system. The result – a shortlist of high-potential buyers for you to engage with.
2. Enable Your Sales Team to Use Social Media Effectively for Lead Generation
Sales teams can raise their credibility by sharing their expertise through posting on social media. Create a system to consistently share content with your sales team and enable them to use that content to establish their expertise on the social front. Develop your sales personnel as brands in their own right on social media, you’ll increase their ability to attract and nurture more quality leads.
Termed ’employee advocacy’, this technique can increase your company’s reach and influence on social media. According to IBM, leads generated via employee advocacy are seven times as likely to convert to sales.
Both large companies like Adobe and medium sized organizations like SpinGo have experienced incredible results with employee advocacy. SpinGo reported a 200-500% increase in social media engagement while one of Adobe’s employees generated more revenue for the company’s Photoshop module than the company’s official Twitter account.
Tools to use
You could employ an employee advocacy software like DrumUp Employee Advocacy Platform and automate content sharing with your entire work-force, managing and tracking of your employee advocacy program. The platform facilitates easy sharing at two junctures – between you and your entire workforce and between employees and their social accounts. The platform also has a leader-board to drive healthy competition and motivate participants.
Alternatively, you could also use LinkedIn’s Elevate. If you’re established on LinkedIn, this extension can help you track your employee advocacy program better, by giving you access to the direct impact your efforts have on page views.
3. Never Miss an Opportunity with Automated Social Listening and Selling
Every minute, 350,000 tweets are sent out on Twitter. Sifting through those volumes to find the right conversations to target is a real task. Over 71% of buyers conduct research on social media prior to making a purchase. Additionally, there’s also a circumstance-based scenario that you could target for reach, impressions and brand impact.
In the search and sell scenario, you could keep track of important people to monitor via social listening tools like Brand24. With the right set of search terms and filters you can monitor the complete landscape of your target market for interesting conversations.
Tools to use
You could subscribe to a social listening tool like Brand24 and set up smart searches to discover valuable conversations.
If you require simple mentions and analytics, you could alternatively use Talkwalker Alerts. The obvious keywords for you to monitor are your brand name, your industry’s name and your competition. Other searches could be “your brand’s name” + “help”, “your brand’s name” + “wish”, or “alternatives” + “your competitor’s name”.
Furthermore, you could use Socedo’s Social Lead Acceleration solution to identify all the leads in your database who are active on social networks, then monitor their interactions with your brand, competitor or other relevant keywords. With this type of real-time insights, you can then:
- Segment your database by what prospects are engaging with on social media
- Send leads more contextually relevant, real-time emails
- Add social behavioral data to your lead scoring model
- Demonstrate the ROI of your social marketing effort
4. Automate Your Communication Work Flow to Meet Potential Customers at Each Juncture
Once you have captured new leads, you have to engage with them for a certain period of time to convert them into customers. This period of time may vary based on your industry, product or audience type, but the bottom line is that you’ll need to do something to warm up these leads.
Why automate this process? Generating leads is only half the battle won. The remaining depends on how well you deconstruct your sales cycle, identify the right touch points and ensure that you meet your customers half-way.
Even after you have converted your leads into customers, there is still customer service to handle. There are ways to automate that initial response to a customer service query to make sure your customer doesn’t feel unattended to or sidelined.
Tools to use
You could sign up for a tool like Meltwater, which simply helps you do what we discussed in the previous paragraph. This application also lets you monitor your company’s impact in the social sphere, and identify the conversations that matter, but it integrates this with a lead management system that allows you to automate communication chains to engage with your leads – be it sales leads, or influencers.
To automate your customer service work flow, you could use Zendesk – a ticketing software that helps you deal with customer queries and optimize your responses.
5. Post Content Consistently to Keep Your Leads Engaged on Social Media
In social media lead generation, your company’s social media page forms an important part. Your prospective clients should look at your page and be convinced that you’re the right choice for that service/product.
You could enable that by optimizing your page’s appearance and populating it with just the right content. Share content that convinces your leads of your expertise in your niche and proves that you have the ability to serve them with the best.
Creating content of that quality is time consuming, but there is an automated alternative. You could curate content in your niche and regularly post it to your page. Over 32% of marketers who participated in this survey claimed to curate content on a daily basis.
Note: This isn’t a substitute to created content, but a powerful supplement.
Tools to use
You could subscribe to a news aggregation app like Feedly, a content hub like Flipboard or a content curation app like DrumUp’s. These apps supply you with content recommendations on a daily basis (based on the keyword themes that you set). On DrumUp you can connect multiple accounts and get a different set of recommendations on each account. Some of these apps let you connect RSS feeds of your favorite blogs and news-sites to view from the app. A nifty hack – take the RSS feed of an industry specific newsletter and setting it on automated posting to your account so you become one of the first to break important news to your audience.
The goal of automating your lead generation and nurturing should be to increase the number of leads coming from social media while effectively using your time. By breaking down all the processes that you can automate, choosing a tool for each of them and making the best use of the features of that tool, you can dramatically increase your sales performance.
Author: Jessica Davis represents Godot Media, a leading content creation agency. Her areas of interst include technology, science and fashion.