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Increasing the Quantity & Quality of Leads with Social Media Monitoring
 

Increasing the Quantity & Quality of Leads with Social Media Monitoring

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    Increasing the Quantity & Quality of Leads with Social Media Monitoring Increasing the Quantity & Quality of Leads with Social Media Monitoring Document Transcript

    • White Paper LET’S TALK: Social Media ROI With Connie Bensen Increasing the Quantity & Quality of Leads with Social Media Monitoring 2nd in the the Social Media ROI Series
    • Increasing the Quantity & Quality of Leads with Social Media Monitoring Seven ways to Increase the ROI of your Lead Generation Efforts Executive Summary: Today’s consumer is ignoring traditional marketing channels. They are effectively finding ways to block them. How is this affecting your lead generation efforts? How many resources are you putting towards cold calling and direct marketing? Are you connecting with your target audience or just gathering a large quantity of poor quality leads? Social Media has opened up a new channel for marketers. Alterian recently published a survey of marketers that found that 40% of respondents felt that their staff is not prepared to take advantage of the new channels. You now have the ability to have conversations directly with potential customers. The web 1.0 world was ideal for companies selling direct to customers (b2c). E-commerce sites nicely facilitated that. At present the internet is teaming with social networks where people are interacting with each other and most importantly, seeking information. They trust their peers far more than they trust marketing messages. Social networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and niche forums are communities of like-minded people sharing ideas and trying to solve their problems. This web 2.0 world is now an ideal place for business-to-business companies (b2b) to utilize social media for their marketing efforts. Mashable reported that “Dell generated a total of $6.5 million in revenue from their Twitter presence, where they have nearly 1.5 million followers on their @DellOutlet account.” No matter whether you have a short sales cycle or long buying process, it is ideal for two reasons: 1. The new social web is about trust and relationships. Sales has always been about that, but now the internet offers a new venue that disregards the boundaries of geography. 2. Companies don’t buy, people do! And for products with a long buying process that translates into a longer time spent researching the web for solutions. So the precepts are just as applicable for b2b marketers as well as b2c. The biggest challenge is that the web is a vast place. Searching for a specific topic realizes a staggering number of search results. The trick is how to deal with information It is also possible to overload and efficiently pinpoint what specifically applies to your marketing needs. efficiently bring Social media monitoring makes it possible to identify those that are specifically interested in your products/services. And it is also possible to efficiently bring their conversations conversations to you. to you. This makes it easy to join their discussions and build awareness for your products. As you build brand presence and relationships are established your business will soon realize high quality leads. © 2010 Alterian. All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
    • Increasing the Quantity & Quality of Leads with Social Media Monitoring Seven ways to Increase the ROI of your Lead Generation Efforts Introduction: Let’s Talk! about how social media monitoring can impact your sales prospecting and lead generation. Filling the sales funnel with high quality leads while reducing time can only increase your organization’s bottom line. The internet has become a new marketing channel. Every traditional channel has an effective blocking method (spam blockers for email, Tivo, DVR for TV, do not call lists for telephone & the list goes on). The good news is that the web has created a channel that is opt-in and has changed marketing forever. It is based on the old fashioned premises of trust and relationships. People are interacting with each other and making or breaking brands by their recommendation or poor review. Brands have realized that they are now able to participate in the conversations but the task of monitoring these conversations and knowing where to begin seems overwhelming. It was a very time consuming task until social media monitoring became available. A social media monitoring tool allows a marketer to gather all of the conversations over the past given period of time. They can be reviewed by topic, volume, sentiment, etc. It is also easy to see which social networks have the majority of conversations in them. Is it on blogs, Facebook, niche forums, etc? Participating in the One aspect about engaging in social media that needs to be remembered is that it’s about building conversations relationships. If you go into this specifically expecting to sell to people, then it won’t be successful. There are two factors at play here: a. You are participating in