A couple of decades ago, gathering data meant sending out a small army with questionnaires that haunted public places where you could find your target market. Now, data is literally on your fingertips.
With just a few clicks, you can easily gather data with which you can make the profile of your customers and how best to attract them.
Investopedia defines social data as “Information that social media users publicly share and that includes metadata such as the users’ location, language spoken, biographical data and/or shared links”.
Social data is available everywhere on the internet. Posts on Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram, Tweets on Twitter, pins on Pinterest and FourSquare and Yelp check-ins all generate loads of social data.
This data is invaluable for marketers because it yields customer insights that can be used to improve the quality of your leads.
Since users of social media voluntarily share information about themselves, businesses have free and easy access to it.
That makes targeting ads and generating leads a lot easier and more efficient. For example, if a person has liked several sports teams, a company selling tickets to sports events can strategically targets ads to that user.
Similarly, a company can post ads of appliances for someone who has posted on social media that they have bought a new home or are looking for one. This is especially true in the case of B2B companies whose market is much smaller than that of consumer products.
Social media data can not only help businesses determine the most effective places to advertise, they can also refine marketing further by narrowing their target audience by age, interests, gender, likes, dislikes, electronics use and many other factors.
Through social media data, businesses can engage with existing and potential customers in a much more efficient and effective way.
But you probably know all this. In fact, chances are that you have been investing more in digital marketing and social data analysis that you ever had before, and as a result you have more data about your prospects than you can handle. You have many leads, but what you need to do is sieve through the low value ones for the high value leads.
It is a challenge to find high quality sales leads. The 2016 Demand Generation Benchmark report stated that 83% of B2B marketers said that focusing on the quality of leads rather than quantity was a priority.
This was up by 10% from the year before. Thus, to qualify your leads, you need to begin by identifying the strong ones.
To weed out low quality leads from high quality leads, begin by identifying them on social media. For example, on Twitter you can browse through people’s data and read their tweets to gauge whether they would be interested in your offering.
Twitter user’s hashtags, keywords and their engagement with others to indicate their interests from which you can identify their needs and whether or not you can fulfill them.
Once you have identified potential customers, interact with them. You can do this by directly messaging them while referencing the interest they have expressed in your market or product and incorporating links to your products and website. If you get a positive response, odds are they are interested in hearing from you and are strong sales leads.
Nurture your strong leads by keeping in touch with them. You can do so by pairing email drip campaigns with targeted social media touches. This can increase your email engagement as well as conversation rates.
Emailing and messaging are strong influencers in B2B businesses. Using email marketing is so crucial that 78% of B2B lead generation strategies use email marketing, however prospects are more likely to get back to you if you have positively interacted with them previously.
After recommendations and industry-specific intermediaries, email ranks as the third most influential source of information for B2B companies. Another strong way of connecting leads is through LinkedIn.
Be it through private messaging or joining relevant LinkedIn Groups, you can connect with existing and potential customers and nurture relationships. You can engage in relevant conversations in LinkedIn Groups where your leads may be active.
For this step, you need a really good business sales CRM. Identifying, interacting and nurturing with prospective leads requires investing resources. It is crucial for your business’s success that you devote these resources to quality leads, and not waste your time with leads that are headed nowhere.
Therefore, you have to be ready to downgrade or delete prospects from your database. Always remember that quality trumps quantity. It is better to have a few super-qualified leads than a 100 weak ones that will probably not materialize.
If after cleaning, you still have a long list of leads that you need to continue to nurture, you can segment a large audience into several smaller ones. Using social media data, you can combine your audience’s likes, dislikes, connections, recent purchases, etc. and divide it into smaller groups.
The shared traits of these smaller audiences should be relevant to your company’s brand marketing and sales goals. Traits can include information such as job titles, their influence on social media or the brands they have interacted with recently.
By tailoring messages to each segment, you can further nurture your leads and turn low quality leads into qualified leads.
These steps will allow you to use social media data to garner successful meetings with prospective customers. Keep in mind however, 98% of the time, first sales meetings do not result in sales. Social media will then allow you to continue building the trust and rapport established in the first meeting until the lead converts to customer.
For most small and medium organizations, it takes time to collect enough data from social media to validate your leads. However, investing time analyzing social data to improve the quality of leads will pay you back in the form of a more lucrative bottom line.
Other than finding information online, ask your sales team about their experiences regarding leads from marketing. Their feedback about the lead refining process will give you a better idea how to further improve their quality using social media.
About the Author
Erica Silva is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences and express herself through her blogs. Currently, she is associated with Airg Team for development work. Check out her firm’s performance reviews.
Find her on Twitter:@ericadsilva1