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For years, the main purpose of social media campaigns was to create awareness. Companies would run campaigns on Facebook or Twitter, engage with their audience and then measure the campaign’s effect in key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs include the amount of conversations about the brand, the increase in content distribution due to the campaign, and the rise in the level of engagement with the company or brand. While in many B2C settings these goals are important, B2B companies have been looking for ways to make a more direct impact on their revenues.

The Missing Link

One of the biggest challenges in using social media for B2B marketing was connecting awareness campaigns to specific potential buyers. Let’s take a Twitter campaign, for example. A company would send out information about its product. Twitter users would favorite it or retweet it to their followers, thus affecting the amount of engagement with the company. But what if a user is a potential buyer seeking possible solutions for a problem?

Because most social engagement is conducted in a silo, such as HootSuite, two major challenges arise. First, the company can’t easily identify the person they are engaging with, nor can the company determine whether the user already exists in their CRM database because the engagement platform is not connected to the company’s CRM. Second, the company cannot easily add engaged users to its CRM. While users have strong online presences on LinkedIn or Facebook, they do not provide a lot of information about themselves on Twitter. Without verified information about Twitter users engaging with a company, the company has no way of determining if they are potential clients. Such information about engaged Twitter users can only be obtained by appending additional data from other social networks to the company’s database, particularly their titles and professional connections from LinkedIn.

Bridging the Gap

Nimble, a social CRM solution we started using last year, answers both challenges in a simple and elegant way, and bridges the gap between awareness and lead generation. After Nimble imports our contact database, it automatically starts appending data collected from LinkedIn, Facebook and other platforms. We now have a clear and verified list of people with their Twitter user, LinkedIn profile, and in many cases, Facebook information, in addition to more traditional contact information, such as phone number and email address.

Since we have also been using HootSuite for engagement, we were happy to learn that Nimble has integrated with HootSuite. Now when a Twitter user engages with us or shows interest by favoriting or retweeting our content, HootSuite enables us to see if this user is in our database. If the user is already in our database, we are able to see their title and company based on their LinkedIn information, and then we can decide if the user is a potential lead.

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But it doesn’t end there. We can also easily import to Nimble semi-anonymous users whom we’ve identified in HootSuite but who are not in our database. From there, we try to enrich their profile with LinkedIn data, thus transforming them from anonymous users into verified leads.

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This capability opens up an exciting new array of possibilities. Not only can we identify users who engage with us in a meaningful way, we can also identify leads by searching relevant conversations in Twitter, even ones we didn’t initiate.

For example, one of our services is digital event marketing. (If you haven’t checked out our site yet, now is a good time!) Working with HootSuite and Nimble enables us to search Twitter conversations to ascertain event marketing ROI, identify Twitter users seeking information about such services, create a profile for them in our CRM system, enrich their profile with LinkedIn, decide if they are relevant for our offering, and, when appropriate, try to engage with them to work towards a possible deal.

Yes. This is awesome.

In fact, we’ve decided to use Nimble not only for our own business, but to partner with them. We will offer their platform’s integration services, so others can benefit from our experiences and knowledge about how to leverage social CRM to generate leads and increase revenues.

Awareness and Social Media: No Longer Dirty Words

By combining the right tools with the right workflows, we and our clients are able to bridge the gap between social media awareness campaigns and interactions and revenue-generating lead generation. We are only beginning to explore the infinite possibilities offered by the integration of social media with CRM, other digital marketing platforms and lead generation. Unlike in the past, businesses of all sizes can afford most of the products needed to reach this goal. We have always been searching for ways to directly link digital marketing to revenues. Today, that goal is closer than ever. It is an exciting time.

*If you’d like to explore the options for generating leads from your social media engagements, and creating meaningful and measurable business value out of it, please leave your details below, or email us.