social networks and need to respect that. Everyone will welcome your presence if you provide value and information. But if you spam them with pushy marketing messages you will be ignored or even asked to leave. b. The prospecting will happen indirectly. You are going to encounter conversations that range from people expressing a need for your type of products to those seeking customer service. A social media monitoring tool will daily provide you with the conversations to interact in (or it will send them to your inbox). These are the main types of interactions: • Inform – You will see opportunities on blogs, forums, Twitter, and LinkedIn Questions to provide information about your industry and your products. (LinkedIn Questions is a great place to build thought leadership!) • Thank – Thank those that promote your brand. This will build word of mouth. It’s the best form of advertising that you can’t buy. • Share – Contribute your ideas to the community at large. Get involved in the conversation. Create content that will educate and share that. • Apologize – If people are upset about your product or service apologize and make every effort to rectify it. Encourage them to take the conversation offline. • Redirect – Not all conversations will be potential sales opportunities. Some will be ideas for improving your product and others may be in regard to customer service. Establish a system so that the items are forwarded to the appropriate team rather than being lost. © 2010 Alterian. All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
    • Increasing the Quantity & Quality of Leads with Social Media Monitoring Seven ways to Increase the ROI of your Lead Generation Efforts Seven Ways to use Social Monitoring social media provides amazing insight into the web at large (which is where your potential Media Monitoring for customers are at). It can augment your marketing and sales efforts in many ways not previously available. Lead Generation The ability to bring the conversations to you and review them provides insights into consumers’ minds. This ROI paper outlines seven ways that social media monitoring can greatly impact your lead generation efforts: 1. Identify people expressing a need for your product/service 2. Create a Customer Profile 3. Reduce cold calling 4. Lower acquisition costs 5. Increase revenue due to cross selling and upselling 6. Reduce marketing costs and spend on Google Adwords 7. Align sales efforts with marketing 1. Identify people When you consider buying a new TV, an appliance or even a car where do you go first? Most people talk expressing a need for with friends, relatives and gather opinions from those they trust. They also research people’s opinions your product/service online. And if they are in a group of friends they trust such as a forum or Facebook then they ask their online friends. There is an inherent trust in these groups and so the recommendations greatly influence the purchase process. Social media monitoring allows you to effectively pinpoint these conversations. By You can identify searching for specific words and phrases you can identify conversations where people are expressing a need for your product or service. The value of a social media monitoring conversations where tool over a free tool like Google Alerts is that it will gather conversations from all of the various social networks. This allows you to find pockets of online communities where your people are expressing potential customers are located. This is a great way to find new markets. Best practice is a need for your to listen for a while and ease into the conversation. You could perhaps offer information and educational resources. Remember, this is not the time to push your products but product or service. rather to build relationships and come to be a trusted resource. In time the community will send highly qualified leads in your direction. One of the most interesting places for a b2b marketer is to answer questions in LinkedIn. The monitoring tool will identify the questions (rather than browsing through hundreds) and allow you to go directly to the question that references your product. LinkedIn has groups, as well as a section where professionals ask questions. Anyone can answer these questions and it’s socially acceptable for vendors to offer their services. It is also a great way to build thought leadership. Social media monitoring also allows you to gather conversations about your brand and respond to those with questions about your products as well as your customers. This will increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. It also increases your brand visibility because they tell others about the great service they are receiving. Positive word of mouth is invaluable! © 2010 Alterian. All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
