Inbound marketing industry leader Hubspot just announced a partnership with social media brand management provider Hootesuite that aims to help marketers generate, nurture, and share leads on social media. Underscoring the partnership is a firm belief that social media is more than just a promotional and engagement platform for businesses, but rather a tool to generate, nurture, and ultimately close leads.
The HubSpot/HootSuite integration (or HS + HS, if you prefer), available for any HubSpot customer who also uses HootSuite's professional or enterprise software, will make it easier for customers to use social media to bring leads down the sales funnel.¹
Considering that businesses continue to increase their social media marketing budgets (average SMM budgets have increased 133% in the last three years), marketers are likely to be under heightened pressure from upper management to produce a tangible ROI from their investment in social.¹
By way of a new beta app, users of both HS products can monitor their leads' tweets in HootSuite to identify opportunities for follow-up. Users can also use the app to monitor their best-performing keywords in HubSpot for relevant conversations that could lead to prospecting opportunities.¹
The concept of going beyond customer engagement with social media to actually generate leads and close sales is all but inevitable as users fully integrate social into their daily lives. Moreover, as social media engagement continues its evolution to social mobile local, users will come to expect (and in some cases demand) companies to provide clearer paths to the sale via social.
This point is not lost on all of the major players in social, as they race to create more innovative ways to help companies sell products and services on their social platforms (think Facebook Offers, promoted Posts, and Sponsored Stories as just a few examples of many). As these services proliferate, the line between social advertising and social engagement marketing will blur, creating an ideal atmosphere for closed-loop social.
In a recent post, Hubspot lists 4 ways your business can use closed-loop social media to improve your marketing. Here is a brief summary:
1. Monitor key terms in social media to prospect.
With closed-loop social, you can monitor the keywords and phrases that your best leads are using in social media. This enables you to identify opportunities to interact with them while they are thinking of your brand. Don't be too pushy, but rather honestly add value where you can. Provide your best content and assist them to the extent you can. Such authentic interaction may help you eventually win the sale.
2. Consider using social media instead of email to follow-up.
Expand your thinking beyond the email follow-up, and think how you can use social to nurture your leads. For example, you could send a tweet to leads asking how they enjoyed the content piece they downloaded, or what they thought of a recent promotion. Who knows, perhaps they are looking for a follow-up.
3. Increase the likelihood for sales by nurturing leads through multiple channels.
Some users like certain forms of communication over others, so consider the fact that your leads might prefer a tweet from your business over an email. Nurturing your leads via multiple channels allows them to choose how they wish to interact with your brand. By monitoring your leads' behaviors, you'll be able to engage with prospects using their preferred channel, further personalizing the lead nurturing experience.
4. Create advanced filters to catch "buying signals" from your leads.
What if you had the power to monitor your social channels for prospect buying signals? For example, what if a recent lead tweeted, "I'm considering buying X product. Anyone have any experience with it?" Would you not have a great opportunity to thank them while shooting over a few customer testimonials or product reviews? You'll be able to do this with Hubspot/Hootsuite closed-loop social by setting up specific filters for keywords like your company name, product name, industry keywords, etc.
As consumers further integrate social into their daily lives, they'll come to expect brands to engage with them in a very real sense. Take a minute to think about what deeper engagement means on a human level. Typically, when two people are deeply engaged in something, they're enjoying a common, shared experience that they both find value in and are often passionate about. This kind of engagement invariably leads to action.
For example, if you and I are talking about how much we love chess, it stands to reason that, the more enthusiastically we talk about the game, the more likely we'll eventually play together.
The same is true with social media. The more consumers weave it into the very fabric of their buying experience, the more they'll expect action to stem from engagement.
Businesses that recognize this and implement closed-loop social media practices will be the first to reap the rewards of this next stage in the evolution of social.
What do you think about the idea of closed-loop social? Share your opinion!