In the beginning social media was for connecting with your audience, and listening in on their conversations. Now it's being used for customer service, technical support, and lead management.
Don't believe me?
Take a look at the latest CMI Benchmark Report: you'll see that 92% of B2B companies are using social media, and that doesn't even include blogs. The reality is that any lead management program must include social media. We simply spend too much time on it to ignore it.
According to the MIT Sloan Management Review report Moving Beyond Marketing, they found that 58% of B2B companies think social business practices have positively impacted their business outcomes.
Why is Social Media Important for Lead Management?
Sharing is an integral part of social media, as well as lead management. That's how you build trust and relationships.
Getting Started with Social Media for Lead Management
There's a lot of information out there about how to use social media for your B2B business, yet I've found that all of it can be boiled down into four essential activities:
- Interacting with prospects and customers, not just peers or competitors.
- Posting regular updates, whatever the frequency.
- Sharing content from your followers and other influencers.
- Reading the content that your followers shares as well.
In a post on the subject, Marketo stated that "At least 58% of marketers who have been using social media for three years or longer state that it has helped them boost sales." That shows that it's working for them, and also that it's not a quick fix type of strategy. It takes time and effort to plan and use effectively.
Incorporating these four activities into your marketing planning and execution will go a long way to increasing website traffic, reader engagement, and generate more leads for your B2B business.
1. Interact with your audience
It's very easy to publish your content and think you're done. That's what many B2B companies do, and it's not going to get yours noticed by anyone. One simple way to differentiate yourself from your competitors is by interacting with your followers on social media. That means responding to comments on the corporate blog or site where a guest post is published. That means answering questions from followers on Twitter, or thanking followers for sharing your latest infographic on Instagram.
2. Post regular updates
Whatever your frequency, just make it regular. Some high-profile digital marketers post once a month, while others do it once a day. What matters is that it works for you and your market. Tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer help you schedule those messages in advance, helping you maximize your time. Other tools like CoSchedule or WP Editorial Calendar will help you stay on top of your blog writing, so you don't miss a date.
3. Share content from your followers
Yes, those lessons you learned as a child about sharing still apply. Share content from your followers, and you'll see that they'll share yours as well. Always give attributions for that content, so the authors/creators get their share of the love as well. Only share content that moves your marketing vision forward, reinforces your current messages, and helps you tell your story. No sense in sharing content that's outside of your sphere of knowledge, right? Give context for the content you're sharing as well, so that your followers will better understand it and how it relates to your story.
4. Read the content your followers share
Social media is a two-way street, it's a way to communicate with your audience, so if you're simply firing off messages in one direction, there's no point in continuing. Just like you expect your followers to read your content, it makes sense that you've got to read theirs too. You'll find new content to share and curate, possibly new ideas for content yourself, and create new relationships with your audience.
Incorporating social media into your lead management program takes time and effort; however, it can pay off for you. You'll see increased website traffic, social shares of your content, and a notice a deeper relationship with your audience.