    • Increasing the Quantity & Quality of Leads with Social Media Monitoring Seven ways to Increase the ROI of your Lead Generation Efforts Monitoring the competitors is also another way to find new leads. Prospects are usually looking for options. Oftentimes, they may have explored a competitor and are looking for additional options. In providing the differentiators for your product you’re educating the marketplace. Example: Find those that are interested in your products so that you can join the conversations. This is the most important step as it provides the foundation for the others. Give it a try and realize that you may need to tweak it. Remember that this isn’t an exact science! When you set up your searches it is good practice to search for: a. Your brand and products b. Competitors’ products c. Questions that people may be asking The first two are straightforward. Remember to use common spellings and the various ways that people reference your brand. For example Starbucks is also referred to as Starbucks, Starbuck’s, and Starbux. The third creates a bigger challenge. What questions are people asking? Remember that they may not refer to your brand directly. It is important to never assume that everyone knows of you or mentions your brand. If you are in the financial industry and offer a mortgage calculator, then a phrase relating to that would point you to those asking about information. Some examples: mortgage calculator, loan cost, cost of loan. This example on Tweetdeck shows someone seeking information and competitors. Never assume that You may have products that have common everyone knows you or names and a general search would bring back far too many results. Wading through them mentions your brand. would be impractical. In these cases it is helpful to add ‘buying words’ to the search terms. Examples of ‘buying words’ are recommend, buy, suggest, rfp, shortlist, suggestion. When people use those words in their sentences there’s a high probability that they are asking for information. © 2010 Alterian. All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
    • Increasing the Quantity & Quality of Leads with Social Media Monitoring Seven ways to Increase the ROI of your Lead Generation Efforts For example if your product is, ‘content management system’, people generally refer to it as ‘CMS’. The acronym CMS would return far too many results on its own so adding the ‘buying words’ focus the searches. – "buy" AND "cms“ – "recommend" AND "cms“ – "recommendation" AND "cms“ – "rfp" AND "cms“ – "selection" AND "cms“ – "shortlist" AND "cms“ – "suggest" AND "cms“ 2. Create Customer Social media monitoring is powerful in that it provides insight into the consumers’ minds. The advantage of Profiles using a professional tool is that it can analyze all the conversations and create word clouds that visually depict the most frequently used words. And it will also create word clouds of words or phrases that authors have tagged their content with. These word clouds provide valuable insight into the words and phrases that are of the highest importance to your consumer group (specific to your search terms). These words should also be used as SEO keywords (outlined in the first whitepaper of the ROI series). The sentiment and tone of the conversations can also help you drill into the wants and needs of conversations around your brand and that of the competitors. From the word clouds and the sentiment aspect you can create a customer profile that includes: • The size and scope of your market • Where they are having conversations both online and offline • Psychographic aspects (culture, philosophy, internal/external factors) • Demographics (location, influence, age and sex) For this case it is important to search for industry terms. That will provide you with information about your customer segments that you may not know. 3. Reduce cold calling The nature of the social web has created a new opportunity to reduce/eliminate cold calling. Imagine replacing cold calls with warm or hot leads! (Warm leads being ones where they have expressed an interest in your product or service, in contrast to their getting a call out of the blue); while hot leads may turn around very rapidly. © 2010 Alterian. All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
    • Increasing the Quantity & Quality of Leads with Social Media Monitoring Seven ways to Increase the ROI of your Lead Generation Efforts There are two factors to consider in order to generate inbound leads: 1.Everyone is at a different place in the buying process. Their interest level ranges from just beginning to seek a solution for their business need to having created a short list. 2.Your prospect may or may not have heard of your brand/product/service. As a marketer you want to keep both of these factors in mind. The internet has shifted the paradigm of how your prospects find information. They are no longer only relying on their offline networks. They are searching the web and asking questions in online social networks among peers, contacts and friends. As a result you need to create content for every level of the buying process. It should be educational and not spam-like. Then place it on your corporate site and distribute it on shareable sites such as YouTube, Slideshare, Flickr, etc. These efforts will grow your brand visibility. The most important step is engaging with potential prospects and sharing the content just mentioned. Using a social media monitoring tool allows you to find where the conversations are occurring in social networks. You can listen to what the needs