Social media is that shiny new object that many marketers are rushing to include as a component of their marketing mix. In fact, research shows the budget investments in social media are growing at a steady clip. The good news is that social media is a tool that can wield a lot of power for marketers, if incorporated into their content marketing strategy, not implemented in a stand-alone fashion. One thing that helps accomplish this is to shift the belief that nurturing is defined by email campaigns. It certainly doesn’t have to be. When you consider that nurturing is really defined by consistent communication and engagement over the course of the buying process, then social media becomes a natural fit. Blogs are also a natural extension to nurturing programs.
Consider that if your blog posts are aligned with your email campaigns—covering the same content themes—then your blog becomes an extension of those campaigns, offering the leads you know about the exposure to more of the information they’re interested in, as well as the prospects you’ve not yet identified.
When you release a new, meatier content asset—think white paper, research report or eBook—sharing its availability through social networks with a link to the landing page can yield new leads. The same is true for the next webinar you host. Including the capability for your known leads to share your content via social networks also allows them to spread your content to new audiences—likely similar to them.
Marketing automation systems provide numerous capabilities that enhance what marketers can accomplish when they integrate social media with their nurturing programs.
Here are a few examples:
- The ability to identify anonymous website visitors that social media participation attracts to your content and then entice them to opt in with an offer related to the one that initially caught their attention.
- The ease of drag and drop editing for the creation of landing pages and forms for content offers that can then be shared via social networks to expand reach—without the need for IT assistance.
- Subscription management that builds credibility and trust by allowing your potential leads to let you know their preferences for frequency of communications and subject matter preferences. By letting them choose, you’re demonstrating respect for their time and attention, as well as reducing the friction of indecision that comes when they don’t know what to expect from you.
- Lead scoring that includes blog post visits to monitor your prospects’ true interest intensity through their interactions with content beyond what’s available on your corporate website.
Social media has proven difficult to measure. However, when incorporated with your nurturing efforts through the application of capabilities provided by your marketing automation system, measurement and proof of value become more manageable tasks with higher pay offs for marketers.