Six Simple Ways to Get More Out of Social Marketing

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1 [ A B2B Marketer s Guide to Social Media ] Six Simple Ways to Get More Out of Social Marketing A white paper by Pardot

2 Executive Summary Social media may have began as personal communication tool, but today it is an integral part of most businesses marketing strategies. Social media is an invaluable tool for B2B marketers for several reasons: A variety of free tools make social media a relatively inexpensive way to generate leads and increase brand awareness by quickly distributing your message to a large number of people through a wide variety of channels This fast-paced form of communication enables you to receive free, instant feedback on your product, gather ideas for content and, most importantly, show your customers you care by quickly responding to their ideas and concerns Following your competitors helps you stay on top of the industry and keep your product up-to-date and relevant by capitalizing on the ideas of others as well as your own Six simple ways to improve your social marketing: The following white paper will outline six tips for developing and improving your social media strategy, and explain how using marketing automation software to integrate your social media efforts with other online marketing initiatives can generate leads and save time. 1. Define a social media policy 2. Examine your etiquette 3. Schedule posts to establish a cadence 4. Use information from social media in sales calls 5. Utilize multiple touchpoints 6. Measure social marketing ROI

3 Best Practices: The 3Rs of Social Which outlets are B2B brands using?...but first, some general best practices. If you re among the 95% of B2B marketers* already using social media, chances are you re already doing these things to some extent. But here are three general best practices that even the savviest social media guru should keep in mind. Remain Neutral If you use social media strictly for self-promotion, you risk losing your credibility as a thought leader within your industry, so be sure to talk about non productspecific industry issues as well. If you see someone tweet about a problem for which your product would be the perfect remedy, point them in the direction of a non-biased industry expert. This communicates that providing prospects with information is your first priority and helps to establish trust. Respond Social media is a dialogue, not a monologue, so interact with clients and prospects whenever possible. Follow them back, thank them when the retweet or favorite your tweet, and always respond to both positive and negative feedback. Also consider setting up a search trend on your name as well as key terms in your industry. Responding to a tweet from a client with a concern about your product is impressive; responding to a concern without being directly addressed is even more impactful. Relax Social marketing is just that: social. Add a little life to your posts! Social media is a great opportunity to show off your company culture and give your company a more personable feel. Leave the dry, factual writing to press releases and white papers and add some personality to set your company apart. Just be careful that your social media activity is consistent with the personality of your brand.

4 TIP #1: Establish a Social Media Policy Less than 12% of companies have a formal social media policy in place.* Whether you re just starting out or you re well-established in the social sphere, creating a defined strategy and establishing policies provides needed structure How should different outlets be treated? to your social marketing and helps you get the most value from your efforts. Four important questions to consider: Facebook is very much a personal tool, so initiating interactions with prospects could be seen as intrusive. Instead, focus on showing off your company culture with pictures from events. Who Establish which team member(s) will be responsible for your social posts. Make sure everyone is using a voice consistent with your company s culture and brand across all social media outlets. Following someone on Twitter is a far less pushy way of connecting with a prospect, and the constant stream of conversation allows you to tweet often without being seen as a nuisance. What Focus on posting valuable content and engaging with others: let your product speak for itself. Develop an editorial plan of themes to cover and agree upon which topics and keywords are off-limits. Blogs are a great way to distribute a variety of content. Discuss industry trends, announce product updates and post webinar recordings and don t forget to promote your posts through other outlets. In our recent study, 32% of B2B marketers found LinkedIn to generate the most leads of all the social media outlets, so get involved in groups and discussions that relate to your product. When It s a good idea to establish a rhythm and consistency to your social postings. Avoid being absent for weeks at a time and then inundating followers with ten postings this could lead to some dropoff in fans and followers. Where Each social outlet is unique, and should have a distinct strategy. For example, Facebook is regarded as more of a personal tool. Friending every prospect is not only ineffective, it s intrusive.

5 TIP #2: Examine Your Etiquette Etiquette is one area of your social media policy that deserves a second look. Is it appropriate to... Social media is a relatively new concept that has emerged in the past five or six years, and it s function as a business tool has evolved even more recently. Understandably, there are still some aspects of social media that are not well defined, and etiquette for businesses in the social sphere seems to be one of those grey areas. For instance, a recent study* revealed that slightly more than half of business-to-business marketers believe that it is appropriate to contact a lead generated by social media via phone or without invitation to do so. Clearly, marketers disagree on what s appropriate in many situations, but two rules of social etiquette that remain fairly universal are: Don t be creepy. Social media can provide you and your sales team with a wide array of (sometimes personal) facts about a prospect instantaneously. While it is certainly beneficial to use this information to drive conversation in a sales call, it s important to mindful of privacy when using this information you don t want to leave clients feeling stalked. Also be careful with how you reach out to potential prospects: following someone on Twitter is low impact and non intrusive, but adding someone to your network on LinkedIn just because he or she showed an interest in your product can be seen as pushy. Keep it classy. About 70 percent of marketers* agree that critiquing a competitor via social media is inappropriate, so avoid product comparisons. Acknowledging that a competitor s product is valuable and encouraging prospects to shop around can establish a trusting relationship -- and this trust can be invaluable when you do approach a prospect with information on your product.