of your industry are. Once you have a strategy, you can then join the conversations and provide links to your content when appropriate. Best practice is to make sure that it is applicable to the topic at hand. If the community finds value in your content they will share it with others. They will click through to your site, explore your information and express an interest in more information. (Please make it easy for them to contact you.) These warms leads are qualified and essential targets! At a certain stage there will be a tipping point where there are enough warm leads to supercede the need to do cold calling. Do keep in mind that this type of social media engagement requires an investment over a long period of time. It’s about providing valued information, building relationships and increasing brand visibility. It is the new breed of customer service. 4. Lower acquisition costs Section three outlined the ways to create warm inbound leads. Shifting from cold calling to working with and shortening the length warm leads will greatly reduce the length of the sales cycle. Your prospects have found information in their of the sales cycle discovery process, have made a conscious decision to learn more about your products and now want to learn more. The conversion is going to happen more quickly because there is an inherent trust that your brand offers a product meeting their requirements. The creation of informative content also results in reduced spending on marketing and advertising. Prospects and customers will share the information and the resulting word of mouth is far better than any marketing or advertising that you can buy, because people trust their peers far more. 5. Increase revenue due to Social media monitoring can also greatly assist you with your customer care. Excellent customer service cross selling and upselling plays a critical role in customer loyalty. It only takes one unhappy customer to create an online brand crisis. For that reason alone, it is imperative to be interacting online where your customers are at and monitoring their conversations. You need to ensure that you answer their complaints quickly. (Many will choose to © 2010 Alterian. All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
    • Increasing the Quantity & Quality of Leads with Social Media Monitoring Seven ways to Increase the ROI of your Lead Generation Efforts express them on Twitter, in a blog post or in forums). Answering your customers quickly allows you to build brand confidence and reinforces that your company cares. It also provides opportunities to discuss their business needs and allows you to suggest other products that would meet their needs. Or maybe there is an opportunity to up-sell to a higher level? This high level of customer care will be noticed by your customers and will result in increased loyalty as well as positive word of mouth. 6. Reduce marketing costs All of the above activity is based on creating high quality content that a target audience finds valuable. The and Google Adwords social networking sites make it easy to share your content with their peers (who are also potential buyers). This increased word of mouth will greatly reduce the need for marketing and advertising spend. It’s the most valuable advertising that you cannot buy. Publishing content which others find valuable builds SEO organically. It is also the most highly regarded by search engines. Many are finding that it provides more than enough value to discontinue or refine their spend on Google Adwords. It’s much easier to measure the effects of a social media engagement using social media monitoring than it is to identify the gain from Adwords. 7. Align sales efforts with Marketing and sales teams should be codependent. The value in using social media monitoring and having marketing the marketing and sales team participating in social media networks is that their efforts will become intertwined. Marketing will provide the website and high quality collateral. They will also introduce the information to the target markets. Sales will interact with the customers, be knowledgeable about their needs and build deeper relationships. Together the two teams can interact in social networks to jointly build relationships with prospects and customers toward the same goal of increased sales. Conclusion The social web has created many opportunities to augment lead generation. Social networks are a new channel that can be tapped for both b2b and b2c marketers. Monitoring online conversations is the key to efficiently identifying those expressing a need for your products and services. Social media monitoring is also instrumental for profiling your customer segments as well as identifying new markets. Creating educational content, placing it around the social web, monitoring the related conversations, and engaging can greatly contribute to increasing word of mouth which in turn will reduce cold calling, lower acquisition costs, and shorten the length of the sales cycle. Participation in social networks will foster cross selling & up selling efforts. Additional advantages that can be realized are reducing expenses for marketing and advertising. Social networks are revolutionizing the way people are connecting online! © 2010 Alterian. All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
