Why should you be on social media? There’s one simple reason – and another more complex one. Let’s start simple:
Because your customers are.
- LinkedIn has over 200m active users…
- …Facebook has over a billion!
- There are 200m Twitter users, each with an average 200 followers
- Over half a billion messages are Tweeted daily
So there’s no question social media belongs in your marketing strategy. But is audience size the only pull factor?
Certainly not. Hence the more complex reason:
Social media can add value to your customer data.
And that value can be huge.
Imagine learning your customers’ hobbies and interests, from who they follow. (It’d help you know them better as a person.) Then imagine listening to what they say across social media, and using it to customise the content of your email marketing campaigns. Best of all, imagine having access to their networks of friends and contacts… with the potential to influence them.
Here are some things to think about.
Treat social accounts with the same care as email addresses.
The first “level” of integrating social media is to gather your customers’ accounts… as part of normal data collection and cleansing.
Never keep separate contact lists for social campaigns and mailings. Your customer is one person – keep his/her details in one database.
When you’ve captured a customer’s Twitter handle, Google+ name and LinkedIn page in a single version of the truth, you can recognise him as a discrete individual – whichever channel he uses to contact you. Just as important, he’ll recognise you. And that leads to stronger relationships.
Reach out to the audience beyond your database.
Let’s say @johnsmith never clicks a link in your email marketing campaign, but does retweet your updates. All the time. He may not be a clickthrough statistic, but he’s something even better: anInfluencer.
social media brings you to an expanded audience
your main campaign can’t reach.
By exposing your Tweet to his Twitter followers, he’s lending you his professional reputation. Imagine a hundred people in your database doing that. It’s like having a huge marketing department that doesn’t need desk space or sick pay.
This difference in importance between contacts is called the Social Graph and it’s marketing gold. With social media integrated into your email marketing campaign results, you can reach an expanded audience: not just your contacts, but your customers’ too.
Listen in to the broader conversation.
Here’s another reason to integrate social media into your customer data. Direct response campaigns let customers talk to you. But integrating social media lets you listen to what customers are saying to each other.
Most of what customers say about you isn’t to your face.
If your customer database integrates social accounts, you can pick out trending topics and persistent issues through the thicket of comments across social media.
Such findings can inform the content of your email campaigns and blogs – perhaps solving issues before they open a trouble ticket, or answering questions around which the buzz is loudest. To your customers, it’ll seem like magic. To you, it’s just smarter use of data.
Uplift results by linking the real world with the virtual
Many companies get great results from traditional media – and there’s no reason why it can’t be as connected to online media.
It’s as simple as mail merging unique data into your mailings: not just personalisation like Dear Mr Smith, but custom web addresses or email responders too.
If you’re Mr Smith, wouldn’t you visit a web address that looked like thecompany.com/mr_smiths_page? And imagine receiving a Tweet or SMS message the moment you did so – “Now you’ve opened the envelope, look for the purple ticket for your special offer…”
Using personalisation brings data from the real world – like who opened your envelope – into youronline campaign results.
Most website Content Management Systems have tools for offering such “unique URLs”, making it easy to leverage the details in your database. And don’t neglect other tricks: SMS shortcodes, email autoresponders, QR codes, IVR phone numbers. All can be mail merged and mass-customised; all can bring together offline collateral and email marketing campaigns in ways that boost customer engagement and response rates to the max.
Now that’s integration.
By following the right principles, social sharing can integrate smoothly with your marketing campaigns – and cascade into a community of leads, prospects and interested advocates you’ve never met. Starting with a single database.
Leveraging social media lets you…
- See the customer as the individual he is
- Reach out to your customers’ contacts as well as your own
- Listen in to what customers say to each other
- Present a unified face to your audience – across all media