6 TIP #3: Establish a Cadence Schedule your social posts with marketing automation software. Once you ve defined what you want to distribute, where and how often in a formal policy, consider integrating your social media outlets with a marketing automation software. Marketing automation can give your social media efforts much needed rhythm and consistency. Social media is a 24-hour news stream that never sleeps. Staying active on social media can be overwhelming: many companies utilizing social media are maintaining four or five separate outlets at once, with some maintaining as many as eight or nine. Marketing automation platforms (as well as some social media dashboards) allow you to automate posts according to a set schedule, enabling you to maintain a consistent social presence no matter what s going on at work. Your prospects and clients are active on social media outside the office, so schedule posts to go out over weekends and holidays. Many platforms also allow you to post via multiple accounts and channels simultaneously, saving you a significant amount of time. Scheduling posts in advance However, don t forget that social media is a spontaneous, human interaction tool and you ll need to engage manually a few times every week, especially if you want to develop relationships and track activity around your brand.

7 TIP #4: Enlighten Your Sales Team Let your sales team benefit from the information gleaned from social sites. Connect sales and marketing Information from social media can be extremely useful in preparing for a sales call. Marketing automation and CRM software can give your sales team quick access to data from social sites, including public profile data on prospects and activity logs of their interactions with your brand. For an example, you can provide a link to a prospect s LinkedIn profile, Twitter page and other networking sites and display it right within the CRM interface. The sales team can use profiles to learn more about their prospects and research potential connections, both of which can help advance a relationship. Starting the conversation. Again, don t forget to be mindful of how this information is used you don t want your prospects to feel like they re being stalked. A good example of using social media information properly: if you see that a prospect went to Duke via his or her LinkedIn account and you know that Duke won an important basketball game last weekend, you could easily start off the conversation with Hey, big weekend for college basketball, did you catch any of those games? without revealing the fact that you ve accessed their social profile. Determining selling points. Marketing automation platforms do more than provide links to a prospect s social outlets in their comprehensive profile many systems also track a prospect s interactions with your social postings. This information can be invaluable to your sales team by allowing them to see the aspects of your product that were most interesting to the prospect, and determine important selling points to emphasize in a sales call.

8 TIP #5: Utilize Multiple Touch Points Clients may prefer different outlets, so employ various channels. Cross-sell your channels If you re not already doing this, cross-selling your social media channels is a great way to encourage your prospects and clients to interact with you through multiple touch points. Announce a new photo album on Twitter to drive followers to your Facebook page, link your Twitter account to the company blog, or consider adding links to all your social sites to your signature. Now that you ve formulated a strategic social media plan, fallen into a consistent pattern of posting and let your sales team in on the deal, it s time to take closer look at a successful social media interaction and the multiple touch points involved. Introducing Social Media Mining. Consider the following example of social media lead generation: you receive a notification that a potential prospect has posted on a discussion in LinkedIn, asking for help deciding between your product and a competitor s. Following the link to the prospect s profile, you immediately access his or her job title and company. Clicking on the link to the company s LinkedIn page, you are able to see the number of employees on LinkedIn alone. Consulting a third-party source (for example, Jigsaw) where you obtain the company phone number and employee count, you determine that the company is a perfect fit for your product. You have determined that this is a qualified lead, and waste no time in making the following three touchpoints: Touch point 1: You immediately alert a member of your sales team, who places a call to the company to set up a free demo. Touch point 2: You respond to the LinkedIn query with the names of two industry experts who have experience with both your product and your competitor s. Touch point 3: You follow the prospect on Twitter (note: you do not add the prospect to your network on LinkedIn or friend them on Facebook). You have now made contact with the prospect through three very different outlets -- practically simultaneously without being overbearing or intrusive.

9 TIP #6: Calculate your Social Marketing ROI Measuring ROI on social media efforts is easy with marketing automation. Calculating social media ROI As with any marketing campaign, it s important to measure the return on your social media efforts and tailor your campaigns accordingly. However, a recent survey* revealed that over one-third of marketers are not measuring the results of their social media efforts. Considering the fact that businessto-business marketers are spending a significant amount of money and resources on social, this statistic is surprising, but also understandable. Procuring 14,000 follows on Twitter is impressive, but simply knowing this number leaves you with no concept of how many of these followers converted to qualified leads, or how your interactions on Twitter may have influenced their decision to purchase your product. Using marketing automation to track ROI. With marketing automation software, a prospect s interactions with your social posts are tracked in the same way as their activity on your landing pages and forms is tracked. In addition to providing you (and your sales team) with more information on a prospect s interests, this information can also help you to draw conclusions on which social media campaigns drew the most attention and potentially led to a purchase.

10 Conclusion Implementing these six simple changes in your social marketing strategy can organize your efforts, save time and drive lead generation. More than likely, you are already investing significant time and money into social media marketing. Formally defining your goals, frequently updating your outlets, measuring your results and reevaluating your campaigns are all simple changes that can help your business get more out of your social marketing efforts. *Statistics based on a survey of B2B marketers conducted by Pardot in October For more details on survey results, please see the press release on our website:

11 No Hassle Marketing Automation About Pardot Pardot is an on-demand marketing software company that increases sales and maximizes efficiency for companies with complex sales cycles. Pardot offers an industry-leading marketing automation product that manages prospect interactions such as site visits, , forms, and more. The on-demand suite solves the integration challenges faced by B2B marketers today by allowing you to control formerly disparate online and offline marketing tools one central interface. Pardot syncs with select CRM vendors and is available on the salesforce.com App Exchange. Pardot was founded in 2007 and is headquartered in Atlanta, GA. Contact Us Tel: B2B.ROI Tel: Fax: Online: Pardot LLC 950 East Paces Ferry Rd Suite 3300 Atlanta, GA 30326

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