Finding The Business Value of Social Media

Welcome to my first blog post.  It had to happen sometime.  I am admittedly a laggard where social media is concerned, but like many of you, I can no longer afford to be.

Social media has been a buzzword for quite some time.  Everywhere you turn there is a new self-proclaimed guru touting its value.  I guess you can now add me to the list.  As a provider of a Demand Generation SaaS product, and more importantly, as leader of my own company, here’s what I’m really interested in: How do you dig through the hype and find a way to leverage business value out of social media?

For marketers, the possibility of exponentially spreading your promotional email to people outside your existing database, all by having respondents share it across social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, is a powerful thing.

If you consider that even the most shy among us can garner 100 followers on Twitter, friends on Facebook or colleagues on LinkedIn, the sharing of a promotion via social media could expand a database of 10,000 contacts to a potential reach of 1,000,000. This is a fact that those of us in the demand generation/marketing automation space cannot overlook.  

It stands to reason that by sheer chance alone increased reach will generate more leads.  Consider, however, that your company database is filled with like-minded, opted-in subscribers who have chosen to follow your company because it is of genuine interest to them.   Then consider they hang out with like minded friends.  These facts would lead one to believe that the amount of increased qualified leads from any campaign that integrated social media could be exponentially larger than if reach was achieved by more random means.

It’s an interesting concept to combine outbound marketing such as email or landing page components of a campaign with the inbound marketing strengths of social media. To make it possible, demand generation solutions need to create easy ways to include social media as a tool for campaigns. By doing this, marketers can also potentially increase opt-in subscribers to company communications. Interesting here as well that, as a result, reach expands not only for the current promotion, but for future ones as well.

In addition to reach, you may also be able to increase frequency.  If you consider that several of your prospects will reach the same contacts with their posts on multiple social media sites, you may hit some people several times. Even those of us who are old enough to remember Daren Stevens and Larry Tate can understand the value of increasing both reach and frequency.

But traffic for its own sake isn’t where the value in combining email, landing pages and social media really lies. Only by using a demand generation or marketing automation tool can you realize new sales now and set new prospects on a nurturing path for future sales later.  Here’s how it works: By using demand generation solutions that integrate social media tools, a prospect or customer shares your promotion. This drives traffic to a landing page and adds new respondents to your database. The demand generation system qualifies them, routes qualified leads directly to sales people or a CRM system, and gets new unqualified leads involved in a lead nurturing campaign.   

I’m a big believer in tying marketing campaigns to revenue.  Just integrating social media into a product for the sake of attaching your company to the latest fad is one thing.  Adding new functionality that can generate more qualified leads today and into the future is just plain good business.

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