Social Fuels the Marketing Automation Bus

Social Media is the gas for your marketing automation vehicle.

Think of marketing automation like a bus. Potential customers get on and start a journey with your brand. The riders know where they want to go, but if the experience doesn’t meet their expectations, they can pull the chord and get out at any time…the ride is over.

In this scenario, think of social media is the gasoline. It fuels the bus so it can keep moving along, picking up additional passengers.

Like a bus, marketing automation can get your leads from point “A” (interest) to point “B” (purchase intent). The main objective for marketing automation is to nurture leads until the point when they are ready to talk to a salesperson. Marketers call this a MQL, or marketing qualified lead, but really it’s just a person who thinks they might need something from you. When marketers see the buying signals, they move those people through the funnel, but in order for automation to succeed, it’s important that the right messages go out at the right moments in time.

At its most basic level, a marketing automation tool needs leads to be useful; as mentioned, it’s like gasoline for a vehicle. Without passengers, a bus is useless. Social media is one of the best ways to acquire new leads; when used in tandem with marketing automation, social media efforts help you reach new prospects so you can add more leads into the marketing automation platform.

Social media allows companies to slowly build relationships of trust and authority, while keeping your brand name in front of customers so they are aware of what you have to offer. The more information you have about your leads, the easier it is to segment, nurture and score them. Connecting through social media is an excellent way to collect data on customers that can be useful not only for optimizing your automation efforts but also for building lead-specific profiles that will eventually enable your sales team to close.

True success here depends on closing the feedback loop. To gain the insights you need for optimizing both lead generation and the nurturing process, it is essential that your social dashboard and automation tools share information with each other. As an example, when you integrate a social relationship management platform with Oracle Marketing Cloud, the leading marketing automation platform, it’s easy to see what’s happening across all channels.

This level of integration allows marketers to know which messages on which social channel were of most interest to which prospects, the exact pages they viewed on your website, which emails they paid the most attention to, and the specific downloadable materials that they saved.

This type of integration allows marketers to automatically assign social engagement data to user-specific records. It provides detailed information such as which social network first brought in each lead and even which campaign and post created the lead. This data can then be used to determine which email message to send to the prospective customer. At later stages in the conversion funnel, the activity logs stay with the lead’s records, so it’s possible to nurture the relationship and remarket to prospects with maximized relevance.

A game-changing benefit of sharing data between your social media marketing dashboard and your marketing automation platform is access to the big picture of what’s happening at all stages of the sales funnel. Which social media channels are bringing in the most leads and/or the leads with the highest conversion rates? What types of posts and messages attract your newer audience members or encourage dormant ones to take action? What are the most successful combinations of social media engagement and email automation when it comes to driving sales in general and especially lucrative sales specifically? If you can’t answer these questions, then you’re not leveraging your marketing data.

When you segment your audience according to metrics such as page visits, clicked links, demographics, profession, referral source, or social media channel, you can then send personalized messages that hit the right spot.

Words of caution:

Automation can be dangerous. Keep in mind that social media works best when there are real people, with genuine intentions and quality content, behind every profile, tweet and tag. Further, automated messages need to be personal and relevant, or else you’ll do more harm than good.

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