• Donnington Grove

Are Companies Getting An ROI From Social Media?

This is a guest blog post by Lisa Toner, Inbound Marketing Content Creator at Hubspot.

A question we get asked all the time at HubSpot; and the answer? We obnoxiously respond with a question, in fact, multiple questions – are your personas hanging out on social networks? And if so, which networks? Who in your organisation is responsible for managing your social presence; is it marketing? Sales? Both? How much content do you have to share on social? Is it enough? Is it the right content? I could go on and on …

However, it’s not until you can answer these questions, that you can then start to create an effective social strategy that will answer the original question proposed.
Why is it important to get this right?

Social is becoming a more and more important lead source for both sales and marketing. According to our recent report, Inbound Insights UK – 2014, 82% of marketers cited social as being more important as a lead source in the last six months. This was the top answer, so it’s no longer acceptable to make assumptions about the who, what, why, and whens of social media. Even more notable, however, was that 64% of salespeople rated social as a more valuable lead source in the last six months.

As SocialBros’ own Javier Buron says: “With 1.8 billion active social network users and the number growing rapidly by the day, social media has transitioned to a mature and essential marketing channel. Social media is a rich source of information about what potential customers really need, their interests, and what motivates them. I don’t think any other channel provides such actionable intelligence.” So we need to take note of the opportunity that lies in front of us as organisations, not just as marketers.
Which Networks Should I be on?

Before you start setting up Pinterest profiles, Instagram accounts, and YouTube channels, you need to understand if your target audience care about those channels. You need to start right at the beginning and research your buyer personas.

A quick and easy way to do this is to send out a survey to your existing customers, asking them which networks they spend the most time on. Let them rate each one in order of preference so you’ll know which ones to focus more effort on. If you don’t get a good response rate from your customers, you can try the Audience tool from Survey Monkey. It allows you promote a survey to a targeted group of individuals and you pay per response. You could also try tapping into your prospect database and incentivise them to respond by putting them into a draw for something they will find really valuable, like a free month of your product/service, or some cool technology.
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Who Should be Posting What?

We strongly believe that social media should not be the sole responsibility of one person. The more people posting relevant content and engaging with your prospects and customers online, the better. However, to avoid overlap, it’s a good idea to create a process and assign specific goals and objectives for everyone who can get involved.
Marketing

The goals for marketing should be to manage the brand by posting educational and engaging content, and responding to every post that mentions the brand, company, or anything that could be associated with it in a professional and respectful manner.
Lead generation comes into play by linking those posts back to relevant landing pages where the visitor can download more in-depth content on the subject matter, in exchange for their contact details.

Social to-do list for marketing:

  • Monitor for people mentioning your keywords and respond with helpful messaging in a timely fashion.
  • Publish helpful, relevant content that helps your target audience do their job better, faster, or easier.
  • Post engaging, fun, and interactive content to show the human side of your brand.
  • Link relevant posts back to optimised landing pages on your website to collect lead data
  • Track traffic and leads coming from social media to your website and optimise your strategy for what’s working best.

Sales

The sales team should also be posting content on social media that appeals to your company’s buyer personas. They should be positioning themselves as a thought leader in the industry who understands the goals and challenges of your target audience. Marketing should be able to provide them with the right content to publish. There are also lots of tools that allow you to connect up social accounts from multiple people within the organisation which allows one person to publish the same content to multiple accounts. (Of course, HubSpot being one of those tools.)

Social to-do list for sales

  • Monitor their leads, prospects, and competitors. Keep an eye out for mentions of competitor company names or products and respond before the competition. Research shows that 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first. HubSpot’s Social Inbox tool enables you to create these monitoring streams really easily.
  • Publish helpful, relevant content that helps your target audience do their job better, faster, or easier.

How Long Should I Spend on Social?

Now that you know which networks you need to focus your efforts on and you’ve got assigned DRIs for maintaining your brand presence on those networks, it should be really easy to work out how much time is required to grow and engage that audience. Using tools that automate scheduling your content across multiple networks and setting up email alerts for when someone mentions your brand or any of your keywords on social can save a lot of time aimlessly floating around each network.

According to our report, traditional marketing is in rapid decline with direct mail (49%) and tradeshows (39%) rated as a less important lead source than 6 months ago. To find out what else is trending with inbound marketing in the UK, download our report, Inbound Insights UK – 2014.

Article uploaded from Socialbro The #1 Marketing Platform for Twitter