    • Increasing the Quantity & Quality of Leads with Social Media Monitoring Seven ways to Increase the ROI of your Lead Generation Efforts Next Steps 1. Try the Freemium version of Alterian SM2 (a professional social media monitoring tool) 2. Explore resources on social media monitoring 3. Request a Little Book on some BIG marketing topics 4. Email info@alterian.com or call North America: +1 312 884 5321 UK & Continental Europe: +44 (0) 1202 250003 Asia Pacific: +61 2 9968 2449 Case Study All of the precepts for this whitepaper were developed and realized from the use of a social media monitoring tool, Alterian SM2. SM2 was born in a startup called Techrigy which was acquired by Alterian in 2009. In the fall of 2008, Connie joined the startup with the remit to grow the customer base with no marketing budget. The small team of six used SM2 along with the concepts in this white paper to: • grow the customer base 840% in nine months • stop cold calling after three months and discontinue spending on Google Adwords • shorten trial period from six weeks to three weeks with a higher rate of conversion • enjoy prospects converting from the free limited version directly without entering the sales funnel • witness a steady flow of warm inbound leads from people enquiring about price and functionality (warm leads!) that continues to this day © 2010 Alterian. All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
    • Increasing the Quantity & Quality of Leads with Social Media Monitoring Seven ways to Increase the ROI of your Lead Generation Efforts About the “Let’s Social Media marketing is providing a whole new dimension for brands to connect with consumers. The Talk” Series with social web is a vast entity and every marketer needs a tool to harness the information in the most cost Connie Bensen effective and efficient manner. A social media monitoring tool offers the ability to maximize the digital portion of your marketing budget in order to create, execute, measure and report on a social media strategy. The Let's Talk Series, by Connie Bensen, is a series of 10 whitepapers describing the variety of ways that marketers can increase the ROI of their marketing efforts. Topics will include how to use a social media monitoring tool for SEO, Lead Generation, Social Media campaigns, Customer Service, Competitive Insight, Corporate marketing, PR and reputation management, etc. Connie is the Director of Social Media and Community Strategy at Alterian, which provides leading marketing products for the enterprise. She is a key voice amongst online Community Managers. Her blog, www.conniebensen.com is recognized as a leading resource for cultivating online communities, providing best practices for this emerging role and it is listed in Forbes.com as one of the 20 Best Marketing and Social Media Blogs by Women. SM2 Social Media Alterian’s SM2 is a social media monitoring and analysis solution designed for PR and Marketing professionals. SM2 helps you track conversations, review positive/negative Monitoring (SMM) sentiment for your brand, clients, competitors and partners across social media channels such as blogs, wikis, micro-blogs, social networks, video/photo sharing sites and real-time alerts. About Alterian Alterian (LSE: ALN) empowers organizations to create relevant, effective and engaging experiences with their audience that help build value and reinforce commitment to their brand, through the use of the Alterian Integrated Marketing Platform. Alterian drives the transformation of marketing and communications, making it practical and cost-effective for companies to orchestrate multichannel engagement with the individual. Alterian’s unprecedented integration of analytics, content and execution through industry leading tools, such as the Dynamic Messenger email platform, SM2 Social Media Monitoring platform and the award winning Content Management solutions, enables companies to build integrated communication strategies which create a true picture of the individual. Alterian works with marketing services partners, system integrators and agencies who recognize the need to plan and deliver coordinated customer engagement services in partnership with their clients. For more information about Alterian, products within the Alterian Integrated Marketing Platform or Alterian’s Partner Network, visit www.alterian.com or the Alterian blog at www.engagingtimes.com. © 2010 Alterian. All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
    • White Paper Corporate and North American European Headquarters Headquarters T +1 312 704 1700 T +44 (0) 117 970 3200 Other Contacts Website: www.alterian.com Email: sales@alterian.com Twitter: @Alterian_plc YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/EngagingTimesLive uStream: www.ustream.tv/channel/alterian-s-engaging-times-live LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=1823072 SlideShare: www.slideshare.net/Alterian iTunes: Alterian’s Leadership Series Blogs: www.EngagingTimes.com www.TheMarketingMojo.com www.ConnieBensen.com E info@alterian.com W www.alterian.com © Alterian 2010